Country Music Week (which, combined with national tours of so many acts, seemed to last all month) took over London concert venues for its second year. Our sleep-deprived, bourbon-coated voices are subsequently gravelly enough to brave a Chris Stapleton song at karaoke.
A lot happened. The Country 2 Country 2019 festival lineup was announced (twice, actually) with very little complaints. Surprise guest performances included Catherine McGrath. As for our team; CJ tried her first (and last) ever pickleback, Laura got her boyfriend to stop even pretending to protest at coming along to country gigs, and Becky finally moved to London so she no longer has to shoot off pre-encore for the last train.
Throughout the week there were so many simultaneous events that country fan squads, including our’s had to divide to conquer. An upside of going to gigs solo – apart from meeting new musical soulmates – is that there’s all the more time to shamelessly eavesdrop on fellow country fans…
“We’ve got a real cowboy!”
– Member of the One Big Country Family team after Dustin Lynch was announced in the C2C 2019 lineup. (There’s no repeating what was said after Brett Eldredge was announced, but one lovely lady is very excited).
“I’ve just got to put out a small disclaimer that the line in the song about cutting down the trees is strictly metaphorical.”
– Canadian Singer/Songwriter Tenille Townes about her song Where You Are.
“It takes 10 years to become an overnight success. It took me 15.”
– Songwriter Chris DeStefano who has penned hits for Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Dan and Shay and more.
“Deer season is bigger than Christmas in my family.”
– Kassi Ashton, whose one-liners could probably fill a blogpost of their own.
“Why do I bother I wear mascara to country shows?”
– Fan at the Songwriters Series welling up as Tenille Townes explains the true story which inspired her song Jersey on the Wall.
“Well if Ashley Campbell can’t find someone, I may as well cancel my match.com subscription right now.”
– CJ panic texting Judi after Ashley Campbell explains how most internet dates she has are terrible.
“It takes a very secure artist to bring a support act with such a good voice on tour with them.”
– Tall bloke at the Drake White show who had never heard support act Ryan Kinder sing before.
“I thought, ‘no one’s gonna f*ing show up to hear me play’.”
– Chase Rice at his sold-out Bush Hall show (before realising there was a youngster in the audience and telling him not to repeat that word).
I’ve gone around Laura’s House… [blank faces] That just mean’s going around your elbow to get to your thumb. [Still blank faces.]
– Lainey Wilson during a meet and greet, revealing the Louisiana equivalent of “taking the long way around”.First time U.K. performer Lainey Wilson played Bush Hall and a daytime hub at The Borderline
“[In music] no matter how many times you get the word ‘no’, keep pushing till you hear the word yes.”
– Jimmie Allen, Best Shot singer who’s signed to Broken Bow Records.
“Doesn’t going to the toilet in here make you feel like you’re Alice in Wonderland?”
– Blue shirt bloke who’d just had his first experience of the trippy (but very Instgrammable) corridor leading to the Borderline loos.
“We’re about to get all kinds of swampy in here.”
– Fairground Saints, before performing their last song of their Daytime Hub set, Church.
“I saw this girl parallel parking back in college. She backed into a spot and thought ‘yep, there’s my wife’.”
– Russell Dickerson explaining the opening line to his crowd pleaser That’s My Girl can be taken literally.
“Is it too early for Pornstar Martinis?”
– Couple to barman at the daytime hub, just after 12:00 (before ordering two porn star martinis).
“So, you live near the O2… have you got a spare room?”
– Chris Country Radio’s Chris Stevens, reading all our minds and thinking ahead to C2C festival when interviewing London-based singer Jake Morrell.
“This next song is called C’est La Vie which is French. Translated into Irish it just means ‘Feck It’.”
– Andy Kavanagh, lead singer of Irish folk-rock band Keywest.
“Country music and Jack Daniels. That’s all you need, innit?”
– Very happy man in the Zac Brown Band t-shirt who was clearly living out this theory.
“I’m new to this hat game so I can’t figure out how to put guitar on with the hat on.”
– Sarah Darling, who has spent the summer in the U.K. penning her next album, while taking off her chic hat to get her guitar back on.
“You may not be aware that Cassadee Pope knocked Gangnam Style off the number one spot…”
– Chris Country’s Chris Stevens giving us some essential background info after Cassadee Pope’s Sunday set.
“Can I be quoted in your Brits in Boots thing this year?”
– Drunk but charming Scotsman who accosted CJ by the bar.
Of course, the best things we’ll hear at Country Music Week will always be the songs. For 2018, our song of the week is (probably) Lainey Wilson‘s Two Story House. That said, special mentions for Ashley Campbell’s Looks Like Time, Drake White Story, Tenille Townes’ Jersey on the Wall, Chris DeStefano’s take on From the Ground Up and oldie but goodie Darius Rucker’s This.
Brits in Boots
P.S. Any typos are sponsored by being too old for this many nights out in a row.