The problem with going solo to a gig, for me anyway, is that the need for Dutch courage means I drink beer a lot faster than I would with  company. Drinking fast isn’t usually a problem but it means 1) there’s no one to hold said beer when I frequently need the loo and so I’ll down my drink, refuelling the problem, and 2) it’s hard to tell whether the buzz I’m experiencing is from an electrifying performer, or the 5.6% alcohol.imageThe truth comes the morning after – not by reading the almost illegible notes of song titles and memorable moments I’d scribbled down in the dim gig lighting, but by what is stuck in my head. On this particular morning after it’s a song called Booty Call – which is a surprising hangover from a country gig.

Booty Call is the brainchild of the night’s final performer. Sonia Leigh may not be a household name on the country scene here yet, but once seen live, the co-writer of two of Zac Brown Band’s biggest hits won’t be forgotten. The rasping powerhouse took to the stage with My Name is Money and I hurried back from the bar, my attention suitably commanded.

Ideal for those who like their country on the rockier side; there’s something of the old outlaw country about Sonia. It had never occurred to me how few females inhabit that space between country and rock. Sonia, it seems, will elbow a little room for herself between the likes of Brantley Gilbert & Kip Moore but, by finishing with the poetic “Life wants to take you for a ride…”, my inner country-traditionalist was happy too.

image Sonia’s trip around the UK is a double headliner tour with Britain’s own Sasha McVeigh – someone who’s getting as much interest Stateside as here on her home turf.

Sasha’s set left me with two questions; 1) where did she get her matte leather leggings? and 2) how did the US get to hear about her before me? (She’s already played an ACM party and this year will be sharing the stage with Toby Keith, The Band Perry and Eric Church). My first question had actually been ‘are her band old enough to be in this bar?’ but that was answered – they were undergraduate music students and they were incredible!image

If Sonia’s country wouldn’t be out of place in a Camden mosh pit, I see Sasha in a spring festival with an abundance of cider. She put me in a good mood. It didn’t matter that the room wasn’t full (though the pair had sold out London’s The Water Rats the night before), Sasha was chatty, charming and versatile – switching the set up with an intimate acoustic mid section.

I love a song with a story and Sasha’s anecdotes and interaction reminded me why it’s worth not just sticking on a CD but getting out there to hear the music live. Even on days you can’t find anyone to go with you…

(Sasha and Sonia are touring the UK – see our gig list for dates)

By @CheryTwee for @UKCountryBlog