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INTRODUCTION: First of all, I would like to thank Annette for approaching me to sort out some articles for Think Country. We have known each other online for a couple of years now I think and don’t live too far away from each other in the grand scheme of things. My radio show, The Country Mile, has been going for just over three years now and Annette often has a listen when she is after a fix of ‘proper Country music’! We don’t always agree on things but always try to debate in a nice way at least! It is a great opportunity for me to be able to write some words here, roughly every month or so. I am hoping to not only alert readers to some wonderful music but also to maybe get them to give the show a try as well. 
I first started listening to Country music in the early Seventies I think it was, my parents played Don Williams and Charlie Rich albums. I was around seven or eight at the time. I have loved Country ever since [ even though I also listen to lots of other styles of music too ] and I think those early days have lead to my passion to keep the Country sound alive. The current authentic style is growing all the time and we have hundreds of fantastic artists. I get sent new music daily that excites me. My radio show tries to let people know what we have and hopefully find them new artists to love. 
My Country kryptonite is snap tracks! I think they should be banned. Genuinely. I cringe at much of the current mainstream Pop Country music and don’t think electronics belong in the genre. I have no problem with well written, grown up commercial Country [ for example, Lady A, Little Big Town, Tenille Arts etc ] but when it gets to full on Pop music, such as recent songs by Dan & Shay, I just wish they would be honest and put that in the Pop charts only. I also don’t mind pushing the boundaries sometimes but at least keep it sounding like a Country song. So bear all this in mind as I write these pieces! 
RADIO ROUND UP: The Country Mile has grown considerably since 2017 and now can be heard on more than forty five stations around the world. Exact listener figures are impossible to know but based on feedback from many stations that air the show, it wouldn’t be a lie to say that several thousands hear me every week. Which is quite a scary thought! I value every station that uses my show and I would urge you all to find and support the online independent stations. Several exist in the UK and much more around the world. In my opinion, the UK has a couple of major Country stations that both fail miserably to reflect the whole Country genre and I think we deserve better.
One fairly recent addition to the online ‘airwaves’ is COUNTRY RADIO.UK http://CountryRadio.uk . Founded in 2018 by Matt Haworth [ backed by Sawtry Media Ltd ], the station is growing all the time, with ambitious plans to become the number one independent online station in the UK. 
The station can be heard right now via their website and also the TuneIn Radio app but there is work going on behind the scenes to not only update the full website but also get a dedicated station app available too. There is a studio set up in Peterborough now, with other shows going live from their own locations or supplying syndicated programmes. They have been involved with previous live gig promotion and are now in talks to help stage a festival in Cambridgeshire in 2021. 
Schedule wise, what attracted me to get on board with my own show, was that Matt is trying to cover all bases when it comes to the style of music being played. The playlists are covering commercial and traditional artists and are also backing UK talent as well. Not just now and then but as a regular listing across each day. I hope artists that might be reading this can support the station and get working with the show hosts. 
The Country Mile can be heard every Wednesday between 9-10pm UK time. But there is much more to enjoy across the week, with the likes of Ali Clark [ a radio newcomer ] with her excellent show on a Thursday and Jess T [ an artist in her own right of course ] covering 7-9pm on a Wednesday. You have O’Reilly Country on a Tuesday, with two of the top UK radio talents in Craig Parry [ Monday 7pm ] and Richard Dales Coupland [ Tuesday 9pm ]. More shows are being added all the time so the best thing to do, is visit the website, bookmark the link and start listening. 
I’ll be looking at other radio shows and hosts in coming round ups. 
MUSIC TO LOVE: I am both very lucky and also a bit cursed! As every radio show or website reviewer might agree, getting sent so much music for free is definitely a blessing. At the same time, we don’t get to settle on things before too long before the next incoming link. In this section, I will try and point out a few names that may have passed you by or that are worth looking out for. 
This afternoon, I was sent the new Jesse Daniel album [ out March 27th ]. Named ‘Rollin’ On’, three songs have been released so far, including the immense title track. Twelve tracks in the collection and trust me, if you have any kind of love for traditional style Country music, this is an essential. I will be very lucky to come across a better album in 2020 to be honest. 
I also write reviews for Country Music People magazine [ http://www.cmpcountry.com ] which I love doing and in the current edition, I gave a very high rating to ‘Headlight’, the fantastic album from Della Mae. Moving away a little from their previous all Bluegrass sound, this is just one of those albums of such high quality, that I think most people reading this would enjoy at least some of it. 
If you are into Bluegrass by the way, a quick mention for new releases from Kristy Cox, Junior Sisk, Few Miles South, Geoff Buell, Sideline, Thomm Jutz and Breaking Grass, among others. UK wise, Midnight Skyracer have a new song, ‘Break The Rules’, ahead of their next album ‘Shadows On The Moon’, which is brilliant! Papa Truck are also finishing their new studio album too.
Finally for this month [ as I could keep listing about a hundred names if I could! ], look out for great releases by the likes of Hayden Haddock and Wynn Williams [ broadly speaking, musically not too far from Jon Pardi but with much more pleasing vocal styles ], Drew Fish Band, Brandy Clark, the fantastic EP from Ray Scott, some new music from Hershell Golden [ Country Gold standard! ] and soon, the magical Western Centuries have their new album out too. 
So much to hear and enjoy, maybe you could try and have a listen to my show sometime! 
Thanks for reading this far. If you managed to do so, let me give you three virtual points! Keep them safe, just in case! If there are any subjects you would like me to discuss, let me know. In the meantime, keep tuned in to all the great independent radio shows we have in the UK and support those that support the artists! 
Dave Watkins
The Country Mile
Playing new release authentic Country / Honky Tonk / Outlaw / Western / Bluegrass / Ameripolitan / Americana
**Produced in Frome, England | Syndicated Worldwide on more than 40 stations**
MEMBER: The Americana Association UK | Texas Country Music Association | links with the Ameripolitan Music Awards | International Western Music Association
Reviewer for Country Music People Magazine
**“The Country Mile” is a ray of light here in the UK! He’s providing us with a welcome respite from the plastic, auto-tuned fake country nothingness of the mainstream. “
**I always enjoy seeing your posts supporting the ‘new’ Trad country artists, I’ve discovered a few new faces thanks to you!!”
** ” There so much excellent new talent out there, and Dave’s show is the place to hear it. We need a show like this in the UK, so let’s get him supported!”
** “You are a major DJ in the country and Americana world. Your show goes out on over 40 radio stations across the world. In my books that def makes you a major player. Cheers”
**“I thought I would drop you a note to thank you for an outstanding program and to pass along the feedback on how much our listeners truly enjoy your weekly presentation. 
Lots of cowboys out here in Arizona. They LOVE your show !!”
**“Your shows somehow get better every week, Dave! Thank you for allowing us to air it! It is a PERFECT blend of genres, …..I really enjoy our audiences hearing such great music that they would not otherwise be exposed to.” “


Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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