Tag Archives: music blog

Sarah Darling ~ Return of the Native

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts. It was billed as the concert to end all Christmas concerts, something for the history books, a point in time forever etched onto the minds of those who were there.

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

When Sarah Darling stepped onto the Union Chapel stage on 2nd December 2019 no one could have predicted the joy and happiness that erupted and burst through the winter gloom that had started to grip the capital city.

‘Where Cowboys Ride’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Opening the evenings entertainment with ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ this ode to the frontiersmen of the west which has over 3 million plays on Spotify exemplified all the best of Sarah’s vocal talents. Backed by her band of brothers the song carried you away to those open skies where horses run and prairie landscapes.

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

England and more specifically London has been the second home for the Iowan native who has spent so much time touring these isles that when she returns to Nashville friends believe she has an English accent. You know that Sarah has turned native when she sings about the weather, a national obsession for anyone who lives on this emerald isle.

‘Blue Sky’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Sarah’s songs such as ‘Blue Sky’ and ‘London Fog’ dramatically conjure up all those feelings associated by being in wide open spaces with azure blue skies and the silvery dusky fog that still settles in London mornings.

Having acted as her own warm up act Sarah introduced Jamie Lawson a phenomenal singer songwriter who was the first artist to signed up to Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records. Singing ‘I wasn’t expecting That’ and ‘Hallelujah’ he blew away the crowd with his passion and intensity of delivery to produce a stunning performance.

Jamie Lawson at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Hallelujah’ performed live by Jamie Lawson at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

And then as the ecstatic audience applauded Jamie for his music, Sarah came back on stage and introduced her next guest stars The Wandering Hearts.

Tara Wilcox from The Wandering Hearts at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Now this evening was beginning to look like we had been transported a million miles away to the Grand Ole Opry. Where rising stars of country perform to showcase their unique contribution to the pantheon of country legends that had stepped on stage before them.

‘The Christmas Song’ performed live by Sarah Darling with The Wandering Hearts at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Then Sarah had the audience in the palm of her hands. What delight were to come next?

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

The answer to that came in shape of new songs that Sarah had been working on in Los Angeles and the Campfire Sessions. ‘Hungover’, ‘Waves’ ‘Drive away with You’ and ‘Leave the Pieces’

‘Hungover’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Waves’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Leave the Pieces’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

After an intermission Sarah came back onstage in a new sparkly black dress which shimmered in the lights. This was not the only thing that sparkled as Sarah introduced the sister duo Ward Thomas onto the stage to sing three songs ‘Landslide’, ‘River’ and her new single also featuring Ward Thomas ‘Divide’.

‘Landslide’ performed live by Sarah Darling with Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
Catherine Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
Lizzy Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Divide’ performed live by Sarah Darling with Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Ward Thomas were simply divine and the harmonies that they produced with Sarah on these songs weer breathtaking. It was my first time hearing and seeing Ward Thomas perform and I am forever grateful to Sarah for this gift. Truly the evening was one musical gift after another especially with the three guest star artists that had performed this night.

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Then as this was a Christmas concert Sarah sang such Christmas hits as ‘Santa Baby’, ‘Have yourself a Merry little Christmas’, ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Silent Night’. Now when Sarah sang this last song she did so unplugged and acoustically. What better venue to sing ‘Silent Night’ then at Union Chapel. The audience were silent, all were mesmerised by the pure sound coming from the angel praising the birth of Christ.

‘Have yourself a Merry little Christmas’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Silent Night’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Sarah left the stage to rapturous applause from the audience. What an extraordinary night had been enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to attend. Would there be anything else left for Sarah to showcase?

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

The answer came when Sarah appeared on stage again and delivered two more songs ‘Monmatre’ and Hailey’s Comet’. ‘Monmatre’ is Sarah’s love song to the city of love, Paris. It exquisitely captures the essence and magic of that eternal beacon of romance.

‘Monmatre’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

What a way to end the nights performance than with this song. A once in a lifetime natural phenomenon that lights up the universe with its fiery approach emblazoned across the night sky.

‘Halley’s Comet’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Sarah lit up the sky’s tonight with her whole soul. A messenger from the Heavens, a traveller from Nashville, tonight heralded the return of the native. The musician who belongs to two cities but who had captured the heart of London this night and every night.

With Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Emily Mae Winters ~ Restless Spirit

Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Emily Mae Winters first appearance at Bush Hall, London 29th October 2019 was an absolute treat for fans of folk, americana and country. It was my first time seeing Emily and it will not be the last. With a voice that carries you across the divide of folk and country this was a poet of the heart who spins tales of heartbreak, love and longing.

Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

A unique voice that was mesmerising, haunting and hypnotic to the point where the rest of the world ceased to exist and you stepped into a place between worlds. A land that merged the echoes of americana with the skies of country and the landscapes of folk.

‘Blackberry Lane’ performed by Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Emily’s solo debut album Siren Serenade showcased her enormous abilities as a poet. One of my favourite tracks from that album is ‘Blackberry Lane’ a song that Emily wrote about leaving London. It hooks into your mind and heart and doesn’t let go.

Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

These are songs that hark back to Emily’s Irish roots and to the rhythms of Irish folk music kept alive with songs like ‘Fiddlers Green’ and ‘The Ghost of a Pirate Queen’. It’s as if the past has been brought back to life with Emily’s exquisite words and emotion reaching you on the inside and taking root inside you.

Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Go listen to Emily’s second album which was released in June 2019 ‘High Romance’ is a natural progression from the 2017 album. It crystallises the themes and ideas from that musical journey into a new direction. The album shows Emily’s confident vocals as they capture your imagination in an emotionally charged musical experience.

‘Come live in my Heart and Pay no Rent’ performed by Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Emily’s live performance was phenomenal. It heightened all the emotional qualities of the lyrics and made them connect with melodious vocals with a strength and power that should have been beyond someone who has only begun her path into the worlds of folk, americana and country.

With Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Photograph by Matt Bradshaw ©2019

Emily’s voice, lyrics and stage presence has made a lasting impact on me and once you listen to her singing you’ll be a convert to this musical minstrel of that I’m sure. I’m looking forward to the time I can enter into her world of music again. I never want to leave.

‘How do you fix a broken Sun?’ performed by Emily Mae Winters at Bush Hall, London on 29th October 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Kip Moore ~ Guitar Man

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Kip Moore has written over a thousand songs some of which have seen the light and have been breathed into existence and played before the audience at Roundhouse London on 2nd September 2019. Kip Moore had only just played out to sold out audiences at Cadogan Hall in May of this year and was worried that UK fans would be sick of him. There was no fear of that as the atmosphere was electric. Fans had just seen Jillian Jacqueline perform (see previous post) and were left hungry for more outstanding music from artists at the top of their music game.

‘She’s Mine’ Kip Moore’s latest single.

Entering onto the stage in darkness and opening with ‘Crazy One More Time’ Kip Moore performed for nearly 2 hours for the audience who had packed out the concert hall. Taking sips from his bottle of Jack Daniels Kip rattled through songs at a break neck pace. His voice resonating deeply with a voice that carried effortlessly through the auditorium. I’ve never seen a country audience that energised by a performers music and on stage presence.

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Supported by a full band and charismatic guitar players who lifted the songs to even higher levels of energy. This was not just country music this was country rock at it’s best. Having seen Brothers Osborne up live and personal I didn’t believe there was an artist who could match the brothers in a live performance. Kip Moore did that and more on this Monday night. My ears are still ringing from the auditory experience.

‘Tennessee Boy’ by Kip Moore
Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Thanking the audience for being so supportive of his music and for selling out his UK shows Kip Moore walked off into the darkness from which he had emerged. The audience were in shock surely their night of pulsating guitar riffing country rock couldn’t be over could it?

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

The audience shouted out ‘Kip! Kip! Kip!’ for what seemed an eternity and then Kip returned to the stage for an encore starting with the country rock ballad of ‘Bittersweet Company’

‘Bittersweet Company’ by Kip Moore

Between the final songs Kip shared with the audience that he had been born with congenital defects which continues to affect his hearing so much so that he wasn’t sure how long he could continue playing live to audiences.

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Kip ended the night with his personal anthem ‘Guitar Man’. This song more than others captures the spirit of the man and his music.

“Well, I woke to the rise, sun going down
Still taste the whiskey, still fresh on my mouth
Hot cup of coffee, smoke in my hand
Another day in the life of the guitar man
La de da”

For two hours the boy from Tifton, Georgia had transported world weary Londoners to the sunshine of Nashville. Bravo Kip Moore! You absolute legend.

Guitar Man by Kip Moore
Kip Moore with his band, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019