Live in Milton Keynes
By Lesley Hastings
It would have possibly been easier for me to have gone to Nashville to see its now-resident , Dallas born SaraBeth , play than negotiate the bank-holiday road closures in Milton Keynes last Friday!
This was a gig I booked a while back, having reviewed her recently released EP for this website ( which you can read here http://thinkcountry.co.uk/reviews/sarabeth-3/) and I wasn’t going to be beaten by a few diggers, fluorescent jackets, hard hats and diversion signs that took me anywhere but my destination!
Consequently I arrived half way through the opening set by the UK’s own Glen Mitchell ( he has also re-located to music city to further his career ). His style was not entirely my cup of tea, but with Jason Hoffman accompanying him ( also on acoustic guitar) he certainly went down well with the crowd, some of whom were obviously big fans of the relatively local Bedford-born musician.
After a short break, Glen and Jason returned to the stage to accompany SaraBeth for her set ( she played guitar on only one song ) and the three of them were very much at ease with one another throughout. The harmonies the boys provided really added depth and there were some great guitar solos from Glen too. SaraBeth looked suitably glamorous with her long blonde hair and wearing a black fringed dress, and gave a confident performance to the sell-out crowd in the venue’s smaller performance space. Her vocals which were both strong and secure ( after some initial monitor issues!) and she was never short of dramatic arm gestures! Chatting about her move to Nashville having majored in Business Studies in Dallas, the set was a good mix of tracks from her EPs and a few country covers, including The Band Perry’s ” Done” , Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” ( she mentioned that the Shires had just been announced as support on their upcoming US tour) and Loretta Lynn’s ” You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” which she explained was the first song she ever remembers hearing and singing along too, thanks to her Grandma. She took time to talk about the inspiration behind her self-penned tracks, which she said was something really enjoyed doing at acoustic gigs, and as mentioned in my EP review I like her writing style a lot. Her songs are catchy without being too cheesy, it’s just a shame that this was a seated venue as with much of the set comprising of uptempo numbers I for one would have liked to have a bit of a dance! Particularly worth a mention is the fun “I don’t Want to Wear You Home” which was delivered with appropriate attitude, one of my favourites from her most recent EP, “Running out of Lipstick” which she co-wrote with Glen, and the set’s closer which is her highest charting single to date, “I’m Sick of It”.
It really was an impressive performance from this rising star, and as I wandered out into the night to wrestle with roundabouts and roadworks I was thinking how I’d like to hear her play a full band set so she could totally unleash her strong vocals. But with the costs involved in bringing musicians over here that may well be one for a future trip to Nashville! Any excuse to jump on that plane!