CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 1 ~ Katie Jo

Katie Jo kicks off Season 6 of the CloudwatcherUno podcast.

Katie Jo is a phenomenal singer songwriter from Wichita via Los Angeles who follows in the footsteps of her heroes Patsy Cline, Loretta Lyne and Tammy Wynette. Katie brings her own life stories and experiences to her music and her sound.

On the podcast we talk about the joys and highs of caffeine, tasting the joy of expresso in Italy. Writing songs and releasing an album in the pandemic was not something the Katie Jo envisioned that these themes that are woven into her album ‘Pawn Shop Queen’ of infidelity heartache and life-threatening health conditions are ones that true country music lovers will recognise as stables of the genre.

‘I Don’t Know Where Your Heart Is’ by Katie Jo

Country music rewards and celebrates the redemption arc for example the outlaw music movement which focuses on those who have gone to jail or committed a crime. Katie Jo wanted to show that women could also be badasses and have the strength and fortitude of character to pull them selves out of every situation that they find themselves in.

We also talk about the mystical experience of performing live on stage and the intricacies being vertically challenged while performing in front of a live audience.

The album therefore is a celebration of all things that are best about the human spirit and its will to carry on regardless of what life throws at it. Killer tracks on the album are ‘Pawn Shop Queen’, ‘Bad Religion’ and ‘Are You Coming Home Tonight? I for one thoroughly enjoyed the album and look forward to hearing more from this tremendous musician.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Katie Jo. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Behind The Song with Sean Devine

From the CloudwatcherUno™ series BEHIND THE SONG is ONE artist, ONE story, ONE song. Expanding the concept of what a podcast can deliver.

In this inaugural first episode we have Sean Devine speak about his inspiration for ‘Here For It All’ and perform this song live from his home in Montana. Sean explains how at one of the lowest points in his life he met another soul who saw beyond the pain and sorrow and was able to see another soul that she wanted to spend her life with.

Getting married on the 4th of July was their ‘Independence Day’ independence away from all the negativity of the world and be able to just focus on the happiness that they brought to each other. Hearing the back story to this song makes it connect even more with those who have been listening to this stunning song.

‘Behind The Song’ is available on Friday 6th August 2021 to watch on @youtube and to listen on @applepodcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sean Divine. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Artist Showcase with Michelle Billingsley

Michigan born Michelle Billingsley has lived many lives and dreamed of becoming amongst other things an actor, an organic chemist, a veterinarian, a ‘mime’ and now a fully fledged songstress. We talk about how Michelle started in the music business with first moving to Chicago and performing with the Chicago Cabaret Professionals who put on cabaret shows in piano bars. After doing that for a couple of years, Michelle decided to try something new by learning how to play guitar and then drifting into folk music with the band ‘Eleven Dollar Supper‘ which lead to country music.

Once In A While‘ by Michelle Billingsley

Michelle saw a sign…..a sign above a bus stop which said ‘We teach Guitar!’

Matt Brown offered to produce Michelle’s album and with his help, the studio was booked, all the other musicians who played on the song were drafted in and made the whole experience of recording an album so easy. Right now Michelle is recording her second album by herself and has come to realise how much work Matt had put in with the first album. The pandemic didn’t stop Michelle from releasing her album ‘Not The Marrying Kind‘ in June 2020. By that time she had been living with those songs for what seemed like an eternity and wanted them to come out into the world!

Not The Marrying Kind‘ is the first line of the first song and provides a unique insight into Michelle’s musical life. One of the album’s highlights is the song ‘Drink Til I’m Pretty‘ and is full of these characters which weaves an intricate dark story that makes you feel for these characters. The whole album is a magnificent testament to Michelle’s song writing, lyrics and voice.

Drink Til I’m Pretty‘ by Michelle Billingsley

For the future Michelle will be booking shows in Chicago and beyond in the fall. For now click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Michelle Billingsley. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 10 ~ Tim Prottey Jones

The 50th Episode of the CloudwatcherUno podcast features Tim Prottey-Jones. What a journey it’s been with truly wonderful artists. To celebrate the occasion one of with one of UK Country’s brightest stars.

So get ready to listen to a truly EPIC podcast where we chat about Tim’s latest single ‘Fire’ and how he started in the music business through to what’s the best way to keep your beard luxurious!

We talk about his Theatre background and being on ITV Superstar and how performing in front of a live audience every day gave Tim the confidence to start as a musician in his own right. There’s also talk about how UK Country is starting to make a name for itself and shouldn’t be seen as an embarrassing cousin to it’s American counterpart.

The impact of Brexit also rears its ugly head and how it’s made it virtually impossible for musicians to tour across Europe. A running theme throughout the podcast is how expensive it is to tour not only abroad but in England as well.

Fire‘ by Tim Prottey-Jones

For the future Tim is looking forward to touring across England with a full band and bringing his music to fans across the country.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Tim Prottey-Jones. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Behind The Song with Dan Whitaker

Dan Whitakers new album ‘One More Story Told‘ is out on Friday 13th August 2021 and is a collection of new old songs as in all songs rediscovered or reimagined for a new audience. One such song is ‘Please Tell My Baby‘ a song that was written almost 20 years ago. Then Dan was in a band called ‘Great Plain Gypsies‘ and was the principal songwriter and singer for the band at the time. It’s a song about two lovers who part ways without the ease and convenience of today’s modern technology. For one reason or another the lovers can’t be together and this song explores what happens when two souls can’t be together.

Behind The Song‘ is available on Friday 13th August 2021 to watch on @youtube and to listen on @applepodcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Dan Whitaker. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 9 ~ Ryan Kinder

Ryan Kinder is a one of a kind superstar.  We get to talk about Ryan’s experiences of the English weather especially the rain way back when time had some meaning in 2018. We chat about ‘Tiger King‘, the joys of Netflix, then trying to figure out how to feel each others energy when song writing on Zoom.  How do you connect with another artist when your not even in the room? Well one way is to send over a track with guitar licks before meeting each other so everyone involved has some idea of what’s going on inside your head.

As the pandemic went on with no end insight Ryan in his wisdom quite rightly decided he wouldn’t release an album right in the middle of it all. So he decided to make a collaboration album with other artists called ‘Ontology‘ and instead of other artists sing his songs Ryan would tailor it to each specific artist and their strengths. The first collaboration was with an artist called ‘Sykamore‘ and it was called ‘Doing Fine‘, the second to be released was with Brandi Clark and Jerry Douglas. The third release was with Robert Randolph an incredible slide guitar player. The idea is that this album is a living breathing album showcasing the amazing talents of Ryan and the guest artists. That’s not the only album that will be released in 2021.

Room to Dream‘ is the  debut album coming out from Ryan on Friday 30th July 2021. The title of the album was inspired by Bruce Springsteen documentary where Springsteen said that he needed “Space to Dream”, Ryan loved that idea and added Room to the mix and that’s how he came up with the album title. The album concept was about Ryan tackling different genres and being able to have the room to explore them all from beginning to end on the album. It follows a very linear path even though it travels all over the world of country music.

Room To Dream‘ by Ryan Kinder

One of the outstanding tracks of the album is ‘Blame‘ written on a writing retreat with Luke Sheets and Fred Wilhelm. In 25 minutes or less Ryan was inspired by a lick which came to him as he was winding down the writing for an evening and then Luke, Fred and Ryan turned the song into an anthem that connects with people as the song was tested on the road in front of fans.

My all time favourite song of Ryan’s is ‘Still Believe In Crazy Love‘ as Ryan says in that podcast you can’t turn off the hope that you’ll still find the love you need. It’s shows the trail’s and tribulations of what the heart goes through in trying to connect another soul. It’s like Ryan is the stenographer to people’s lives, a magician who weaves his magic with words and music which cast a spell on all those who listen.

A stunningly beautiful song from the new album is ‘Something‘ it’s a powerful song that expresses the dynamic of that feeling you get when that special someone enters the room. Maybe something will happen, could happen with this new soul who’s entered our lives.

For the future Ryan will be concentrating on album number two and touring all over the States. Hopefully sometime soon we’ll get to see him play in England. Outside of music, Ryan is currently training for the IRONMAN world championships in Kona, Hawai this summer. He’s going to complete this 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run in honour of his late friend who passed away from cancer and always wanted to compete in the race.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Ryan Kinder. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 8 ~ Dallas Burrow

Dallas Burrow’s voice will take you away to a country that only exists in his heart and his music. It’s called Texas, the Lone Star State that is so mythical in the world of music it seems to fill the listener with dreams of how they too could live the life of an adventurer without a care in this world.

Born and raised in Texas, his first experiences of the country music world were from his father (a blood brother of Townes Van Zandt and friend of Guy Clark). Dallas Burrow continued the song writing tradition with his first album like 2019’s ‘Southern Wind‘, and now his sophomore self titled album ‘Dallas Burrow

Country Girl‘ by Dallas Burrow

To record the album, Dallas went old school in the production of the album by recording to two-inch analogue tape by producer Bruce Robison. He met Bruce while going on tour with the living legend that is Charley Crockett. The end result is the nearest you’ll get to hearing Dallas and his band play live. Dallas recorded the album with bassist Sterling Finlay (Todd Snider), guitarist Larry Chaney (Steve Earle), pianist Kullen Fox (Charley Crockett, Paul Cauthen), violinist Bryan Duckworth (Robert Earle Keen), steel guitarist and dobro player Dan Johnson (Hank III), slide guitarist Chad Pope (Dale Watson), pedal steel guitarist Cody Angel (Jason Boland), drummer Josh Blue (Bruce Robison’s band), and guitarist Chris Kues (Burrow’s own touring lineup).

Dallas Burrow, Texan through and through.

I’ve realized that being a family man is perhaps life’s greatest adventure so far. I’m still writing about the adventures I’ve had… I’m just embracing a new kind of adventure.

American Dream‘ by Dallas Burrow

Stand out tracks are ‘American Dream‘ and ‘Country Girl‘ with the epic ‘Outlaw Highway‘. It’s an album that brings fire to the soul, showcases how much travelling around the world as influenced this Texan adventurer and presents a man reborn and this is the soundtrack to his new life.

Dallas Burrow‘ out on Friday 23rd July 2021

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Dallas Burrow. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Artist Showcase with Sam Filiatreau

Sam Filiatreau began writing songs almost as soon as he learned to play guitar, Filiatreau found his calling in the storytelling songs of ‘70s country, along with John Prine and Randy Newman. “They were writing these stories that nobody else would, and I really like that kind of style,” he says. “Just being able to pull a song out of anything. Whether it be an inanimate object or simple conversations, I think that’s super cool.” Deciding to pursue music full-time at 16, Filiatreau quit high school, moved out of the family home, and joined a rock band. However, most of his free time was dedicated to traveling to area festivals, absorbing what he calls “sad mountain music,” and honing his own songwriting and singing.

Wrecking Ball‘ by Sam Filiatreau

The genesis of Kentuckian Sam Filiatreau’s new self titled album is one of chance and good fortune. A last-minute house show gig that just so happened to be in front of the right guys—Taylor Meier and Matt Vinson, who were on their way to AAA stardom with their band Caamp—led to a quick friendship and mutual respect which eventually landed Filiatreau the first spot on Meier’s new record label, Gjenny Records. All that to say, none of it would’ve happened if it weren’t for the sheer magnitude of Filiatreau’s songs and the way he sings them; a catchy blend of the lyricism of ‘70s vinyl with the acoustic feel of Appalachian folk music.

American Songwriter premiered “Wrecking Ball,” an effortless indie-two-step which, in Sam’s words, “is a nod to the old time music I’ve always been so drawn to.” But, like the rest of Filiatreau’s tunes, there’s a clever, quirky depth that might be missed on the first listen. American Songwriter notes, “Without saying too much, the artist’s stripped-back styling elicits a certain unifying nostalgia—even the empty spaces still brim with emotion.”

‘Fine By Me’ by Sam Filiatreau

Sam definitely feels like a proud father with the release of this album and highlights are tracks such as ‘Wrecking Ball, and ‘Fine By Me’.’Fine By Me’ was written four years ago and was influenced in no small part by John Prine. To me it’s a fabulous love song as to where everybody sees their relationship going as they grow older together the song was written for Sam’s girlfriend at the time but will now remain a testament to love in general as their relationship in real life ended. Two years ago the album was done it’s been a labour of love trying to get the album out and was nurtured by Gjenny Records.

The pandemic has hit Sam’s plan of touring and promoting the album in a hard way and he’s only been able to do a couple of small shows to show off all his hard work in producing such seminal musical odes to the human condition.

Hopefully in the fall, probably around September and October Sam will be out on the road singing to live audiences again. For now enjoying the this behind-the-scenes look at how the album came about and listen to the album itself so you can hear the magic of Sam Filiatreau.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sam Filiatreau. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 7 ~ Blue Cactus

Blue Cactus are the North Carolina duo of Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez. We go behind the scenes to talk about this sophomore LP ‘Stranger Again’ which was released May 2021 on Sleepy Cat Records.

Stranger Again‘ by Blue Cactus

The new record is a departure from their previous album ‘Blue Cactus(2017) and the sound that was mostly influenced by country-western music. Standout tracks from this album are ‘I Never Knew Heartache (Then I Knew You)‘ and ‘Not Alone (Til You Come Home)’ If these aren’t country songs and then I don’t know what is. The new album ‘Stranger Again‘ musical direction is a mix of the lyrics, different energy and creative ideas and the amalgamation of their life experiences before they recorded this sophomore album. Blue Cactus have created their own genre of music with this album and it is ‘Space Country‘.

I Never Knew Heartache (Then I Knew You)‘ by Blue Cactus

On the podcast we explore Steph and Mario’s separate journeys into the world of music and how Blue Cactus was started as a new project after playing together on a string band. It started as a way of really focusing in on country music and they had a new batch of the material that they wanted exploring different kinds of song writing. After an artist’s retreat in 2017 the duo then began writing songs separately and then began the collaborative process of bringing these songs to life.

Standout tracks from the new album are ‘Stranger Again‘ and ‘Rebel‘. For the future Blue Cactus are looking forward to playing live gigs again and bringing their unique space country sound to fans not only in the United States but across Europe.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Blue Cactus. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Tennessee Fields Festival

Tennessee Fields Festival Photo: CloudwatcherUno ©2021

On a wet Saturday in July 2021, a miracle happened. Live music came back to these Isles of Britannia from the good people at Tennessee Fields Festival. It was very nearly touch and go due to the restrictions imposed by this lacklustre government but the organisers held their nerve and gave everyone who attended a magnificent day full of music. On the bill were Gareth Nugent, Lucy Blu, Jake Morrell, Morganway, Jade Helliwell, Essex County, Kezia Gill and the headline act Ward Thomas. The loss of scheduled American acts that were scheduled for one reason or another didn’t detract from the enjoyment and pure unbridled joy that fans experienced for many their first live music in just under two years.

At 11 AM the gates were opened to a very muddy field in Chelmsford, Essex (Well it wouldn’t be a festival in England if it wasn’t wet right?) Rain did its best to put a dampener on festivities but it takes more than H2O to stop this first live music festival from carrying on.

Gareth Nugent was the opening act for Tennessee Fields Festival. Photo: CloudwatcherUno ©2021

Opening the festival was Gareth Nugent, a regular on the UK country music scene. Gareth’s velvety voice was sensational and such a pleasure to hear. Gareth wasn’t the only artist who couldn’t quite believe that he was actually on stage in front of an live audience. We as fans were also in disbelief in seeing an actual live act playing country-western music. It’s been a difficult time for artists and live music goers alike during this lockdown and to see music again was very emotional.

Your Man‘ by Gareth Nugent

Next up was Lucy Blu who wowed the audience with a combination of her charisma, stage performance and foot tapping music. You can see the pure joy that Lucy had for being on that stage, a stage that seemed lost to all performers but now belonged to her and her band.

Worse Than Whiskey‘ by Lucy Blu
My photo of Jake Morrell performing at Tennessee Fields Festival as used on his Instagram page.

Then we had Jake Morrell ably supported by Poppy Fardell and Tim Prottey-Jones (On drums, what instrument does that musical genius not know how to play?) Having seen Jake support other bands and artists on the London music scene it was great to see him perform as an artist in his own right.

This House‘ by Jake Morrell

The last band I ever saw live pre-lockdown was Morganway and the first band that I saw post lockdown was Morganway! The universe loves synchronicity and Morganway were without a doubt a highlight of the afternoon. SJ Mortimer brought her A-game with her voice her energy and passion, mix that with Nicole Terry‘s sumptuous fiddle playing, add in a splash of Kieran and Callum Morganway‘s backing vocals and guitar then with Ed Bullinger and Matt Brocklehurst‘s drums and keyboard and you have a killer combination of adrenaline pumping country rock.

Devil’s Canyon‘ by Morganway. Video: CloudwatcherUno ©2021
Together again with Morganway. Photo: Matt Bradshaw

Throughout the festival you had the main acts but then also acoustic acts such as machine O’Hagan, Emma and Jolie, The Folly Brothers and the legend that is Tim Prottey-Jones. Jade Halliwell stepped in at the last minute to replace Jessica Lynn who were supposed to play but due to one of the band members having to self isolate she also had to self isolate. This meant that the festival will no longer have any kind of American representation but was an opportunity for English acts to shine in the spotlight.

It was my first time seeing as Essex County, three brothers who moved to Nashville to make a big in the country music scene. The brothers are well known in the States and have a dedicated following and it was Tennessee feels festival that they finally got an opportunity to play before a British audience. The bands legion of female fans made sure that they were heard throughout their performance. Gentle heckling that comes with seeing your favourite music acts on stage.

For You‘ by Essex County
With the Essex County boys.
Kezia Gill, simply stunning performance at Tennessee Fields Festival. Photo: CloudwatcherUno ©2021

Then we had Kezia Gill a sensational artist who lifted the spirits and the feet of those in the crowd with her tracks ‘Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman‘, ‘Wings‘, ‘House of Cards‘, ‘The Mess I Made‘ ‘All of Me‘ and ‘Country Song‘.Kezia made special mention of her Friday night club, A online fan club who have been there to support Kezia when she live streamed on Friday nights. Now the fans and cosier could see each other one performing the other listening to the music dies fill their days, nights and headspace. It was also a reminder on how loud live music can be, with the bass thumping, guitars strumming and powerful vocals all making their way through your ears to your heart and your head.

Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman‘ by Kezia Gill featuring Sarah Jory.
The fabulous Kezia Gill. Photo: Chris Cooper

By the time the Ward Thomas took to the stage you completely forgot the past 16 months or so and all the heartache, disappointment and frustration of not having seen your favourite artists in person and in the flesh singing their hearts out. Lizzie and Catherine brought the house down with a mix of singalong songs, pathos induced reflections of the human condition and crowd pleaser lyrics made sure that this night of music would forever live on in the annals of musical history.

Carry You Home‘ by Ward Thomas

So Tennessee fields festival a surreal, time changing, uplifting experience for mind body and soul. Roll on 2022 when we can get to experience it all over again. If this festival is on on your radar then you are missing out on some of the best musical performers artists and bands that are performing music from these fair Isles of Britannia.

What you don’t see is that Catherine decided to walk bare foot through the mud for this photoshoot. Photo: Matt Bradshaw.
Fabulous performance by Ward Thomas to end a day and night of glorious live music. Photo: CloudwatcherUno ©2021
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