I thought I’d bring you another quick update from the Americana Festival at The Sage Gateshead. I’ve just snuck out as Jim Lauderdale is finishing his set at Sage 2. What a magnificent Songwriter he is and he commands the room perfectly. He’s going to be hosting a writers round at 10.45pm. My day started off on a boat… Yes, it was a really unique experience which saw us set sail at 10.30am down the Tyne whilst Ashley Campbell and her band entertained us for the first half an hour followed by Massy Ferguson for half an hour, we then had around a half hour break as we reached the mouth of the river and turned around before Ashley began a second set and then Massy brought the cruise to a close. There were a few technical hitches to begin with but the team from The Sage along with crew on the boat were quick to solve the problem.
For anyone who saw Ashley last night her set was fairly similar, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and there’s a number of songs that are fast becoming my favourites. For example I’ve always thought Remembering was a beautiful song and it will always be one of my favourites but Good For You has become my favourite after this weekend. Lyrically the song is so well written, it definitely has that Nashville style of writing where everything leads up to that pay off line. Her version of The Highwayman which is being released on Thursday is great too and I really look forward to hearing the studio version next week. Ashley and her band found themselves taking it in turns to steer the boat as we reached the mouth of the river and her brother Shannon turned the boat around. Not just talented musicians it seems! I heard many people say how they could have listened to Massy Ferguson all day as well and I would agree. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!
I made a quick dash from where the boat had docked up to the Sage where Danni Nicholls followed by Angaleena Presley were soon to take to the stage. I’d not heard of Danni before but she was good, had some good lyrics in her songs and nice clean vocals, there was almost a soulful edge to it. She engaged with the audience and had them singing along and had them laughing which actually there’s been a lot of humour this weekend from the artists but that was nothing compared to the fits of laughter Angaleena Presley had us in throughout her set. Of course she’s known for her witty lyrics, she’s often very outspoken about the music industry, particularly Country radio and the lack of female artists in rotation but I found her set refreshing and inspiring. She was completely herself, honest and funny and when she talked about her songs and the stories behind them there was a real mix of emotions and I find the whole “women in country music and country radio” topic fascinating and infuriating at the same time. If you know me, you’ll know that I wrote my dissertation for Uni on Controversy in Country music and this was a topic I discussed within that and to hear Angaleena’s comments a year on from me writing that was very interesting to me and like I said it’s inspiring that we have people like Angaleena in Country music who aren’t afraid to speak out and do it in the best way possible… through their music!
Getting back on topic! Her set was filled with songs of her own, some off her new record like Wrangled and Dreams Don’t Come True which is one of my favourites along with Bless My Heart, and some Pistol Annies numbers like Lemon Drop which she sung to close the show. She spent quite a long time after her set talking to fans, taking photos and signing their merchandise. She’ll be back at the sage in October for the CMA Songwriters Series which is going to be a fantastic evening especially in this venue, the acoustic’s are amazing! Anyway only one more day left of this fantastic festival!