Deep in the heart of Bristol City Centre, a quiet, intimate room in the back end of The Bristol Fringe Pub was being prepared to welcome 6 British Country Artists to the stage. The room was jam packed - Danny and I had to sit on the floor as there were no seats available.
First to the stage was an artist, was Bob Fitzgerald, a brand new artist to the country music scene who has been recording his debut EP at Puzzle Maker Studios. Bob was joined on stage with an acoustic guitarist & bass player, both of which joined in with vocal harmonies. Bob was not afraid to jump straight into his first track 'One of these nights' & it was evident from the beginning that Bob was born to be on the stage - passionate, energetic and talented. This song was followed by 'Run' and 'She'll Do'. All songs had their own blend of traditional country roots and some rock & pop influence that I have no doubt will be very popular with the British public once they are released.
Bob finished on 'Running from the Rain'. Bob tells us that this song simplistically speaks about running away from the bad things in life & going for what you truly believe in and want. This song is going to be released as the single on his debut record and is due for release in February 2020. Definitely one to watch!
Second to the stage was Becky Lawrence, a very talented young lady who I hadn't seen perform in over a year, so was really happy to see back on the stage. Becky began her set with a cover of Maddie and Tae's 'Girl in a Country Song' - an upbeat number showcasing Becky's ability to powerfully reach the big notes. This was followed by 'That Guy', an original which was co-written with Danny McMahon and can be found on her EP 'Eyes of the Lonely' which you should definitely take the time to listen to.
A medley of Jolene & In the Dark was followed by another original 'Wasted On You' which Becky tells us is due for release at the end of the year. The song is a Country Ballad which I personally feel are the songs that Becky showcases best. A blend of powerful, emotive vocals and lyrical content. An upbeat Keith Urban number finished the set and got everyone dancing in their chairs. I really hope to see Becky performing more originals in the future & showcasing her wonderful talent.
Next up was #thenewguy, Adam Woodhouse. It was great to see artists on the lineup that I had personally never heard of before. He began his set with an original called 'The Sickness' which had a very bluesy vibe. His second song had a very american, traditional country influence and the audience are told that this song was written about his mental family. He did not give us the name of this song however, for all those that were in the room I think we all know which one I am talking about. I really enjoyed this song for a couple of reasons: firstly, there are not many songs that are quite frankly straight to the point which made it quite funny but hidden beneath the lyrical content that made us all laugh, were some very strong lyrics that really hit home for me - 'you only get one shot at life...so get it right'.
Adam finished on two songs that he described went hand in hand. The first, 'Trouble', about a women that he used to know and second, 'Another Night', about a women that he knows now. He made sure to point out that these were definitely written about different women but I loved the contrast of the two songs. The first was very feisty and upbeat followed by the second which was more of a Country Ballad with a glorious acoustic guitar instrumental.
Zoe Newton was next to the stage and what a talent. She began with 'No Fun' which reminded me of the old Taylor Swift country music that we all know and love. This was followed by 'I Can't Breathe', a song written from the perspective post-relationship where you aren't angry anymore, just sad. This song was beautifully heartfelt and Soulful.
My favourite song of the entire set had to have been 'Outgrow', written from Zoe's personal experiences of moving through life at different a different pace and losing friends that she didn't think that she would lose when she moved to Bristol from her hometown. An absolutely brilliantly song that has the potential to do incredibly well. For me, Zoe's set was one of the best of the evening and I definitely look forward to seeing her progress as she begins recording and releasing her new music.
The penultimate artist on stage was Danny McMahon. Danny bought energy to the stage from the off with 'Everything', the first track from his latest EP 'Boys Cry Too'. Next up, 'Pushing My Hands Down', a very authentic and honest song about Danny's journey into country music. This song saw the evenings first bit of audience participation with everyone singing the chorus by the end of the song and it didn't stop there. Danny's final song 'It Don't Work That Way' had everyone clapping and echoing Danny's vocals.
Last, but not least, Taynee Lord & The Crookes. Firstly, these guys have to be commended on the amazing job they did in organising the entire evening. It is not easy to organise an event, let alone get so many people in the room and have it run as smoothly as it did.
The band opened the set with groove and attitude & immediately had everyone bobbing up and down in their seats. Notable mentions in the set included 'Like the Midnight' to which they have recently released a music video for on YouTube. It has a wonderful Honky-Tonk influenced guitar riff and drum beat that I could imagine you'd hear on the streets of Broadway, Nashville. 'I Know' was a very good Country Ballad about a girl who loves a guy who doesn't love her back because he's in love with someone else. I liked the way Taynee was able to relay the emotion of this song to the audience.
Taynee performed a cover of 'The Feels' by Maren Morris & 'Crazy Dreams' by Carrie Underwood before finishing on what I felt was the best song of the set 'Blue Jeans'. I really love everyone about this song, from the vocal presentation, to the way the band played.
Overall, what a fabulous evening showcasing some of the best British Country Music coming out of Bristol & the South West and I have no doubt that this evening will continue to grow.