BluesFest: Van Morrison and Robert Plant Live at London’s O2 Arena *****

A late addition to the bill and opening proceedings was Colin Macleod. Third on the bill and a five-piece band? Pretty impressive but this was BluesFest at a sold-out O2. Hailing from the Isle of Lewis, Macleod, whose Twitter profile describes him as “Musician. Crofter. Islander”, and his group of keyboard, bass, drums and lead guitar gave a superb opening 35-minute set which was a bonus and a treat. With a full wall of sound and a great style, familiar yet unfamiliar, Macleod ripped through a six-song set, with several tracks taken from his debut album Bloodlines. This was a great opportunity for Macleod to introduce … Continue reading BluesFest: Van Morrison and Robert Plant Live at London’s O2 Arena *****

Country Music Week – Drake White, Ryan Kinder, Tenille Townes Live in London ****

Camden’s Koko hosted this quality triple bill as part of Country Music Week.Opening was Canadian Tenille Townes with a great solo spot, including a cracking cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. She received a positive reaction from the audience. Next up was Alabaman Ryan … Continue reading Country Music Week – Drake White, Ryan Kinder, Tenille Townes Live in London ****

Country Music Week — Duane Eddy twangs the London Palladium ****

The London Palladium buzzed with anticipation as “Mr Country” Bob Harris introduced two of his favourite acts. Firstly, his protégé the Liverpudlian singer-songwriter Robert Vincent and later his good friend Duane Eddy. Vincent kicked off proceedings with a new song My Neighbour’s Ghost. You’ve got to have some confidence to debut at the Palladium with a new song. Vincent delivered a fine set backed by drums, double bass and electric guitar. “I was introduced to Duane’s music at an early age by my father. He listened to it a lot” commented Vincent. The beautiful So In Love saw his guitarist seemingly giving a nod to Eddy with some extra … Continue reading Country Music Week — Duane Eddy twangs the London Palladium ****

Wildwood Kin – Live at the Boileroom, Guildford ****

One of the hottest acts on the UK indie-folk-Americana scene, Wildwood Kin have been described by the BBC’s Bob Harris as “exquisite” and it’s easy to see why. A family affair from the West Country, Wildwood Kin are two sisters, Bethand Emillie Key and their cousin Meghann Loney. All three share vocal duties, taking turns as lead, and all harmonise. Beth plays the Irish bouzouki, Emillie the guitar and Meghann drums. Harmonies from siblings are often closer than others and Wildwood Kins’ echo The Secret Sisters from Alabama. Support act Ed Prosek added to the feeling of family when Wildwood Kin came out to harmonise with him for an unamplified and beautiful end to his set with the track Home, … Continue reading Wildwood Kin – Live at the Boileroom, Guildford ****

Martin Simpson – Live in Farncombe **** Surrey Advertiser & BOON

Playing two sets, each of over an hour, Martin Simpson showed why is widely regarded as one of the finest slide and acoustic guitar players of his generation. Known mainly as an English folk artist Simpson crosses into American folk, hardly surprising as he lived in the States for 15 years. He has an interesting style of adapting slide guitar into the traditional folk oeuvre. Beginning with an original composition St James’ Hospital, morphing into a cover of Blink Willie McTell and back again, Simpson showed his versatility and skill. This track epitomises his style of beautiful and effortless finger-picking guitar playing with added slide. With … Continue reading Martin Simpson – Live in Farncombe **** Surrey Advertiser & BOON

Luke Combs – Live in London Shepherds Bush – Live Review *****

Photo Credit: Clare Shekle Beer, girls, good times and pick-up trucks feature strongly in Luke Combs’ material. Backed by a superb five-piece band, he took London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire by storm with his vocal-heavy country rock. Combs has a winning formula, catchy songs, well-performed. The guy has a great voice – a big voice to match his stature. A larger than life character, he struts around the stage exuding warmth and charm. “Let’s go for a beer” he’s saying. His relaxed approach draws you in and the music keeps you there. This is good time music, apart from the odd sad song of course, … Continue reading Luke Combs – Live in London Shepherds Bush – Live Review *****

Ashley McBryde Live “You got fat and I got to open for Luke Combs in London” ****

Ashley McBryde played a fabulous solo set at a packed London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. With her quality and the audience reaction you’d be forgiven for thinking that she was headlining the show. “Luke told me to take an hour” she beamed and didn’t take the smile of her face for the whole time. Uptempo and downtempo numbers blended perfectly into a balanced set. Beginning with Rattlesnake Preacher she went for it. Her strong voice and personality carrying the song and grabbing the audience’s attention from the first note. Then Radioland, based on her upbringing in the Ozark mountains and how the local radio station fostered … Continue reading Ashley McBryde Live “You got fat and I got to open for Luke Combs in London” ****