Day 2 of SummerTyne started off at the Concourse stage for me at 1pm when Melanie Greggain and her band took to the stage. A large crowd had gathered round and more mooched around outside in the sun which had put in an appearance! Some of you may remember Mel as being one half of the Country duo Luke and Mel who did great things in the UK Country scene but out on her own now Mel is still writing fantastic songs and taking a laid back approach to gigging and it seems to be serving her well as she beamed throughout her performance, enjoying the moment. She performed her debut single as a solo artist Ready To Run and Save It which is on her EP. This proved popular amongst the crowd as people queued up to have their copy signed. Her guitarist was Simon James who is also a UK based Country singer and together they performed his single which Mel features on called Everything You Want. The cover songs she threw in went down a treat too, I particularly enjoyed her version of Tin Man and it was during this song that I noticed how beautiful and powerful her vocals are.
I then headed off to catch Tamsin, head of programming, introducing Kelly Willis who was another artist that I wasn’t overly familiar with before she was announced on the line up. I didn’t see all of her set but the songs I did see were stripped back and being in the beautiful Sage 2 it had a very intimate feel to it. The audience was silent and Kelly had them in the palm of her hand. I dashed outside then to catch the end of The Rosellys and Rachel Laven. The grass banking and tables and chairs were packed it was hard to find anywhere to perch or even just to stand and watch it was that busy! The crowd seemed to really enjoy The Rosellys who played again at 7pm on the concourse stage, many of the people who watched them outside came back for seconds!
Throughout the afternoon there was an eclectic mix of artists within the Country and Americana genre. There were classic country artists as well as Country Rock and Blues. I’d heard great things about Akansas Dave who played at 4pm on the Jumping Hot Stage, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about so I sat out with the crowds and watched his set. It was perfect for a warm Saturday afternoon and with it being a family friendly festival it was nice to see lots of children up at the front having a dance to his upbeat mix of Rock and Blues. After that most of the crowd made their way indoors to the concourse stage where Lonnie Donegan’s son Peter Donegan was just starting his set. The UK Americana Association was introducing that stage and they talked about Peter’s Dad being one of the trailblazers of the genre. The seats were filled and all up the two stairways people were stood trying to catch a glimpse and hear what Peter Donegan had to offer. Clearly influenced by his father his acoustic set still had his own stamp on it and I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the coming months.
Then I caught William The Conqueror, the Cornwall based trio have been busy this summer playing a few festivals, I only saw them last month at Black Deer. Wearing their shades they emerged and played songs from their album Proud Disturber of the Peace. I can’t get enough of this band at the moment and their music really goes down well at festivals. I headed inside as three different shows were about to start - another difficult choice for fans of the genre. In Sage 2 Natalie Merchant was taking to the stage whilst in Sage 1 I decided to check out Curse of Lono, The Mastersons and Steve Earle whilst in the SummerTyne Lounge at 7.30pm was Jade Bird who I heard great things about all day the next day! Curse of Lono were on first in Sage 1. It took them a while to address the crowd but when they did they said it was a more stripped back version of their usual set which is normally much rockier.
Then Steve Earle came on stage to introduce The Mastersons who are a Husband and Wife duo Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore, they are both in Steve Earle’s backing band The Dukes as well. I really enjoyed the Alt-Country duo, they kept the crowd laughing especially when Eleanor told the story of Don’t Tell Me To Smile. After not much of a break they returned on stage with the rest of The Dukes and the legend that is Steve Earle for a two hour set! He began with a few numbers off his latest album So You Wanna Be An Outlaw. He also talked about his family and sang a song he wrote with his niece Emily Earle who is also a singer-songwriter. There were a few highlights of the night for me, I particularly enjoyed the duet Steve did with Eleanor Whitmore when they sang I’m Still In Love With You which Steve recorded with Iris DeMent. I also really enjoyed Copperhead Road and The Galway Girl, the latter of which created a real party atmosphere within Sage 1. After the second day I have seen that this festival just gets better and better. There’s some top quality acts on the line up every night but they’re also keen to support local rising stars on the smaller stages.