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.

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.

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

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 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

Fayen are an acoustic duo from Trondheim in Norway who bring their previous experiences of playing bluegrass music and channelling that into the Nordicana genre of music coming from Norway. Nordicana is Americana music with a Scandinavian twist. They first met playing traditional bluegrass 11 years ago and then became a couple in 2007 and now developed into fully fledged duo who are making stellar signs for your ears. Their new EP ‘From Here On Out‘ was released on 25 June 2021.Luckily all the music was recorded before the pandemic and before their lovely boy was born. The duo where music teachers Namibia and then in 2015 they Wanted to become more involved on the music scene and and eventually they became Fayen.

The sound of the album was deliberately trying to capture an atmosphere that subconsciously you will feel that you are listening to a live experience or as close to one as humanly possible. With songs such as ‘Meander Love‘, ‘Dark Horse‘ and ‘Hummingbird‘. We also get to hear a live acoustic version of ‘Hummingbird‘ which is simply sensational and will make you totally fall in love with this band. Some of the songs on the album have taken over a decade in being crafted and being brought to an audience to be enjoyed with your eyes closed. So that you can fully appreciate a phenomenal audio experience.

With the birth of their second child in the fall of 2021, Fayen are looking at the logistics of taking their ever-growing family with them when they go touring and playing to audiences and fans alike in Norway.

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

Dustin Brown is living his life finally playing live music with all the enthusiasm and passion he can to excite his audiences again. Finally after quite a few years doing different jobs and living different lives Dustin is once again a fully fledged paid-up member of the musical fraternity. With the release of ‘Dreamer’s Last Drifter‘ his album from 2020 Dustin has shown what an amazing cosmic energy he brings to the world of music.

You‘ by Dustin Brown.

Dustin recorded the album as an acoustic album and then change his mind to make it a full band experience. You was recorded as a breakup song and relationships that disintegrate. Most of Dustin’s music is what he feels in his gut and how you can express that in musical form. Dustin’s grandfather and two of his sisters were and are accomplished musicians and a lot of Dustin’s creativity comes from the need to play guitar and express his voice. Townes van Zandt is a musical hero and influences his song writing style.

Modern psychedelic rock stuff mixed with folk music is the only label that Dustin likes to put upon himself and his music. During a pandemic Dustin has been working on his sophomore album and has been putting all his energies into his music music that makes him happy and hopefully his followers happy when they hear it when they seem live or when the album comes out.

Dreamers Last Drifter‘ by Dustin Brown

For the future Dustin will be releasing new album in the summer of 2021. This was recorded with his band Dustin Brown and The Now. Dustin and the band have taken the time just to make sure that the listener gets chill experience. New singles should be coming out very soon.

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

In 2016 Bobby Dove released ‘Thunderchild‘ a collection of country songs that explore being released from oppression or at least self oppression with country music stylings. One of the most phenomenal tracks is ‘Floor Licker‘ which deserves to be a in a car chase in a movie. Truly if they ever do Baby Driver 2 then this is the soundtrack for this movie. ‘Cowgirl Bob‘ is about a lawyer from Texas that Bobby met online and how fantasy fell apart when it met reality.

Get ready to start your engines with ‘Floor Licker‘ from the album ‘Thunderchild‘ by Bobby Dove

In February 2021 Bobby released ‘Hopeless Romantic‘ light years away from Thunderchild as Bobby’s experiences of travelling and touring across the country and playing in front of live audiences enriched her life experiences and her music focuses on unrequited love, being on the road, haunted hotels and hard-rocking pallbearers. The album was co-produced with Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) at The Woodshed studio in Toronto. On Hopeless Romantic, Bobby collaborates with some of the finest in Canadian Country music including members of Blue Rodeo Jim Cuddy, Bazil Donovan and Jimmy Bowskill (The Sheepdogs, Blue Rodeo), and Burke Carroll (Kathleen Edwards).

Haunted Hotel‘ from the album ‘Hopeless Romantic‘ by Bobby Dove

The album itself was recorded with Bobby’s long-term band members from Toronto and was recorded pre-covid timesBut wasn’t ready to be released in the height of the pandemic getaway tracks still to be mastered. Bobby released the album herself without the help of a label as a digital release but other formats will come out in due course. Along with merchandise that supports this music.

Bobby Dove is a gifted artist, and a brilliant new light on the songwriting scene…  A time traveler, Bobby’s songs meld genres with the touch of a master. I am a fan.” Mary Gauthier

Bobby is currently hunkering down in western Manitoba, supporting the launch of  Hopeless Romantic as well as developing The Bobby Dove Show, a virtual variety show, featuring Bobby’s new songs, and interviews with renowned roots/Country singer-songwriters from across Canada. Sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Bobby Dove Show will be shared on Bobby’s social-media as well as on bobbydove.com.

The Bobby Dove Show

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

Ingvild Flottorp is a fabulously talented 22 year old Nordicana (Norwegian Americana) artist from Åmli, Norway. Ingvild comes from a family of musicians that includes her older brother and sister Johanne and Tobias who play together in Ruby Red and the Moonshine Brothers while Johanne also plays in the legendary The Northern Belle band.

Ingvild is the next generation of singer songwriters to come out of Norway to carry the flame for the Nordicana music scene. Her voice and music are reminiscent of Iris Dement and Kate Bush but with lush country overtones.

Her debut album ‘It All Seems So Clear’ by Vestkyst Records came out in April 2021 and it’s a spellbinding display of virtuoso lyrics, heavenly vocals supported by sublime pedal steel and fiddle.

‘I Don’t Believe You Anymore’ by Ingvild Flottorp

In the podcast host CloudwatcherUno and Ingvild talk openly about the joys and lows of bringing an album to life only to have it nearly snatched away by the pandemic and the lockdown that followed not only in Norway but across the globe. It meant that the young star wouldn’t be able to promote her album by singing live to audiences across Norway.

With the help of Tobias who produced the whole album something magical has been born. Shania Twain was Ingvild’s hero and as a young girl dressed up and performed in videos for her siblings. This early exposure to country music from her father on road trips influenced her love for this genre. There’s also a rich folk tradition of making honest music that connects with audiences. The song writing process can sometimes take up to a year in trying to capture the sound that Ingvild is looking for.

Making and recording music brings joy to Ingvild and to us as fans of her imagination and you just have to listen to these magnificent songs. It took a year before Ingvild found a label that would champion her sound and promote it to a wider audience. Looking forward Ingvild has many more songs for her sophomore album which promises to be in a different direction.

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

Jordan Hook and Joey Berglund two uber cool busking musicians who became friends in 2019 and teamed up to be the supergroup Baxter Elkins. Hailing from Los Angeles the duo bring sunshine and extraordinary banjo, fiddle, guitar and saxophone playing with harmonies and vocals that many other musicians would kill for. Just watch their Gems on VHS submission ‘Judas‘ to understand what I’m talking about.

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Making music that seems unmarketable to regular country music labels is the way that makes Baxter Elkins truly stand out from all the usual music that comes out of the Nashville music factory. Their album ‘Hard Times and Hootenany’s‘ which was released in November 2020Is an absolute delight they breathe life back into traditional music with a slick sense of humour running through it. One of the absolute classics is ‘15 years of bliss and a quick death what else can a man dream of?‘.

Baxter Elkins also submitted their entry to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest and if it wasn’t for the teeniest tiniest confusion about time zones I’m sure that they would have won the contest.

One of the bands absolute classics is ‘Werewolves‘ a song that he wrote for Halloween for a radio show I chose the collaborative efforts that Joey and Jordan bring to Baxter Elkins. Growing up Jordan was influenced by Townes Van Sant and Willie Nelson and this explains how a surfer became hooked into country music and Joey explains how in a city of 10 million people country music still has a place in Los Angeles. Is this eclectic mix of traditional and new that both artists bring to their philosophy of music.

Jordan and Joey from Baxter Elkins from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

The boys begin touring on Sunday 13th June 2021 at Lake Tahoe and continue across Nevada, Wyoming Pagosa Springs and Utah. For full details of venues and dates go check out their website or their Instagram page. Seriously what are you waiting for check out the music and if you can see them live!

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