Tag Archives: Gig Photography

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

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S2 Ep2 ~ William Poyer

William Poyer performing live at Luna, February 2020 ~ Photograph by Matt Bradshaw

William Poyer is as unique as his music. An outstanding lyricist whose words come to life with a passion and haunting elegance that goes beyond poetry into the sublime spoken word of fellow artists Ray LaMontagne and Jason Isbell.

In this podcast CloudwatcherUno sits down with William and discuss his adventures in Mexico City, taking the brave step of moving across the world to find himself and learning to focus on his music and meeting fellow musical souls such as Jairus McDonald and José (Tato) Grageda from the band Peregrino. In those years he learnt a new language, met his wife and they have a beautiful baby boy.

Wiliam Poyer ~ Photograph by Russell Sansom

William has supported Great Lakes Band and Ferris and Sylvester on tour and has performed on stages large and small to connect with audiences with his music. In this podcast we get to hear two acoustic songs ‘Where Do I Begin’ and an unrecorded song ‘Forgiven’ which he will record in the home studio of Ferris and Sylvester.

‘Where Do I Begin’ by William Poyer

For William his passion has always been the acoustic guitar and from there his love of creating hooks, melodies to connect with audiences on an emotional level. William gets to showcase these talents on 10th October by performing in a socially distanced gig at the Old Joinery in Greenwich and a premiere a documentary about artists performing at the Spiritual Bar in Camden on October 22nd / 23rd 2020. Tickets for this event will be out shortly.

William Poyer from the podcast ~ Photograph CloudwatcherUno © 2020

Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring William Poyer. Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many other platforms.

Black Pumas ~ Kings of Soul

Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Once in a while, a voice stops you dead in your tracks. The voice goes deep into your musical should and stops you cold. You look around to see if you have left this reality or have gone into another realm. I heard Eric Burton’s voice coupled with Adrian Quesada’s guitar on ‘Colors’ last year on Spotify and I must have played that track multiple, multiple times. It brought me immense pleasure and happiness to be moved by this deep, rich totally immersive sound. It was as if I had discovered an unknown treasure from the seventies one that had escaped the notice of all the music that has since passed.

‘Colors’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

There is an urgency in Eric’s voice a message that needs to be delivered to your heart bypassing your mind. It needs to open up that part of you that has become worn down by the relentless grey that is modern existence.

Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

On 7th February 2020 at Islington Assembly Hall, London the Black Pumas continued with their Black Moon Rising tour they came and performed their music onto an audience who had travelled across the globe to hear them play. As far as Venezuela to Spain fans had travelled to experience in person the music of this incredible band.

‘OCT 33’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

From the first opening chords of ‘Old Man’ the Black Pumas gripped the audience and a wave of positivity, warmth and electricity flowing through the concert venue which went through each and every fan. We knew this was special that this was a night to say afterwards that we had seen the Black Pumas live. Lets not forget that the Black Pumas are a duo and the other half of that duo is Adrian Quesada and without his guitar and the almighty power he wields with that instrument there would not be those delicious hooks and riffs to thrill and excite your senses.

Adrian Quesada from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Using my photograph on his Instagram page. ©CloudwatcherUno™ 2020

Hearing the album the self titled ‘Black Pumas’ you are transported to a world full of funkadelic soul, pulsing electronic heartbeats of bass with hypnotic beats. When you hear this music live in concert the effect is magnified a thousand fold sending shivers down your spine. Your feet can’t help but move along to the rhythms of the music.

‘Black Moon Rising’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

The whole atmosphere at the audience was electric, sending positive energy back to the band by singing the words to each and every song. And then Eric stepped it up another level by singing ‘Fire’ into the crowd itself. Surrounded by fans the whole audience went estactic.

Eric Burton from Black Pumas surrounded by fans as he sings ‘Fire’ at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Then Eric vaulted the security barrier and lept back on stage leaving the crowd hungry for more music and for the night not to end.

‘Stay Gold’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

What a show, a performance from the band that easily rates as being in the top ten live experiences I’ve been to. Well worth the wait of all these past months to a glimpse of the mercurial talents of these exceptional musicians. It’s no wondered Black Pumas were nominated for a Grammy this year for Best New Artist.

Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Then as the last song came over a silence came over the crowd. Surely it couldn’t end, not this evening of pure soul?

‘Old Man’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Of course it didn’t as the band came back to an uproarious encore when Eric asked the crowd if they wanted to hear another song? The crowd erupted with a almighty ‘YESSSSSS’ and so Eric sang an acoustic version of the Beatles classic ‘Eleanor Rigby’.

‘Eleanor Rigby’ perfomed by Black Pumas.

Then this evening of supreme came to an end. We had witnessed music in it’s purest form connecting us not only with the artists but with each of us who were in the venue.

Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

As if the night couldn’t get any better Eric then launched into a cover of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ a sublime mix of soulful vocals and words to connect with the audiences souls.

‘Fast Car’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by Renato Ramone.

What next for the Black Pumas? They are currently on a path that is leading them to be interstellar. For now I can say that I was there at ground zero seeing them lift off on career that will take them into the stars.

Signed vinyl album by Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada from Black Pumas.
Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020