As the girlfriend of an artist, you get used to turning up to gigs hours early for sound check, sitting in the corner whilst
the world passes you by… Sound engineers run around with cables and amps whilst artist tune up and get plugged,
making sure their instruments make the perfect sound. Sometimes it can be quite an uncomfortable feeling, but you
can always be assured to be greeted by the friendly faces of the organisers at the country music showcase, Swindon.
First up was the Americana/folk singer-songwriter from Gloucester Molly-Anne. Molly has an exquisite set up including
an acoustic guitar and a harmonica whilst accompanied by her father on probably the coolest arrangement of a Cajon
that I have ever seen. Molly started with the title track of her first EP ‘Glow’. Molly’s music brings a modern twist to the
Americana genre which comes with the old country and western sounds of the harmonica. It is a specialist feature of
Molly-Anne’s performance that I haven’t seen many artists accomplish. Many of Molly’s songs are inspired by her
travels in California. When she plays live, you really are made aware of the beauty of her vocals that are not always
captured on a recording.
Molly played 'Polperro' followed by 'Bright Eyes' which both showcase her talent as a guitarist as well as a singer-
songwriter. Both are very melodic songs and 'Polperro' hushed everyone to silence. This was followed by a cover of
‘Jolene’. Molly didn’t stray from the roots of the song but made it her own – definitely one of the best versions of this
cover I’ve ever heard.
Molly finished her set with her brand new song ‘Talkin’ Bout Something’ that is very groovy. Her brand new single is available for pre-order on the 5th November!!
‘Amazing Set’ – Danny McMahon
Danny began his set with the upbeat ‘Broken Hearted’ which immediately got people on their feet and dancing. The
great thing about this showcase is that many of the attendees go to the local line dancing classes and aren’t afraid to
get involved which only provides a great and fun environment. The brand new no. 1 single ‘When I See You’ really
showcases the round tones in Danny’s voice. Credit must be given to Dan Evans for writing such a heartfelt song that
people can relate to and to Danny for portraying its true meaning in such a beautiful way.
Danny then went on to sing Momentarily, the title track of his second EP. Danny explains that country music to him is
the essence of telling peoples stories and wanted to respect the old man Jimmy who he used to sing to in an old
people’s home when he was younger. With Remembrance Sunday coming up next week it was only right to respect all
those who fought in the war and as Danny sung this song you could have heard a pin drop.
Danny finished his song on three upbeat tracks of his – 'Move', 'Everything', and 'It don’t work that way'. Danny has the
incredibly ability of performing heartfelt songs as well as the upbeat songs that gets everyone on their feet. It is clear to
see why the young man has been nominated for 4 award this year, 2 of which herald to his vocal ability.
‘Bloody Fantastic’ – Bar Staff
‘He just has that voice you can listen to so easily…Sounds just like the record’ - Jessie (Hengistbury)
Nia Nicholls started her set with a cover of Tim Mcgraws ‘Just to see you smile’ which she explains was one of the first
songs she heard when introduced to country music as a young girl. Her innocent vocals remind you of a combination
of Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat and she has such a loveable personality on stage. The next few songs are all
originals and really tap into Nia’s talent as a singer-songwriter… My personal favourite original of the set was ‘We Both
Know’. Nia explains that the song is all about realising who your true friends are and that songwriting allows you to air
your frustrations on paper because people will relate and she couldn’t be more right.
Nia performed a brilliant cover of Viva La Vida by Coldplay and whilst it may not be a country song, this was the first
that she learnt to play on guitar and her vocals naturally gave it a little country spin.
For only 18 years of age, Nia holds each note of any song impeccably. She has an incredibly bright future ahead of her
and I would personally recommend seeing her live if you get the chance.
As soon as this duo got up on stage I was fascinated by the number of instruments. They started with a banjo and two
vocals with beautiful harmonies. I was particularly impressed by the fiddle/banjo instrumental. I’ve not seen an
arrangement like they had live before and it was great. I absolutely loved that every song used different instruments
from the fiddle, to a Cajon and lap steal, to a banjo. This allowed each song to sound wholesome and different.
'Tired of playing Fiddle' was a song sung with pure conviction by the pair. It was evident that in every song they sung,
they believed every word. They are both wonderful musicians however I think Jessie potentially has one of the best
female vocals in the UK scene to date.
The pair ended on an Acapella version of 'Mercedes Benz' by Janis Joplin which was so cool!! These guys have a
single launch coming up soon and I thoroughly recommend you attend if you can.
The first half of the showcase ended with a cover of Gary Perkins ‘Thank You’ as a tribute to him. Our thoughts and
prayers are with Gary and his family during this tough time.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay until the end but I have no doubt that the remaining artists were as good as the
ones I was fortunate enough to see.
The next country music showcase is scheduled for Sunday 2nd December.