There’s so much going on in Country Music Week, we’ve just realised Judi & CJ are not able to be omnipresent as hoped. So, while the regular Brits in Boots were at the CMA Songwriters Series last night, guest-blogger Felicity made the sacrifice of going to see Little Big Town in Bristol. Here’s how she found it…

I’m obsessed with Pontoon and Girl Crush and it has been known for me to spend a one hour car journey shuffling cravenly between just those two songs on the stereo. I’ve never seen Little Big Town live before so last night’s show at Bristol’s Colston Hall struck me as awesome and even that’s an understatement.

Where do I start? With the four powerful and original voices which really could belong to headliner solo singers and yet work absolutely perfectly together as well? Talk about value for money. Their show really was like a condensed festival of artists.

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Jimi, Kimberly, Karen & Philip

At the risk of gushing, it was just ‘immaculate’. That’s the word that kept coming to me. Their timing, their harmonies, every note. It’s pretty amazing that next year will be the band’s 20th anniversary and all four are the original members.  They were so skilled that they even seemed to bring forth then conjure away their microphones without me noticing how.

To my delight they played Pontoon early on and, yes, I did freak out slightly at that point. It seemed essential to take a shot of Jimi Westbrook playing the song’s incredible hook on his mandolin. I was hearing it In Real Life.

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One thing that puzzled me was their cover of Oasis’s Wonderwall. It was a great cover but I wondered why they’d picked it. Then I looked around the audience and realised almost every person was singing along, even Young People. So perhaps it’s a way of engaging a British audience but they needn’t have worried about that because from the second they took to the stage they were electrifying.

Of course the mood changed when they spoke about Las Vegas. Forming a tight group together in the middle of the stage, Karen Fairchild talked about being wrecked by the emotional week and what country fans were going through back home. But they, like other artists over in the UK this week, were resolute that they would “take calm with us”. There was a huge amount of supportive cheering and clapping from the audience and the group then sang songs focused on love in this face of this hatred. It was extremely moving.

I have been thinking that if there was ever a group of people best equipped to help others cope with the senseless murders of this week it’s country music artists. People who strive to look openly at the pain and confusion in human experience but who keep a focus on love.

I can’t finish this post without talking about Girl Crush. It was, of course, the song we were waiting for. They tried to fool us that they were going to do something different with an unusual keyboard opening but as soon as the guitar waltz rhythm started everyone cheered.

In 2017, the universe has decided to truly bless me with Girl Crush gifts. In March, at Country 2 Country festival, I heard songwriter Liz Rose talk about how it started out in her kitchen. She then performed it herself. On a recent songwriting retreat the tutor named it as his current favourite song and when I told him about my obsession with it we hastily rehearsed it and performed it. And to round things off I’ve now heard it live. I mean, what next…

Felicity