What a fabulous festival Country On The Clyde was. We got invited to this event a year ago and this was our first venture up to Scotland as we usually go to the O2 in London, but we were really glad that we dragged ourselves out of bed at 2am to make the journey up to Glasgow.
It was a straight forward journey for us coming from Staffordshire and after a hearty Scottish breakfast we made our way to 'The Ferry' which was indeed a ferry in it's previous life. Moored on the edge of The Clyde in the heart of Glasgow it makes for a very unique music venue with a restaurant upstairs and ample seating downstairs. It is one of those venues that it doesn't matter where you sit you will have a good view of the artists on stage.
Opening for the weekend was a newcomer to us Zoee Byrne. I always like to hear new music and this is the beauty of an event like this. A mixture of crowd pulling artists mixed with new names to delight the very appreciative audience. I found Zoee's set very entertaining and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was accompanied on guitar and cajon by family members which I guess makes it very easy to get together to rehearse.
The next part of the show was a songwriters round. These are always very popular with the crowd as an artist gets to tell us about the background of the song. Running the round today was Simon James who is a firm favourite of ours. He bought another dimension to this particular round by bringing along Sam Coe to accompany him with some beautiful harmonies which just made this particular performance extra special. Joining Simon and Sam on stage was another newcomer to us, Elaine Lennon who has a reputation of being a stunning songwriter. The rumours are all true. Great songs sung with such sincerity. Elaine played a keyboard which made a very nice change making this songwriters round that little bit different. Kevin McGuire was the final artist in the songwriters slot. We have seen Kevin perform several times but never in a writers round setting so it was nice to hear that he writes all of his songs in his bedroom. Great songs, great voice, You will be pleased to know that Kevin is coming to Birmingham next month for another songwriters round at the Kitchen Garden Cafe.
Our next performer was Stevie O'Connor who is very quickly making quite a name for himself. A set full of energy that motivated the entire audience to want to get their feet tapping along.
Izzie Walsh and her fantastic band performed a stunning set. One of the tightest bands on the British country music scene and there is something very intriguing about Izzie herself. The way she delivers a song. So much light and shade in her performances. Mesmerizing. The bands rendition of Falsom Prison Blues was fantastic. I am not a lover of this song but the arrangement had been changed dramatically and to be honest Izzie Walsh owned it.
Closing day one are the fabulous 'Backwoods Creek' who performed at C2C in London on Friday, came to Glasgow to be with us Saturday and then drove all the way back to London for another C2C performance on the Sunday. I am out of breath just thinking about that, let alone doing it. Anyway, they rocked, and nearly blew the ferry out of the water. We have been lucky enough to see these boys regularly over the last year and they wow me every time. The chemistry between these friends is electric when they get on stage together and they genuinely have fun. Great musicianship and great songs these guys are definitely ones to watch.
What an incredible day day one had been. We left feeling elated.
Day two began with a lady we first met at C2C in London 2 years ago. Martha L Healy is the local girl with the beautiful voice singing her hangover cure and getting everyone in the mood for another day of stunning music. Again the bar was set high from the offset with Martha's mix of quality self written songs and a warm charismatic welcome.
A totally different songwriters round is on the cards for today. Gary Quinn leads the way with some of his best known songs and I must admit I was singing along to 'make sure the door don't hit you on your way out' Next up was a lady that was new to me. Emilia Quinn. Wow, what sass. She certainly grabbed my attention. The stomp box she used in her set made a huge difference to the total delivery of the songs she had written. April Jai is another new songwriter to me. After a slight technical issue, she was joined on stage by her other half Alex, who continued to accompany her on guitar until the end of yet another superb performance.
Lauren Housley is also a newcomer to me and you can tell from the outset that she is an experienced performer. Lauren has one of those voices that everybody dreams about having, especially me. Lauren and her guitarist Mark Lewis make performing together look effortless and comfortable. They did a lot of singing together round one mic.
Up next was local 'ish' girl to me Kira Mac. We have seen Kira several times, either rocking it out with her band or stripped back acoustic sets with a guitarist. For this set she accompanied herself with her guitar. Singing a mixture of songs from her EP and some new material Kira's voice is always stunning.
Rounding off this wonderful event was Katee Kross & The Amberjax. Having seen live streams from these guys I knew they would be good, but they were amazing. Breaking a string while rocking it out didn't even phase Katee who just took it in her stride. She writes a good range of songs from ballads to rockier numbers and makes performing look so easy. The perfect band to bring Country On The Clyde 2019 to an end as you always have to end on a high note.
Would I say the tickets were value for money? - Absolutely.
Would I recommend this event to my friends and family? - Without a doubt.
Would I recommend any of these artists to my festival organiser friends? - Absolutely ALL of them. We need to get the Scottish artists south of the border and the English artists north of the border.
All Photo's credited to Ian Morrall