Sasha McVeigh & Sonia Leigh Live in Exeter
By Jordan Mitchell
Four of country music’s young talent made Exeter phoenix a stop on the co-headline Sasha McVeigh/Sonia Leigh tour Tuesday 21st March, it was a quaint venue with a nice chilled atmosphere, tonight was a there was an extra added performer Claydon Connor who opened the evening. The rest of the line up included Liv Austen and headliners Sasha McVeigh and Sonia Leigh.
Claydon Connor took to the stage just him and his guitar, it was a first time seeing Connor live for me and soon as he began performing I was really impressed. I very much enjoyed the track ‘Whiskey Nights’ featured on his album ‘Under The Big Sky’ …which I totally brought after his set! I thoroughly enjoyed the performance it was a simple acoustic set up, but it was all that was needed, it made all attention focus on this incredible talent who delivered fantastic vocals and entertained a very enthusiastic crowd.
It was after a short interval where attendees could buy opening act Claydon Connor’s CD and top up on their drinks, the lovely Liv Austen took to the stage to perform next, She kicked things off with title track from her ‘Workin Man’s Dream’ EP. Austen has a beautiful voice and a range that is perfectly delivered. Austen was accompanied on stage with her guitarist, she went on to perform ‘Breath Out’ which she tells the audience a story of a girl who sat next to her at this year’s C2C festival on both nights, it was the second night the girl bucked up the courage to ask if Liv Austen was indeed Liv Austen and asked about this particular track- Austen was delighted and said for a singer songwriter to have someone ask and compliment the song writing of a song is an awesome thing…and fitting for the story the girl was actually sat just in front of me in the event on Tuesday. After a few tracks performed with the guitar, her guitarist left the stage to allow Austen to take to the piano to perform a couple numbers, her set was wonderful a very well thought and planned out selection of songs.
It was time to hit the volume switch up a few notches and welcome one of the first headliners Sasha McVeigh and her band on stage. It’s so far proven to be a great start to the year for this one, she has successfully completed her pledge project which means a brand new album is set for release…but for the lucky pledgers out there and tour attendees have already got their copy before release date…(go grab a copy) She has performed on the pop-up stages at this year’s C2C festival and embarked on this awesome tour with the talented Sonia Leigh.
It was straight in to ‘No Strings Attached Romance’ one, from her self-titled EP this one for me was a personal favourite of mine from her EP. It was in to new material and one from the new album ‘Time Of My Life’ and I have to say it sounded great!!! I have been lucky enough to see Sasha perform now a few times and when I first started watching her it was just herself and acoustic guitar and now she has a very talented full band and with the new material it really suits having that fuller sound, her performance always blows me away she is incredibly gifted and she is certainly making her mark on the ever blossoming country music scene.
With Co-headlining with one of Zac Brown Bands Co–songwriters Sasha explains to the crowd of what a huge ZBB fan she is so she created a kinda ‘Tribute’ with a medley of their songs which included ‘Colder Weather’ Highway 20 Ride’ ‘Chicken Fried’ and ‘Sweet Annie’ it was a fun mix that blended well. The next song was an exciting one as it is her very first UK single ‘Someone To Break My Heart’ a song that was played on The Mark Forrest Show and played on every local BBC radio station. ‘You Only Live Once’ a track that Sasha got help with from the late AJ Masters who lived in Nashville and sadly passed away earlier this year, he said she has included two versions of this one on the album the second named (The Work Tape) which features Masters playing guitar. To finish off the set with my absolute favourite Sasha McVeigh track ‘Mr Brown Eyes’ so glad this one is included on the new album, super, super catchy.
And to round off the fantastic evening American Singer / Songwriter Sonia Leigh graced the stage with Sasha McVeigh’s awesome band, and a song of hers that really stood out for me was thankfully one she chose to open with ‘My Name Is Money’ I LOVE this number, such a feel good easy to sing along to track and wow, when this woman sings she nails it.
An acoustic addition to the set with song ‘Alabama’ went down a treat and another catchy one ‘Put It In Your Pocket’ I would say a huge summer hit, I know I am going to be playing it all the time! Sonia expressed her love for the UK and how of late she has spent a fair amount of time and she wrote her song ‘Sky Submarine’ whilst over here. She is set to soon release a new song back in the states, which she admits might get mixed reviews because of the lyrics… I am a fan of it! She has incredible ability to write amazing songs just as outstanding as this one is called ‘Booty Call’ and it got a good response from the crowd, I believe it’s going to be a successful one for sure. I was completely blown away by Sonia’s performance she such a unique voice that just delivers on every song, so glad I got to see her live on this tour, such a treat!
She called on her co headliner Sasha McVeigh for an encore last song of the night and it was a song she co-wrote with Zac Brown Band ‘Sweet Annie’ a perfect choice for the two to perform together they sang so well together and their stage presence/relationship worked so well you can tell they have really made a great friendship on this tour.
Overall it was just a fantastic night filled with incredible talent, I was so impressed and with the supporting acts it was the right balance and mix that worked well with Sasha and Sonia, a great concert indeed.