Words and Photo’s by Bryony Jewell
Friday nights and country music are the perfect pair; great music, good times and the end of the working week – the stuff that dreams are made of.
Add to this the excitement of a line-up reveal and it becomes clear that Friday night of Country Music Week was going to be a hit.
Before Walker McGuire, Levi Hummon, Temecula Road and Logan Brill took to the stage, Bob Harris and Lindsay Ell announced the lineup for March’s C2C Festival at the O2 Arena.
Starting with a touching introduction from Bob Harris – praising the reaction of the “fantastic country music community” since Monday’s horrible news from Las Vegas – it was revealed that Kacey Musgraves, Midland, Kip Moore and Emmylou Harris will be among the many stars performing at the 2018 event. Now THAT’s an unmissable line up!
With a crowd still glowing from the news, Walker McGuire took the stage – their second show at Bush Hall since the start of CMW.
Opening with ‘Mysteries of the World’ the boys, who have a debut record coming out at the end of the year, delighted fans with the story behind the song explaining – “Bigfoot; that’s a mystery of the world right? We liked the idea so thought, let’s throw a girl in there!”
They charmed the audiences approval again when Jordan explained how “It doesn’t matter if you grew up on folk music like Jonny or country like myself, but if you don’t like rock and roll, then you can’t be friends with us!”
The duo seemed more relaxed during their set this time round and have clearly been enjoying themselves. Their smiles matched those in the audience throughout their version of ‘When It Rains It Pours’.
Up next was Levi Hummon, who had the audience swooning as soon as he announced his guitar player was in fact his dad – who happened to be Grammy award winning song-writer Marcus Hummon.
The two sang an emotional rendition of ‘Bless the Broken Road’, which Marcus co-wrote in the 1990s. Their performance was quite simply, beautiful.
When Levi performed ‘Love You Hate You Miss You” the crowd knew every word and clearly enjoyed every minute.
Levi also marvelled at the warm welcome he’s had since arriving in the UK saying, “it’s incredible how you’ve welcomed us! I’ve played two songs and it’s like I’m family already”.
Trio Temecula Road wowed the audience with their intricate harmonies; especially on new song ‘Everything Without You’ which gave youngest member Maddie the chance to show off her soulful sound.
It was sweet to see a band so clearly enjoying themselves, even joking around trying to set up single Dawson Anderson.
The girls – sisters Emma and Maddie – performed a beautiful cover of Desperado which highlighted the strength of their individual voices as well as the groups sound. However the showstopper of the night was the mashup of 2016’s best country songs. The audience was mesmerised by this and singing along as we went down country memory lane.
Closing the show was Logan Brill, whose powerful vocals on opening song ‘Shuteye’ made sure the audience was pay attention from the first note.
Followed by ‘Worlds Still Round’ it became clear that Logan had a way of making a crowd love her. By the incredible ‘Jolene’ cover everybody was singing and dancing along.
In a more thoughtful moment Logan took the time to dedicate her upcoming new song to those lost in the Las Vegas and Manchester Arena attacks saying “music is the ultimate connector”.
Bush Hall is a magical venue and the perfect place to listen to country music. Walker McGuire summed CMW up perfectly when they said “British audiences actually listen and pay attention. It’s been real refreshing”. So long as you keep playing, we’ll certainly keep on being there to listen.