Every year around mid-July I now head on up to the Sage in Gateshead for a weekend of Americana and Country Music. The thing I love most about this festival is the people, the staff at the Sage are so friendly and accommodating which makes it a really nice atmosphere for fans, press and artists alike! The sound is excellent, the building is so well designed and the engineers are great at their jobs making it my favourite venue in the Country to hear live music! But let's get down to business shall we, who's on this year and why should you attend?
I myself lean more towards the Country than Americana so one show that stood out to me this year was the Strictly Country show featuring The Wandering Hearts, Lauren Alaina and Catherine McGrath. Here we have a nice mix of US and Homegrown talent. The Wandering Hearts are no strangers to the Sage and it's good to see them back at SummerTyne once again this year. Now a trio the band who are signed to Decca have just got back from playing and recording Stateside and are eager to embark on their UK tour. Catherine McGrath also from the UK has been building her fanbase for the past three or so years. She writes with some of the top writers in Nashville such as Liz Rose and her debut album, released last year, proved a big hit amongst the UK Country supporters. I am most looking forward to seeing Lauren Alaina one of CMT's Next Women of Country. She's currently touring with Jason Aldean but has also opened for Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson and Luke Bryan to name a few. She was Runner Up in the 10th season of American Idol and since then has released a number of EPs and Singles, one of which, Road Less Travelled, went to number 1 on the Country Airplay charts.
Another favourite crossing the pond once again for SummerTyne is Sarah Darling. Last year we saw her wow audiences as she opened up for Striking Matches and Sam Palladio in Sage One. This year she is headlining her own show on Sunday afternoon. Her latest album Wonderland has just dropped and charted well here in the UK. An honorary brit, Sarah is spending most of her summer here in the UK playing a number of festivals so there is no risk of jet lag affecting her performance she is quite used to that by now! You'll definitely hear some of her fan favourite singles from previous albums mixed in with this latest material. She is supported by Twinnie (an actual brit) who has recently signed to BMG.
Also on the bill on Sunday is Kiefer Sutherland, who has had a number of professions over the years, most notably an actor in films such as The Lost Boys, A Few Good Men and A Time to Kill and TV Series 24. He’s been a competitive cowboy and set up his own record label. In 2016 he released his debut album Down In A Hole which received a relatively good response from critics. Since then he has been building momentum with various festival appearances and earlier this year released his sophomore album Reckless and Me. He's a man with many talents!
Opening SummerTyne this year though is four time Grammy award winning Canadian K. D. Lang! Regulars at SummerTyne will tell you of their highlights throughout the years and K.D. Lang's performance back in 2008 is almost always mentioned! This performance is part of the 25th Anniversary tour which celebrates 25 years since the release of her breakthrough album Ingenue. This is a treat for Americana fans and an incentive to book an afternoon off work and get to the festival early to catch this fantastic performance from one of the World's greats!
Don't forget, there's so much going on, great food, local ales, retail and free stages throughout the three days so pop along to the Sage at any point during the 19th, 20th and 21st July to catch everything from the very best to the up and comers of the genre!