This time I really mean it.
I know, I know; there have been countless times over the last few years that I’ve claimed the Country Music Takeover has succeeded. When both C2C Festival and Chris Country started back in 2013, and again when both The Shires and Ward Thomas became chart stars. Then, when Country Music Week launched, I was sure we had peaked in the UK’s bid to build our own Nashville.
But THIS time, I’m certain.
After work yesterday I donned my boots (the gold Topshop ankle ones, thanks for asking) and scooted to north London to welcome the newest arrival on the Country scene.
Triple Fret Records is an intimate new label dedicated to helping U.K. Country artists make it here and across the Atlantic. It sits under the also new ‘Triple Fret Entertainment’ and its founders were already card carrying members of the U.K. country family; Emily Haine who founded Lyric Magazine and Imogen Marshall of Off The Record podcast fame.
Last night they gathered a selection of industry folks, media and friends in the private upper room of chic bar The Dolls House to reveal the first four acts they’ll be working with, unveiled with sets of three songs each.
We might have thought we were in a Nashville listening room, but the bare brick loft style wall was interrupted by Islington Town Hall peaking through the window, and the drink samples were English flavoured Two Birds gin rather than bourbon.
Speaking to Imogen over chips after the music, she told me they’ve already been getting lots of submissions from artists and so there will be more announcements over the coming months, but – with just two of them on the truly independent team – they’re being selective for now, choosing only those they believe they can work well with.
Tonight’s roster was deliberately curated to showcase the breadth of U.K. country artists (and of country music in general) from folk-leaning to pop-country.
Folksy Austrian/British duo Two Ways Home started the live section with new music and teased an album coming in September, aptly named Break The Silence after their two year absence from putting music out.
Clara Bond took us to the pop-country side of the spectrum performing songs from her EP with vocals reminiscent of Danielle Bradbery. Hers was my favourite song title of the night ‘Does Your Girlfriend Know You’re Single?’; a sentiment which sounds like it should have been a Lee Ann Womack classic.
US/Israeli duo O&O [pictured at top] gave us some ‘dirtier’ Americana while the only artist I’d not heard of – Amy Kathryn – stood out with emotive songwriting (especially Start Again) and the voice to match.
Most of the acts alluded to Imogen and Emily helping to select their songs for the night (simply the ones they liked best) so it’ll be interesting to watch how this truly collaborative approach plays out. They are business women, but first and foremost they’re country fans so good luck to Triple Fret. And hats off to whichever Glee fan came up with the genius name.
(P.s. Please forgive the dodgy phone pics – will remember to pack the camera as well as my boots next time!)