Day 2 of Country Music Week brought about a Broken Bow records takeover of Bush Hall. The show was opened by the newest member on the label, Lainey Wilson. Taking to the stage around 10 minutes later than scheduled, the half full hall was treated to a very impressive UK debut. Kicking off with “Workin’ Overtime” it was clear from the outset that Lainey’s set was going to be full of lots of twang and an authentic country accent. Second song of the set has just had its lyric video released – go check out “Waste of Good Whiskey” on all the usual channels. Hailing from the small farming community of Baskin, (pop’n c.300) her third song prompted a change of pace and highlighted her songwriting style and ability. Comparing herself to her sister and how two people can be brought up in the same environment but have such wildly different goals, “Two-Storey House” brought the gradually filling hall to silence – something that you could tell genuinely shocked her. To lift the pace and show her versatility we were then treated to one of her sassier songs “Middle Finger” dedicated to, of all people, her Grandma! “Dreamcatcher” followed and was another beautiful song that again quietened the crowd who were hanging on her every word. This is a song about someone who can take the bad dreams away from you. Final song of the night from Lainey was the bonus track on her EP, “High on Somethin’” and it certainly left us all on a high. All in all this was a classy debut from someone sure to return soon..
Jimmie Allen was second on tonight and was another newcomer to the UK. Taking to the stage with a back-up guitarist, who had to be able to play whatever Jimmie threw at him, as he was playing without a set-list! The first song was about finding your way back home and was a single released last year “Blue Jean Baby”. This was an up-tempo number, to get the set off to a high energy start. “County Lines” followed off his new record, name-checking all kinds of US staples, Joshua Tree, Texas Tea etc. His next song was a tribute, or tip of the hat, to all the singer songwriters making their way out there in the world. Starting with what seemed to be drawled lyrics “100 Bucks” turned into a great song for the Underdogs, the come-back kids and the tip jar dreamers. Taking note of the UKs love of a good lyric/story in a song “Spinning My Wheels” works on two premises. Is it a song about Jimmie and his career/music, or is it a relationship song? In actual fact, it’s both and works well on both levels.
The lack of a set-list allowed him to include a tweet-requested song, and one he doesn’t usually include, “Back of Your Mind” was a slower song and led nicely into “Make Me Want To” which had a really good laid-back groove to it. Approaching the end of his set he dedicated “Warrior” to his Grandma and it can easily be applied to any strong person in your life. Closing out his set with the first song he got played on country radio, “Best Shot” was a crowd pleasing finish and he left the stage with a much increased fan-base.
To begin your headline set with an apology is an interesting move, but that’s exactly the kind of honesty you’d expect from a Chase Rice show. Walking onto the stage with guitar in hand and perching on the stool set up for him he immediately apologised. Last time he was over he promised to return with his full band, and clearly this wasn’t going to be that show, but he did have the caveat that he’s back next year for C2C where he fully intends to rectify that! To start things off we had the swagger of “How She Rolls” which got the now full Bush Hall rocking to the beat. Following up with a nod to Highway Radio, and Spotify Country Music head, who was upstairs in the posh seats we moved on to a movie reference and “50 Shades of Crazy” and some forgotten lyrics, that didn’t end up detracting from the song. Moving on to some of his newer material from "Lambs and Lions" we next had the crowd pleaser “Jack Daniels Showed Up” closely followed by one of the stand-out songs on the album “Three Chords and the Truth”. This song prompting an inevitable sing-a-long. The much quieter, but no less intense song “Carolina Can” followed and the audience were again in full voice for the chorus. Proving his writing style owes a lot to his lifestyle we got the second JD song of the night and his favourite “Jack Daniels and Jesus”. It was clear he had the audience eating out of his hand with them joining in again on “If You Wanna” and his life-changing song “Eyes on You”. For anyone who’s been to a Chase show before you know that he likes to get someone up on stage for “Ride” and tonight was no exception with Nikita being tonight’s ‘victim’?! Tonight’s lyric challenge came in the form of “I Hope It’s On” with the crowd singing being recorded for future Instagram uploads… Chase’s first number 1 record, but not for him, came next as he played an acoustic version of FGL’s “Cruise”. Closing out the set and the evening was his first hit “Ready Set Roll”. If this was to be seen as a warm up for C2C then rest assured, we’re in safe hands. This was a cracking night and Broken Bow have some phenomenal artists on their roster.