Saturday night brought about a return to Under TheBridge at Chelsea Football Club in London for the relaunch/rebranding/continuation (delete as appropriate) of our main country music club night Nash Nights. The venue is still the same as before and the format is as before with a live act playing followed by a dj set until the early hours. That was initially what the substance of this post was due to be about, HOWEVER in my initial draft of ramblings I made reference to how I really liked one of Two Ways Home’s songs and would put it in my 10 favourite songs in the locker of any country or Americana artist from the UK.
This got me thinking (dangerous enough in itself) and resulted in my Sunday evening thoughts being unravelled in a fashion reminiscent of a chicken rogan josh being spilt over the kitchen floor that could probably be classed as modern art belonging in the Tate Modern. I will in turn get to Nash Nights in more detail but I am going to start talking about Two Ways Home and their set. It was around about 2 and half years ago that I first came across the Anglo-Austrian duo of Lewis Fowler and Isi Mariee when they were in a competition being run by Yamaha for a place to perform at the UK’s largest country music festival Country 2 Country. They were performing the same night as my friends Liv Austen and Fifth Floor (Moa & Matilda) and my initial reaction to TWH was I really didn’t think they were very good – that is probably the pre watershed definition.
However that is the past and I can’t even blame the error in my judgement as alcohol induced (first time for everything) but now I do really like their sound as a duo where I would go as far as saying they are probably one of the tightest and hardest working duos amongst the UK scene. I’m a sucker for harmony bands (which if you have read my pieces on Runaway June and Fairground Saints you may be well and truly aware of this already) and these guys are definitely up there amongst the best of the groups or duos over here. I think their sound and live shows appeal a lot more when they have a full band behind them where it still allows their warmth and personality to shine through like when they host their acoustic “The Round Up” nights.
They did exactly what is needed at Nash Nights with a fun, lively and engaging set that got the crowd going by being predominantly up tempo which was one of the best sets I have seen compared to previous events there. The guys are currently working towards their debut album which if you want to pre order or help support you can find out more at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/two-ways-home-debut-album#/ or if you just want to check out their music and what they are up to in the meantime please head on over to FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM and SPOTIFY.
For anyone that has been to Nashville Nights (as it was previously known) you will be pleased to know the evening format has not changed now it has been taken over to be run by the venue and they are now offering food which can be purchased at the event! I don’t really know how, where, what and when exactly with the food but I didn’t hear anyone complaining about it. The ticket price for this event was the same price as before (the New Years Eve event is understandably slightly dearer) but what I would say is that it was noted that tickets on the door was actually cheaper than buying in advance as people did not have to pay a booking fee when they paid on the door – it would be nice if there was a way around the booking fee like was achieved when the girls ran the event. I have talked about what is great about the event in a previous post (http://thinkcountrymusic.com/whats-new/londons-vibrant-and-rapidly-growing-country-night-scene/) and fortunately it is almost identical except we only had Keith and Carrie cardboard cuts out at the entrance so apologies if you didn’t manage to get you picture with Taylor Swift. As always, the staff are friendly, security there are superb, bar service was really quick and everyone is there for a good time. HOWEVER your DJ probably needs a better understanding of what songs to play at what time during the night with getting an understanding of which songs are slower and which ones are more up-tempo party songs but all in all the music being played was great. The next event is December 31st for New Year and promises to be a cracking night with tickets available at https://underthebridge.ticketabc.com/events/nash-nights-nye/
Now amongst their set they have a song that really stands out called “Just For Now” (which you can find at all of the usual download or streaming platforms) and when I began writing I had worded as what I felt was one of the ten best songs I have ever heard from any artist making country or Americana over here. Now this is where my spilt curry comes into play: was I just writing that for some content or do I genuinely think it is one of the top ten tracks anyone could have in their locker? Following on from that what other songs would make their way into my top ten? From here I obviously decided to make wonderful use of Spotify and try to make a playlist of my UK country and Americana top ten.
We are really fortunate as a platform here at Think Country in that we cover the genre extensively from both sides of the Atlantic for the attention of the whole world which brought about an opportunity to showcase the best music I feel we have to offer from UK artists to our readers everywhere. Plenty of people from over here may disagree saying what they feel should be amongst the best songs but ultimately these are my choices and as music is purely perceptive this playlist is exactly what that are also I am sure what I consider British may bring some keyboard warriors out – again it’s my piece so British born OR now residing here permanently works for me. Hopefully some great music you may not have heard before and sort of opens you up a bit more to my taste in music beyond Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Little Mix! Firstly I would limit it to one song per artist to allow more people to be highlighted and for ease of the playlist the song I was thinking about was available on Spotify (#) meaning if the song was not available on Spotify I wouldn’t just pick another song by that artist for the sake of it.
(# A few tracks that would come into the equation fall foul of this for an array of different reasons (where I have included YouTube links where possible): Slow It Down by Dexeter, I Won’t Fall by Holloway Road, The Guts You Always Had by Liv Austen and Old School By Katy Hurt.)
The playlist is not in a particular order of ranking, the songs are not new singles that I am doing things to promote as some of them a few years old and above all I would love to hear what you think as some of the tracks are what you may consider roots or Americana rather than what you may call country. To some US readers what you may notice is all of the songs feature prominent female vocals with only 2 males within duos on any of the tracks (I’m alerting you to this fact so I will just leave it there). https://open.spotify.com/user/jaymeeg85/playlist/5ZCmQBn47VDDJ9azWZ2w2K
So essentially YES “Just For Now” is in my top ten as such and in case you were wondering I didn’t actually throw my curry on the floor as I actually had turkey dinosaurs and potato waffles with beans for my dinner! I’m not going to talk about the other 9 songs at length because they are all amazing and I just want people to check them out for themselves and hopefully be an avenue to discover some really talented artists. If you are not aware already after seeing the playlist but two of the artists now reside in America and anyone that is over in the States that is not already aware of these two incredible artists, songwriters and musicians I seriously cannot stress enough how I recommend getting to see Lucie or Sasha play live and listening to their music.
For everyone this side of the pond: Lucie is on tour with Brothers Osborne over here at the start of December which clearly nobody will want to miss that anyway, Ward Thomas are back on a big tour early next year, Frankie has recently brought out her amazing debut album “Wherever I Go”, Megan has been working super hard recently on her next album with The Dunwells which we are super excited about hearing, Lisa Wright I have not caught up with for way too long for my liking so that clearly needs to change soon plus for you guys she is playing at Green Note in January, Paul & Claire have been writing like crazy ready for album three so hopefully not too far off hearing something new from Raintown and Clara too has exciting new music that is not too far away either so really exciting times coming up for so many of our artists and really hope people appreciate the songs on the playlist which are just a taste of the quality we have on offer and are songs that I really like myself.