Country 2 Country: Day 3!
Wow what a conclusion C2C 2018, day 3 was incredible. Sunday for me began at the indigo watching Irish Country singer Catherine McGrath. A large crowd had already formed and she talked about her upcoming album which is out in May and played songs from that as well as songs she’d already released like Talk of this Town which was a crowd favourite. I headed over to the town square to have a mooch around and caught a bit of Keywest’s set, it sounded great and again a decent size crowd had formed given that it was 10.30am on a Sunday morning. I then hurried to Ny-Lon to try and catch a bit of Ashley McBryde again but I only caught her last song but it was great to bump into her during the day and have a quick chat to her, she’s so lovely and down to earth! I stayed at Ny-Lon then as I bumped into some good friends from America who I met through C2C. That’s the great thing about Country Music and in particular C2C - we are a community, we become friends, we become a family. Next on in Ny-Lon was Jillian Jacqueline who played mostly new songs off her upcoming record which included Priorities and Tragic and a song I think she said was called Sad Girls which was co-written with Lori McKenna.
I then headed off to catch Ashley Campbell in the Indigo. I really like Ashley Campbell, she has some fantastic songs and boy can she play that Banjo. I’ve seen her play with her brother Shannon and Eli her fiddle player before and they work really well together. She used to do improv comedy and you can tell as some of her songs are hilarious! I can’t wait to listen to her CD when I get home. I then headed into the press room where Margo Price was just starting to talk to the media about the UK audiences. Midland followed and stay tuned for their press conference as it was very interesting, they are a cool bunch of guys. Danielle Bradberry and Lindsay Ell also chatted to us for quite some time before Little Big Town came in the room. They seemed really genuine as they walked in and greeted us all and were excited to be at C2C for a third time but as headliners this year.
Then it was time for the main arena show to begin. Midland kicked things off. In the press conference they were described as Neotraditional Country. They came out on stage and the first thing you notice is that they look great! They were surprised when journalists told them people had attended C2C dressed up as them but they do look great. The second thing you notice is their energy levels, regularly I saw them with one leg raised in the air, hopping around the stage as they played their respective instruments. The third thing you notice and perhaps the most important is that they sound amazing. Their harmonies are really great. A couple of highlights in their set for me was Burn Out, it’s one of my favourites off the record, co-written with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. Their Tom Petty cover went down really well with the crowd who sung along and of course they played their singles Make A Little and Drinkin Problem.
They handed over to Lindsay Ell on the Satellite stage. Lindsay is known as being a phenomenal guitarist and she showed this off towards the end of her three song set. She opened with her single Waiting On You which has been getting quite a bit of airplay over here. She finished her set with her latest single Criminal and at the end showed off her skills with a mini guitar solo. She’s incredible to watch and apparently paints all her own guitars too (fun fact I learnt today). Margo price was up next on the main stage. I’ll be honest I’ve struggled to get into Margo’s music in the lead up to C2C but seeing her live tonight I was converted. Again, like Midland she looked great in a white and red nudie suit and cowboy hat. She opened with Don’t Say It which was really good, the band were tight. The highlight of her set was when she invited Lukas Nelson up on stage to sing Learning To Lose which she sung with Willie Nelson on her record. It was a lovely duet. At the end of Cocaine Cowboy Margo left centre stage and appeared behind a drum kit which she proceeded to play - very well, might I add - for a good few minutes as the rest of the band played along in what felt like an organised jam session. Margo had a costume change and reappeared in a sparkly dress. She played what is becoming my favourite song of hers Hurtin’ (On The Bottle) and closed the set with a cover of Proud Mary.
Russel Dickerson followed on the satellite stage. He did three songs including his two singles Blue Tacoma and Yours. Yours is such a great song hence why it went to number 1 in the States. He was endearing in the way he spoke and the fans seemed to enjoy his music and his humble nature. Then it was time for a Country music legend, Emmylou Harris. She talked to the audience throughout the crowd telling them about different songs and when they were written, most were written before my time, back in the 70s but that just shoes the longevity of her career and that those songs have stood the test of time and are still relevant. She opened the show with one of her later releases Here I Am and then Orphan Girl. It was clear from the beginning that the quality of musicians in her band were second to none. A lot of the songs in her set had instrumental breaks which emphasised how good each musician was. She went on to play Michelangelo and Get Up John before which she talked about a C2C alumni Marty Stuart. She kept joking about her age and it made you think how incredible it is that this lady has been making music and touring for so long, (she’s in her 70s now) and she’s still coming over to play to a mostly full arena in the UK! She concluded with an absolute classic Country song that she wrote “back when she was a brunette” and that was Boulder to Birmingham.
Then we went to the polar opposite of artists in the Country music genre as Walker Hayes took to the satellite stage. He played his popular top ten single You Broke Up With Me. It was good to see the range of music within the genre and you have a whole host of artists sitting somewhere in between them two artists. It was now time for the final act of the weekend, Little Big Town. They opened with a cover of Rocket Man which was superb with their harmonies and the projection behind was pretty cool too. One of my favourites appeared early on in the set, Pontoon, it’s such a fun upbeat song and really got the crowd in the mood for a party. A nice video played behind the group during Happy People and the group showed off their beautiful vocal harmonies in the ballad When Someone Stops Loving You. As they went into Little White Church they began to make their way through the crowd towards the spotlight stage. When they arrived they acoustically played Bring It On Home before playing Sober and dedicating it to their friend who had passed away the day before. The whole arena held up their phone lights when Kimberley asked.
They remained on the satellite stage for a couple more songs, one of which was a tribute to Glen Campbell s they sang a version of Wichita Lineman, with beautiful harmonies accompanied by a piano. They made their way back to the main stage in time to begin I’m With The Band. The energy levels both from the band and from the audience were sky high throughout as all four members worked the stage. At the end of I’m With The Band they went into a cover of The Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends. One of the highlights for me was Better Man. The lights changed into a soft white as Karen began the Grammy Award Winning song written by Taylor Swift. The projection and lighting during Tornado helped to set the mood up for the song. The crowd raised their glasses when they recognised the familiar whistle of Day Drinking, another one of my absolute favourites. Unfortunately I knew the night was beginning to come to a close when they played Wish We Could Stay All Night and the crowd really did want them to stay all night and you could sense that throughout the next song as we all joined in with Karen and Kimberley on Girl Crush. They brought the set and the whole weekend to a close with Boondocks another crowd favourite.
The weekend as a whole was phenomenal but our coverage doesn’t stop there we have so many photos, videos and interviews to bring you so stay tuned for those in the coming days. Travel safely and see you all again next year!