Hidden away down a side street in York was a quaint community centre preparing to welcome Bristol-based artist Danny McMahon & one of Nashville's rising bands, Lockeland. After a pleasantly smooth 3 1/2 hour journey, we finally pulled up at the front of the venue. One of the great things that I love about travelling with one of the artists is that I get to be a part of the final preparation and sound check - sound engineers labelling cables, bar tenders busying themselves by washing glasses and event organisers setting up tables and chairs, putting up flags & fairy lights, turning a some-what simple square room into a warm, welcoming small venue. I also had the privilege of sitting quietly in the green room, fascinated by how two artists from opposite sides of the world could talk so passionately and eloquently about their experiences, common interests, encouraging and supporting each other.
The first shout out must go out to Steve and Kriss at Nashville Sessions for creating an incredible atmosphere, making us feel welcome and filling the room with an amazing audience.
Danny McMahon was first to the stage, opening with 'Everything', the first track from his latest EP 'Boys Cry Too' which he co-wrote in Nashville with Grammy nominated producer Billy Smiley. This was followed by the title track 'Boys Cry Too' and BCMA & UKCMA nominated Song of the Year 'When I See You', telling the heart-felt stories and meaning behind both songs - the crowd listened so intently that you could have heard a pin drop.
'Pushing My Hands Down' talks of Danny's journey into country music & went down a storm - by the end of the song, Danny had everyone singing the chorus and ended with a huge cheer. Danny has the wonderful ability to change his set at any given moment to read the audience. Danny performed two covers during his 45 minute set, 'You' by Chris Young and 'Tequila', both showcasing a different part of Danny's voice, from his low tones, to his powerful falsetto.
Danny finished his set with the famous combination of 'Move' and 'It Don't Work That Way' which got everyone clapping, singing along & even got people playing the tambourine. Danny was asked to perform for an encore which led to him playing a brand new song which may be recorded as a new single... but I won't tell you anymore than that ;).
Follow Danny here: http://www.facebook.com/dannymcmahonuk
Lockeland were next to take to the stage. If i'm completely honest, I was enjoying the set so much that I forgot I was meant to be reviewing it. The first thing that I was immediately drawn to were their harmonies that I would liken to those on a Lady Antebellum record. 'Blackberry Whiskey' was one of the stand out tracks of the evening. It has a very smooth and soulful track that was written after drinking a whole bottle of the famous Blackberry Whiskey from Whiskey Jam, Nashville. The band performed an absolutely beautiful song called 'Forever Dear' that was written a number of years ago, aimed at the girl they would finally spend the rest of their lives with. The song was dedicated to Mark's wife Amanda who I had the pleasure of sitting with and talking to. An absolutely wonderful woman and an incredible song that definitely bought a tear to my eye.
Unfortunately we weren't able to stay until the end of their set as Danny and I were travelling to Stansted Airport for a flight to .Sweden but from what I saw, these guys are definitely a band to watch for the future. Other notable songs to mention are their current single 'Drive' and 'Dust on the Bottle' .
You can follow their journey here: https://www.facebook.com/Lockelandmusic