Blown away at the CMA songwriters event!

To commence the Country to country weekend at the 02, the CMA introduced five of the best songwriters known to country music.  Held at the beautiful Indigo arena, within the world famous 02,  a very calm and relaxed atmosphere was generated as the crowds entered. The calm before the storm!     

Our fabulous host, Bob Dipiero, introduced the CMA, songwriters for this evening:  Brett JamesMartina McBride, with her guitarist Greg, and new names to the scene Striking Matches.
Bob Dipiero is an absolute legend.  This is the third time I have seen him at previous CMA songwriters gigs.  He is an amazing songwriter and is extremely successful,  with A list musicians such as George Strait, recording his songs.  He started the round by singing his love song to the south,  'Southern Voices' ,  followed by a song about his wife's sister -  'Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl'. It is apparent that Bob gets his inspiration from various sources, for example, Forrest Gump influenced 'Blue Clear Sky' and an early lunch was necessary for 'Gone' to be written. A brilliant host and a superb performer.
Following Bob was the magnificent Brett James.  Brett is a true performer and as Martina explained, he "sings his ass off!"  He has an exceptional voice and it is clear to see that his songs are full of passion.  He kicked off with 'The Truth',  a beautiful ballad, followed by a track he co-wrote with Kenny Chesney, 'Out Last Night'. Not only does he write country songs, he is also known for pop numbers such as Kelly Clarkson's 'Mr Know it All' and the amazing 'Jesus Take the Wheel'. Undoubtedly, one of the best songwriters on the planet!
Next to Brett was Martina McBride, one of my  favourite artists of all time! A true super star! This woman has a raw talent, but is incredibly humble and grateful for her experiences. She started off with the inspirational 'Blessed'.  A song that easy reflects her life, but also co-written by the brilliant Brett James. Brett later explained that these lyrics were used by two young girls in a horrific situation,  just to prove how relatable Martina's songs are. She continued with another based around her family life, 'Teenage Daughters' and another track written by Bob,  the stunning 'There You Are'. The night ended with a legendary tune that shaped Martina's career, 'Independence Day',  truly emotional -  amazing!
The final act in the round were Striking Matches. It was an honour to be part of Sarah and Justin's first show overseas.  This young duo have great energy and are two of the most incredible musicians I have ever seen - playing acoustic guitar, mandolin and slide guitar, as well as having great voices that compliment each other brilliantly! This duo are certainly the ones to watch, they are going  to be huge! Now with record deal and with many of their self penned numbers being used in the hit sitcom,  Nashville, they are really beginning to make a name for themselves. Their performances were mesmerising! 'Miss Me More', 'When The Right One Comes Along' and 'I Ain't Leavin Without Your Love' are among the many fabulous songs they have written.
I can honestly say that tonight is one of the best gigs I have been to. I have been to all the CMA songwriter gigs in London over the past three years and I am so pleased to say they are going from strength  to strength. Bring on the next one! 

Becky, Grand Union Gig Guide
Pictures of the evening to follow!

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