Country Music 2019: In Review – Sally’s Picks
2019 was yet another fantastic year for Country Music, well on the whole it was! Read on to discover what hit my top spots this year – Sally.
Album of the Year
Austin Jenckes – If You Grew Up Like I Did
Released in May, this debut album seriously hits the right notes for me. The story telling and expression throughout all of the tracks is exactly what Country Music is all about for me. And he didn’t disappoint with his soulful Sunday evening set on The Front Porch at this year’s Long Road Festival. I’d be keen to see more of this man on our shores!
Song of the Year
I struggled to narrow this down to just one song, so instead I have three.
Steel Woods – Old News
The title track from their album, also released this year is a slow serene number that showcases the musical talent from this group. (I was also blown away by seeing them at The Long Road this year, another to add to my ‘must come back’ list!)
Jake Owen – Down to the Honkytonk
For me this track has the ability to get anybody up and going; and for that I absolutely love it. It’s a great party track with a repetitive chorus that will have you singing along in no time. I dare you to try and not join in!
Maddie & Tae – Bathroom Floor
Anyone that knows me will know that I’m not normally one for female country singers (I just like the drawl of a male vocal!) but this duo is always one of my favourites to go too. And this song from their EP Everywhere I’m Goin’ reminds me why I love them so much. Seamless harmonies, a beat that will make your toes tap and a message that will empower any woman listening.
Favourite Live Show
The TV show Nashville was probably the first insight into Country Music that I had, and having seen the tour a couple of years ago I was excited to go along and see Charles Esten. A special gig for me anyway (my non country loving husband came along too!) Chip gave more than I could have ever asked for. Unsure of what his show would be like, he blew me away. He had energy like a Duracell bunny and he just kept giving and giving more and more. He is truly deserving of a main stage spot on the C2C lineup this year, that’s for sure.
Best UK Festival
The Long Road
In just its second year The Long Road has filled a gap that I don’t think people even knew was there! Baylen Leonard and his team are doing an absolute stellar job of ensuring there is something on the bill for everyone, and having made improvements this year I think it just goes to show they are up for listening to their guests. This festival always holds a special place in my heart as it’s where I met my ‘one big country family’ and for that I’ll forever be grateful. Roll on the line up for next year, I can’t wait to see who they’ve pulled in.
Best Newly Discovered Artist
I discovered Lainey Wilson on the Sunday morning of C2C where she gave a pumped performance on the O2 Indigo stage. I was a little delicate after enjoying the after parties but she was just what I needed to get my day going. Lucky enough to see her again at The Long Road festival, this girl has sass coming out of her pores and I have her tipped to go a long way. If you haven’t yet listened to her make sure you check out Middle Finger (the backstory of her Grandma telling her to keep good friends with said finger just makes it!)
Most Memorable Moment
Drake White Firestarter Family Gathering
This year was very special at C2C as I was blessed to be involved in the very first UK Firestarter Family get together. For those that don’t know, this is the fan club for the amazing Drake White. It was an incredible moment as Drake also came along to join his fans (something he is well known for) and to be alongside likeminded people that have a common love for this mans music was amazing.
I must also mention here something that came a close second – was seeing Keith Urban up on stage with Brad Paisley. There had been some speculation running up to the Brad gig that Keith might have turn up as he was in London that night, but you never take anything for face value. But when he came on stage it was a magic moment in the 02! Something I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to witness again; the duelling guitarists was phenomenal!
Chris Stapleton at Country 2 Country London
It was my first C2C this year and it was a great one. But on reflection I have to be honest in that I was a little disappointed with the performance of Chris Stapleton. He was the last spot on Sunday in London, for me this should have been a huge blow out party spot (having had Drake White and his enthusiasm on stage earlier in the night I think the bar had been set) and unfortunately I don’t think Chris delivered. Musically of course he’s immense, but he had no crowd interaction and instead, very lovingly spent the whole evening staring at his wife, which is great and all, but he was on stage at the O2 Arena in London in front of thousands of fans; I felt like he’d forgotten we were there! Having said that, should he come back over I shall be the first in the queue for tickets.
Hope for 2020…
Having already mentioned I’m a huge Drake White fan and just a few months ago he had a huge health issue which left him unable to even walk. Thankfully, and miraculously, he is up on his feet and even recording music again. So my hope, and wish, and prayer (and keeping everything crossed!) is that he not only continues his recovery but that we are able to see him touring again soon.