I met a woman in the toilets (because I’m classy like that). As I tried to make the transition from office to cowgirl using nothing but a hairband and some lipstick, she exclaimed “I thought I was the only one who listened to this music!”

I remembered the feeling; walking into the first Nashville Nights club and seeing a room full of people mouthing every Kenny Chesney word, or stepping into the O2 back in 2013 among a sea of cowboy boots and having an instant affinity with thousands of strangers.

So it didn’t matter that the first of hopefully many Bristol Nashville Nights was smaller than its now established London forefather. What mattered was that people who’d obviously been thirsty for something like this (and probably for Jack Daniels) came from all over the south-west and found a home.

The NashNights team saw a gap and jumped into it at the perfect, zeitgeist-grasping moment. That is why if they build it, we – and hundreds of others – will come. In London, these club nights playing country chart hits were enough to make people cross the river (unheard of!). Out here in the south-west some came from hours away because at least it was closer than Nashville.

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Country take over at the  Bristol Tunnels

The clubbers were more mixed in age than I’d expected but rather than being repelled by the new country which made up most of the night’s playlist, the older ladies showed us how it was done. This will be the night I learned it’s possible to line-dance to Chris Stapleton’s Tennessee Whiskey. “Just think of it as a waltz,” a silver-haired mover from Bedminster Down Line Dance Club informed, clearly unaware of my limited ballroom prowess.

It will also be the night I learned:
– You can work out most guys’ favourite country artist by their outfit (which makes a fun drinking game).
– Dolly Parton will get even the most diehard bro-country fan on the dance floor.
– Shania Twain will get even the most diehard pop-country fans off the dance floor (sorry, my country-virgin work mate requested that).
– There’s no such thing as “too much” when it comes to cowboy boot design.
– All songs about tequila are in fact true.

It was great meeting so many of you last night, especially guest DJs from British country duo Holloway Road (who – along with my new boots – are responsible for my feet punishing me this morning). And, of course, the woman I met in the toilet.

In all, I am happy and hopeful for the Bristol country scene I’ve been devouring since moving here in spring, from local bands like The Wildflowers to now being on the Nashville Nights event circuit. I am also happy and hopeful for the huge Bristol breakfast I’m about to devour.

CJ

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Last ones standing – us and the DJs @HollowayRoadMusic

(Top image thanks to GlastonburyFM DJ @karlosuk)