GIG REVIEW: CMT Next Women Of Country Tour – Live At O2 Institute3, Birmingham

It’s a sign of how far we’ve come in the UK that organisations like CMT are seeing the market here as a viable option for promoting tours. A few years back, shows like their ‘Next Women Of Country’ events probably wouldn’t have been packing out venues, but last week, we saw Cassadee Pope, Twinnie and Logan Brill attracting pleasing numbers all across the UK which is fantastic to see. Well deserved too, as this was a line-up showcasing 3 immense talents, representing the female side of the genre in a wonderful manner.

It had been something like 13 years since the headliner, Cassadee Pope, had done a tour in the UK, back in her ‘Hey Monday’ rock days. She’s captured the hearts of the UK country fan base with multiple trips across the pond since, including an appearance at Country2Country back in 2017. It hasn’t been the easiest couple of years for her, having split from Big Machine and having to release her new album ‘Stages’ independently. That certainly hasn’t affected the quality of her output though, as the latest album was phenomenal and full of immensely catchy songs that are begging to be played live.

But, before we go into Cassadee’s set, let’s talk about the openers. Logan Brill took the stage first, and boy, did she impress! Accompanied by Joel Peat on acoustic guitar, she could easily have been overshadowed by the big full-band sound of Twinnie and Cassadee, but that certainly wasn’t the case. She set the bar incredibly high. Her latest release ‘Roll’ got everybody hooked before the high-energy ‘Good Story’, and I also loved her recent release ‘Walk Of Shame’ – a sublime piece of song writing which her UK fans fell in love with at C2C a while back. Such a crisp, flawless vocal that had the ability to silence the room with a single lyric. It’s a matter of time, surely, until she has that one hit that will lift her up to ‘headliner’ status.

Twinnie was also a wonderful late addition to the line-up, having rapidly built up an incredibly loyal fan base with her C2C appearances and tour with Chase Rice. The queues for her C2C shows this year were unprecedented; you’d think she’d released 3 albums, not just 3 songs! Of course, the career Twinnie had prior to music is a big help, but you also have to have the talent, and she’s got that in abundance. It’s no wonder the likes of BMG/BBR have given her a chance; she’s got the look, the charisma, the voice and most importantly, the songs. ‘Type Of Girl’, from her debut EP, kicked off the show, followed by the infectious, trad-country-infused ‘Daddy Issues’, and she grabbed everyone’s attention with ease. I can’t wait to hear studio recordings of songs like ‘Hollywood Gypsy’, ‘Cupid’ and ‘Lie to Me’ too; they’re all hits in waiting. Exciting times ahead for her!

Cassadee had 13 songs, which was a shame as we only got to hear 5 songs from the new album. But still, it was more than enough for her to showcase her incredible talent. She began with ‘Take You Home’, followed by one of her early singles, ‘I Wish I Could Break Your Heart’. It was a nice mix of singles with fan favourites from both albums, including the gorgeous ‘You Hear A Song’, the heartstring-pulling new single ‘If My Heart Had A Heart’ and the brilliant ‘How I Feel Right Now’ which simply has to be a future single. Cassadee surprised the crowd by bringing her boyfriend and Nashville star Sam Palladio on stage for ‘Think Of You’, and she also brought Twinnie and Logan back on stage for a lovely rendition of Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’. We even went back to her Hey Monday days during the encore with ‘Candles’, which pleased many of her Birmingham fans who had clearly been following her from the very start.

We heard from Cassadee herself that CMT are planning to do this again in future due to the success of this tour. That’s quite literally music to our ears, as this was a wonderful celebration of the quality material the females are putting out there right now. More tours like this are needed, both in the states and internationally, to get these girls heard.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan