We arrived at about 11:30 to glorious sunshine. Tom the sound engineer was digging the PA and electric cables into the soft lawn of the restaurant garden. He has been supporting Rango's Country Club from the very first event with sound and lighting and has become a British country music fan which is fantastic.
Set up in the corner of the back garden of Rango's is a custom made wooden stage with a roof. Set in front were wooden picnic benches and a barbeque provided by the restaurant was towards the back.
With pre-festival traffic delaying Finola the artists were swapped around so the first artist to take to the stage was Samantha Lloyd. We haven't seen Samantha perform for a long time so it was lovely to hear her familiar songs again with a couple of new ones thrown in for good measure, it was a very enjoyable set. I hope we don't have to wait too long before we catch up with her on a stage somewhere soon.
Having only met Finola the month before I was looking forward to hearing her lovely songs again. She was our next artist of the afternoon and apart from being hounded by a wasp on stage she delivered another great performance before she had to leave for another gig in Manchester that evening. With Finola's songs you can expect the unexpected. What you think is a ballad all of a sudden becomes uptempo and sassy.
One of our favourites Simon Clulo took to the stage mid afternoon. We have known Simon for about 2 years and his songs are fantastic and very familiar as I reviewed his wonderful 'All About Us' EP in the week preceding the event. He has a fabulous voice and sings with passion. It's always a pleasure to see him perform.
Hosts Cinder Hill took to the stage next. Identical twins Hayley and Katie have been hosting the Country Club since September 2018 and this is the second time this summer that they have decided to hold the event in the garden as a festival and it seems really popular. Cinder Hill are always a pleasure to listen too and I love their brand of country with their close sibling harmonies. They are really special.
Next to take to the stage was Stevie O'Connor. I enjoyed his set too. Playing guitar and banjo and a bass drum with a pedal Stevie's enthusiastic delivery of a song is always a crowd pleaser. It was nice to see him sing a Chris Stapleton song with Simon Clulo and also nice that he got singer/songwriter Lauren Jane up alongside Katie Ingram from Belles and Gals when he needed some backing singers and dancers for a song.
Emily Lockett seems to be in demand on the UK country scene this year. She seems to pop up everywhere which is fantastic for her. You can hear and see where her musical influences lie. She is our equivalent to Taylor Swift. We have seen her perform on quite a few occasions now and she has really grown as a performer in the last 18 months. It is always a pleasure to catch a performance from her.
Headlining this wonderful event were Gareth Nugent and his band. Don't be lulled into thinking these boys are quiet and shy because they don't know anyone yet. Hold onto your seats when you see them perform. Outstanding musicians. Outstanding singer. Outstanding songwriter. They have literally burst onto the UK country music scene and they are going to take it by storm.
Look out for them because they are not to be missed.
My only regret for the day was I didn't pack my sun block as I burn really easily unfortunately. Rain was forecast but it never quite happened. I think we had 6 drops.
I always love these events at Rango's and this one was no exception. The next Country Club is Saturday 21st September.
All photos credited to Ian Morrall