We hear from a lot of artists about how they quickly fall in love with travelling across to Europe for shows. Not just for playing shows but enjoying the culture and meeting the people which the fact that we hear it so frequently from virtually every artist that visits shows there really is something that draws people to our tiny little island and why we hear people are so desperate to come back before they have even boarded a plane back to the States. These ‘next’ visits often have years that pass between trips but some artists really do make a commitment to enforce: I love coming here, I love the people, I love the passion the fans have for music and I want to keep coming back by making numerous annual trips. A great example is when you turn up for C2C Country to Country in London in 2019 for the first time before you even have a record out and within 10 months you are back for your 3rd time playing shows, which is exactly what has happened with Lauren Jenkins who we caught up with again on the final night of her latest European tour where she was opening up for Brett Eldredge which included 5 shows in Great Britain.
We had previously caught up with Lauren back in September prior to her headline show at The Grace in Inslington whilst she was over touring which included a Main Stage performance at The Long Road Festival where amongst other things we talked heavily about our mutual appreciation for Long Branch, New Jersey’s most famous native Bruce Springsteen. In our previous chat (which you can find HERE) we had talked about her covering ‘I’m on Fire’ during her set which is obviously such an iconic track from Bruce’s most acclaimed album ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ however in advance of this European trip she wanted to wet her fans appetite and released a pair of stripped back versions of 2 songs from Springsteen’s first US number One album ‘The River’ originally released in 198o.
That’s so funny because part of the reason I chose ‘Hungry Heart’ was the same thing as with that night I played ‘I’m On Fire’ in that I knew people knew the song and not everybody knew my songs so played something people would know rather than an obscure Bruce Springsteen cover. So I chose ‘Hungry Heart’ because I knew that everyone knew it and there wasn’t a version out there like the one I made which was why I chose that one and I did ‘Stolen Car’ because I wanted people to know that song, you know!
On one hand there is an often forgotten gem: ‘Stolen Car’ which is a ballad about seeking self meaning brought through loneliness following a failing marriage and wanting to do something creating attention (stealing a car) in the hope of an outcome (being arrested) which reminds yourself that you exist. This is track that is you often hear talked about as one of Springsteen’s finest pieces of work and her interpretation is really poignant and absolutely does the song justice by retaining the core of the song but bringing it out in her own style and giving the song more exposure that it deserves.
The second cover was the song that Lauren opened up her set at Shepherds Bush Empire with ‘Hungry Heart’ which her version is more different to the original that her recording of ‘Stolen Car’ is as she looks to open up the song slightly and I even hear a vibe similar in the tempo and working to ‘What’s Up’ by 4 Non Blondes where this sad song doesn’t have to come out in such a lowered perspective yet isn’t dressing something up as happier than it really is. The way she worked the cover is such a good fit for her voice and really was even more impressive being performed live.
I wanted it to feel like a little bit of the melancholy but also like you were driving down the coast with the windows down and sort of has that little bit of a SoCal type, seventies kind of vibe so it’s not completely sad and dark, but it’s not entirely happy either. It’s a little bit of a heartbreak in the sound, or at least that’s what I went for!
The 2 songs are her first releases since her debut album ‘No Saint’ which was released almost a year ago just after her first visit to the UK and although the next project is well and truly underway, these releases bridge the gap before what is to come next and reflect her desire to wanting to give something back to her fans:
Well, I have actually taken myself into pre-production for the next record where I’ve been writing and recording as I go. I had a session where I was recording 2 originals just with my friends and I was like Hey, I really wanna do these 2 covers because I think that we can get them out before I go over to Europe. I wanted everybody to have something new to listen to, everyone has been so supportive so I’ve got to give them something new and I knew it would be a little more difficult to get originals out than those songs out so let’s make the versions that I hear in my head! Let’s just go for it and hope Springsteen fans don’t hate them.
Following on from getting the attention of the crowd with a song people may know after opening with ‘Hungry Heart’ her all too short 7 song set also contained another crowd singalong with a beautiful version of the Oasis classic ‘Champagne Supernova’ in addition to 5 songs from her debut album which concluded with what has already become a big fan favourite ‘Running Out Of Road’ but her next visit is sure to include some new material which she shared was well underway.
I can tell you it’s not done yet! I can tell you I’m really excited about it and this record will be a lot more cohesive because it’s gonna be in a shorter amount of time, I haven’t been writing it for that long and at the shows I’ve started playing songs off the new record live which was really fun.
When we talked about her sophomore release that is currently being worked on, she confirmed it will be a full record rather than an EP as she wanted to continue having a body of work that will tell a story exactly like what she achieved with ‘No Saint’ and why she felt that way:
For now, I’ll always love having a full story to tell. I love records, I mean that’s how I grew up consuming and listening to music. That’s the way I prefer to immerse myself in a piece of work, for it to be a whole thing. I want to see the whole picture!
If you have seen her live, said hey to her at any point or follow along on her socials you will already be well aware of what makes her so likeable, why people want to root for her and how down to earth she is. I mean we have all had that time where we have got on the wrong train in a foreign country, haven’t we? When you combine this with her unique voice and particularly over here her songs are very relevant and relatable you see why she is someone that the fans over here have really taken to which is obviously a reciprocated feeling as when I said that 3 visits in 10 months can’t be far off dual nationality for her, she quickly started nodding and enthusiastically said “Yes Please!”
I appreciate it, I mean it’s a crazy thing to stand on stage on this tour every night to look in the first several rows looking every which way and seeing familiar faces. That means a lot, my own parents don’t come to my shows all the time when I play in North Carolina. People are showing up and they’re humans just like I am. Everyone goes through life with it’s ups and downs then they chose to spend their night listening to music with me and that means a lot that they are giving me their time which is the most precious thing. I love being over here, I love touring over here so I’ll keep coming back!
On the subject of returning to play shows in the UK, one of her future goals is to be able to bring a band over with her. People attending last years The Long Road Festival will have seen her with some accompaniment on stage and as awesome as seeing her acoustic performances over here are, what she brings in her full band sets really is something else as we were lucky enough to witness during CMA Fest in Nashville last year so we would love to see Ellen and Megan come and experience the UK with her at some point!
I would love to bring a band! I would love to bring my girls, they are badass and we have so much fun together so that will happen. Honestly it comes down to money! So it might be a deal where I bring one of them when I can afford to do that and then as the shows grow, people buy merch and come to the shows I can continue to build more and add more show dates.
At the end of a third successful European adventure where she sold all the koozies that she brought over (we did a swap with her for her last one and gave her one of our own TC versions because you know all the cool kids have koozies as merch right!) and we know there will be new music coming plus I think we struggle to keep her away from her new European friends, it was the classic final question of ‘So what’s next?”
More shows will be announced and festivals. Potentially shows over here so fingers crossed and knock on wood that’s the plan. I need to finish the editing for the 2 music videos for the Springsteen covers so those will be out soon and then I wanna get some of the songs off the new record out so I’ll see if I can work my magic and make that happen.
In hoping that this magic is fast acting we look forward to what we expect to be another very exciting year where it won’t be too long before we see her again but in the meantime, make sure you keep up to date with Lauren Jenkins on her Website Twitter Facebook Instagram