What an amazing few weeks it has been for country music in the UK!

What an amazing few weeks it has been for country music in the UK!

Commencing on the 1st July, the Shepherds Bush Empire welcomed our first visitors from Atlanta, Georgia. Before the outstanding Zac Brown band entertained us; we were introduced to Ben Caplan, a good friend of Zac’s, previously supporting him at Glastonbury. Ben is a very unique act with a lot of personality. He gave us a great acoustic set of some of his self penned songs, such as I Got Me A Woman, mainly influenced by his Canadian background.

The Zac Brown Band were nothing less than awesome! A band with such immense energy and talent made the stage come alive and had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand. The seven piece band accompanying Zac had two drummers, two keyboard players, a bassist, a lead guitarist/mandolin player and a fiddle player – with some of the most talented performers I have ever seen. They played a fantastic mix of tracks, with some of their new releases, She’s Coming Round the Bend, accompanied by some of their classics that are very popular here in the UK, Toes, As She’s Walking Away and Whiskey’s Gone. The highlight of this gig was the grand finale, the Devil Went Down To Georgia – mind-blowing!

The entertainment and talent continued as we travelled up to The Night and Day Cafe in Manchester to see our very own Raintown and Gary Quinn. These acts are phenomenal! Gary Quinn and his band were superb, a brilliant band supporting such a talented front man. They treated us to a variety of some of Gary’s own songs such as Live Each Day and Love To Watch You As You Leave, as well as some fabulous tracks such as Brad Paisley’s “Online” and Keith Urban’s “Days Gone By”. Although Gary is very hard act to follow, Claire and Paul (Raintown) were excellent! What great performers! The energy these two put in to their performance on such a hot night was incredible! Songs such as Picture of Us, Writing On The Wall and Hope In Troubled Times, were some of the great songs played, as well as a wonderful version of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”. Well worth the long journey to see them.

*Please note, you can see Raintown and Gary Quinn at Grand Union Gig Guide’s Songwriters Event.*

Only a few days later, we returned to Shepherd’s Bush for Rascal Flatts! We were extremely fortunate to be able to meet the lovely Laura Bell Bundy, who was very enthusiastic about our gig guide! On the main stage, the very gifted Jill Johnson entertained us with a brilliant acoustic set. Previously seeing her supporting Toby Keith, she is genuinely going from strength to strength! Following a laid back performance, we were very pleased to see the UK’s very own Tim McKay and the McKay band take to the stage. Performing as a young man of only 16, Tim has entertained the British Country Music circuit for a few years; and seeing him come this far, performing at the Empire, gave many of us a sense of pride.

After introducing Laura Bell Bundy, the party really started. What a brilliant performance! Laura put on a complete stage show with backing singers and dancers and was clearly enjoying her time with us! Songs such as I’m No Good and Giddy On Up, accompanied some classic sing a longs such as 9 to 5 and Any Man of Mine. She even taught a line dance!

Rascal Flatts were exactly what I expected them to be. Fantastic! They played all the songs that we wanted to hear and put on a superb show! Couldn’t wish for better! As it was Gary’s birthday, there really was a party atmosphere from the start, everyone on their feet and dancing away. Songs such as My Wish, Stand, God Blessed The Broken Road and Mayberry were terrific.

To end our couple of weeks of brilliant entertainment, we went to see the comedian Rich Hall, as his Otis Lee Crenshaw sketch. Not only was this hilariously funny, but his songs had a marvellous country sound. Not surprising as he has some fantastic musicians supporting him, including the immensely talented Rob Childs – popular from the duo Lass Vegas. A great night out, that I would highly recommend!

Let us know what you think?

You might also like...