Liv Austen - Don't Regret A Single One
These are somewhat paradoxical times, on one hand Country music in the UK has never been more popular, access to local radio and BBC Introducing means that independent artists are able to progress to a certain level. To move to the next level of national airplay needs more polished production, bigger budgets and bizarrely most of the time, a move away from the sound that made the artist popular in the first place placing then into a melting pot where everything sounds depressingly similar.
Liv Austen's first single "The Next Time" since moving to a major label got things absolutely spot on, the second single "Don't Regret A Single One" provides us with a clear example to see this progression as it has been released already in two different formats. It's a cast iron part of Liv's live set, taking the optimistic view that all relationships even bad ones had their good points and you learn something through each liaison.
The first version an acoustic only version with just Liv, and some acoustic guitars, is closest one would imagine to how the song was originally created. It's available on the "Who I Am Today" EP as is the lead track a more beefed up version of the song, with the intro now an electric guitar, that leads into thumping drum rhythm section so real you can almost see the drummer sitting there, As well as a myriad of guitars there is a fiddle, a piano some additional backing vocals and a distinctly country feel to it and as UK Country singles go it is right up there.
All of this preamble leads us to Liv's latest version of the song, the intro is now a little louder, the drumming also now also seems more up in the mix, The sound is undoubtedly more polished, the first verse now has a picked out guitar line forinstance. While we have waved goodbye to the individual fiddle involvement, it now seems to have been souped up into a whole string section. Halfway through comes a short unobtrusive guitar solo which perhaps lacks the country mood of the previous version but that is a small price to pay in the scheme of things. The song then fades away into a quiet section allowing it to then build back up and then lead off to the coda.
The key constant through all of these versions is Liv's vocals, which each time carry the song through, the urge to do any tweaking has thankfully been resisted. The other thing to remember of course is that for a lot of people this may be their first chance to hear the song at all and if takes a more radio friendly version to guide them in, is that such a bad thing?