After attending the Birmingham ‘Nashville Nights’ a few months ago, the popularity of which amazed me, I couldn’t resist making the journey down to London for another night to remember (providing you didn’t spend too much time at the bar!). If you ever need a reminder of the incredible progression of country music in the UK, look no further than Nashville Nights.
If you haven’t been to one yet, all I can say is that it’s a thoroughly enlightening experience. Standing there surrounded by like-mined people of all ages, sharing their mutual love for the greatest genre in music is so refreshing, and it brings me a sense of pride as a country enthusiast. I remember going to watch Zac Brown Band at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2011, a rare country concert, feeling like all the ‘weirdos’ were congregating for a special night that, at the time, we thought might not happen again! 6 years on, here we are with a room full of people from far and wide, singing ‘Chicken Fried’ at the top of their lungs at a 5-hour-long country disco. Who would have thought it?
The brilliant Laura Oakes kicked off the evening with her amazing band, treating us to a selection of tracks from her 2015 EP, as well as some new ones from her upcoming EP (still waiting Laura!). ‘Going Somewhere’ is always a fantastic song to start her shows, full of energy with such an infectious chorus. ‘Better In Blue Jeans’ and ‘Lazy’ also had the group of loyal fans at the front singing along with great enthusiasm with the catchy hooks. An unexpected highlight was Laura’s performance of ‘Family Tree’, a slower, older track which she performed on her headlining tour last year. It’s been a favourite of ours ever since and it was wonderful to hear it performed so beautifully again. ‘Dreamin’ couldn’t have been more fitting – “Never thought that I’d see my dream in front of me” …I certainly saw mine on Saturday night. This was another stellar performance from Laura, and she’s got an exciting year ahead with some great festival appearances lined up. She’s an artist all of us UK country fans should be incredibly proud of and she’s going from strength to strength.
Then, the party well and truly began as the Nashville Nights resident DJ cranked up the volume for 4 hours of continuous country favourites and fan requests. Yep, you guessed it, ‘Country Girl Shake It For Me’, ‘House Party’, ‘Bartender’, ‘Am I The Only One’, the list goes on! But it wasn’t entirely the obvious choices; we had songs from Tara Thompson, Gretchen Wilson, Dean Brody and many more which were refreshing to hear. The screen at the back of the stage was fantastic and added some interactivity for the crowd; you could tweet pictures with #NashNightsUK to have your picture shown on the big screen. Selfies all over the place!
Once the High Valley attendees had arrived at 11pm, it was absolutely packed and the atmosphere was incredible. We had some C2C teasers with Brad Paisley’s ‘Water’, Drake White’s ‘Living The Dream’, Chris Young’s ‘A.M.’ and many more, and it was great to see everybody on the dance floor singing every single word to every single song.
If you haven’t been to one of the Nashville Nights events yet, I urge you to give it a try. Big respect to the folks on the Nash Nights team for having the ambition to put on these fantastic events and for making this venture a huge success. It’s only going to get bigger and bigger. The next event is on March 31st featuring Kaity Rae…don’t miss it!