Country to Country - London 2018

Paul Jenkin

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My wife and I were lucky enough to get tickets to see the final day (Sunday 11 March) of the Country to Country show at the O2 Arena in London. Neither of us have ever been to a country music gig before and neither of us know much about the genre.

Bob Harris ("whistling Bob" as he's known affectionately in the UK) was the main compere. He hosts a BBC Radio 2 country music show on a Thursday evening and was the highest profile presenter on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The main artists we saw were:

"Midland": quite high energy and certainly got the crowd going
"Margo Price": a really powerful singer who was joined for a few songs by Lukas Nelson (Willie Nelson's son - and whose voice sounds very reminiscent of his father's).
"Emmylou Harris": for me, the best act of all. Awesome voice and a great range of musicians in the band
"Little Big Town" (the headline act): Now these guys are good, IMO. Very tight musically and well produced. However, they started off with a rendition of Elton John's "Rocket Man" (no apparent "country" connection) and then a few other songs which, compared to the previous acts seemed more like pop, with some twangy guitars. they were also a hell of a lot louder than the others, or they needed to be.

We really enjoyed the evening but I think I'm starting to see the difference between the more traditional country artists (Emmylou Harris - and she's probably "new" compared to he predecessors) and the likes of Little Big Town - who wouldn't have looked out of place on a much more mainstream pop-oriented bill.

I might see if I can get tickets to next year's event....
 

Paul Jenkin

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Whistling? You mean Whispering.

Glad you enjoyed the show. Our bass player played there a couple of years ago as his country alter ego Sonny Walters.
Yes, whispering - must re-read what I type more often.

It was very entertaining. Not my usual musical taste. A friend of mine has just told me they were there on Saturday and felt the same way - one or two more "traditional" acts but a lot of country-pop cross-over. Nothing wrong with that and likely to happen even more - particularly where 20,000 seater hi-tech stadia are needing to be filled and a reducing number of the "traditional" artists around.
 

Amby

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Hi Paul if you haven't already done so, try to listen to Emmylou's albums from the mid 1970s - Pieces of the Sky, Elite Hotel, Luxury Liner &c. Her Hot Band then had guitarists like James Burton & Albert Lee and steel guitarist Hank deVito. Timeless.
 

Paul Jenkin

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Hi Paul if you haven't already done so, try to listen to Emmylou's albums from the mid 1970s - Pieces of the Sky, Elite Hotel, Luxury Liner &c. Her Hot Band then had guitarists like James Burton & Albert Lee and steel guitarist Hank deVito. Timeless.
Will do.

She has a fabulous voice. I couldn't believe it last night when she said she is 70 years old. I can remember seeing her on TOGWT in the late 70s when I'd never even heard of "country" music.
 

PeterUK

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Whistling Bob!

Thanks, that made me laugh. I actually read it as ‘Whistling Bob’ in my head but kept reading, then it suddently clicked!

Little Big Town are awesome but as you said, could sit happily in the pop genre. But hey, if it sounds good, what does it matter what it’s labelled?

:) Peter
 

Paul Jenkin

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Whistling Bob!

Thanks, that made me laugh. I actually read it as ‘Whistling Bob’ in my head but kept reading, then it suddently clicked!

Little Big Town are awesome but as you said, could sit happily in the pop genre. But hey, if it sounds good, what does it matter what it’s labelled?

:) Peter
Agreed - a very good band and well worth the listen.

We'd never heard of them previously, so the surprise was that they seemed very different from what we were expecting at a high profile and bespoke "country" show.
 

Wrong-Note Rod

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Luxury Liner by EmmyLou and the Hot band is one of the greatest country albums ever recorded, in my opinion.
 




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