This gig was originally scheduled for early March, but was postponed due to the heavy snow at that time. At least this time, the only casualty was Lisa Wright, who was scheduled to appear, but had to pull out due to illness. Held at LIBRARY in St. Martins Lane, it is a small capacity, long but narrow venue, which at times, became rather crowded, mainly with the upcoming acts, and their friends.
Showcasing the best new Country and Americana talent,
The evening opened with Stoke based Simon Clewlow. Looking and sounding like a cross between Chris Stapleton and Darren Hodson, his seven song set mainly consisted of self-penned numbers, including his debut single “Vintage Photo Frame”. With just a softly played acoustic guitar, and simple chords, the strong storytelling lyrics are what make you stop and listen. “Only When It Rains” and “Closing Time” were outstanding, as was his cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halo”. Look for his debut EP later this year.
Next on were Kingston based duo Emmy Kay and Adam Lewis, better known as Days Are Done. Fresh from a couple of appearances on the pop-up stages at C2C, Days Are Done have an upbeat catchy style along the lines of Two Ways Home and Gasoline & Matches, and at times, reminded me very much of early Tracey Thorn/Everything But The Girl. Drawing from their recent EP release “Closer”, their seven song set, included “Nightblind”, “Never Let You Go” and a new release “Firewood” amongst others. Days Are Done should have no problem fitting into the 1 Boy, 1 Girl, 1 Guitar category, and are well worth catching, if they are in your area.
Third act up was Hannah Paris complete with her 3 piece band (acoustic guitar, bass guitar and cajon). With her familiar country pop sound and catchy lyrics, Hannah did not disappoint. With a five song set, mainly comprising of tracks from her recent debut EP “Short Stories”, including “You You You”, “Scared Of The Dark” and her latest single “Just You Wait”, Hannah is another artist to keep an eye on, especially in the forthcoming festival season.
Next on was Jessica Davies (Jess Davies Band), complete with acoustic guitarist and bass guitarist. Hailing from the South Coast, Jess has a mellow country voice that blends with country ballads well. Her 3 original songs, “Borrow My Heart”, “Momma Told Me” and “My First Whiskey” along with her version of Maren Morris’s “Dear Hate”, were impressive for a relative newcomer. The other two covers, Miranda’s “Smoke Break” and Carrie’s “Two Black Cadillacs“, although well sung, would have benefitted from a greater stage presence and stronger vocals. Jessica’s whole set was performed with her arms down by her side throughout, which looked rather unnatural and gave an “I’m Bored” impression! Her EP “First Three Tales” is due out shortly, and is worth checking out.