Black Deer Festival

Black Deer Festival – Meet ‘Motel Sundown’ – One of the Winners of The Black Deer Emerging Competition – Review

Motel Sundown are one of four artists that won an opportunity to play at this years Black Deer Festival via their Black Deer Emerging Competition where fans had to vote for their favourite act to play the festival.

These competitions are a great idea as it prompts festival goers and fans of the genre to check out artists that they may not necessarily have discovered before.

Motel Sundown are a vocal harmony group from Liverpool, UK. The Singer/Songwriters formed in 2018. Since 2018 they’ve released three singles together: Chicago, Light of My Life and Before Midnight. In 2022 they released their debut album If You Were Listening.

Motel Sundown are a wonderful find! I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard of them before this. Playing their most recent album, If You Were Listening (which we most certainly are), we were taken in from the intro of the first track Brake Lights. The track captures a strong country sound with great use of instrumentation which is instantly an ear catcher. The vocals are flawless and melodious.

Motel Sundown have such a beautiful sound that brings in elements of Abba, Little Big Town and Aimee Mann. Whilst the group draw in elements of other artists in our ears, they also have a strong individuality about them! Their traditional country tones and perfect vocal harmonies are sublime and the overall production of this album is on point.

Much like the above mentioned groups Little Big Town and Abba, the group share vocals equally across the album, each taking the lead at one point so not one taking the lead the majority of the time. That lack of equality in groups or duo’s always frustrates me so it’s nice that they share the lead. It also makes the music a lot more interesting because you have something different on each track. Mexico for example with the vocals from Rob Johnson is a really nice, easy listening track and it’s songs like this that make it hard to believe that this group have only been together since 2018 and aren’t already one the front runners of the UK Country and Americana scene. However, I don’t think that it will be long until they are!

It’s hard to pick out favourites at this point as is still early for us and we intend to have a lot more time with this album. It must be noted though, that there hasn’t been a song that I have wanted to skip and each track is of high quality. That being said, we have been captivated by the title track as it really showcases the vocals of Naomi Campbell (no not that one) and Karen Turley and Wild Atlantic Way has us addicted to its folky, Americana stylings and we can’t stop tapping to it’s infectious beat.

I have mentioned the use of instruments already but I really do think that it’s so important to make music more authentic and this band are definitely worthy of that word! We love traditional instruments in music, it just brings a much better sound and shows the overall efforts and talent of an artist. From ballads to upbeat, honky tonk sounding tunes, each track on this album is wonderfully detailed sonically and lyrically and it is just such a joy to listen to. I feel so happy to have found them, so thanks Black Deer.

Live, this group will undoubtedly be show stoppers and definitely ones to remember. I hope they come fully kitted with a good use of instruments although, their vocals are good enough instruments to deliver a heck of a show anyway.

If you are at Black Deer Festival then we highly recommend checking them out! We want to know all about it too so please share your thoughts!

Check out their music here

Black Deer Festival takes place June 16th-18th at Eridge Park, Kent. Tickets and info here

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