The Honky Tonk Stage from outside has all the look of a solid building, it is only as you enter that you realise that it is a facade and effectively a tent. Having said that the interior has walls covered in country album covers and memorabilia and it has the key requirement of any Honky Tonk - a bar! For Danni Nicholls this show was not just the start of the Saturday proceedings but the start of a journey that will take her and Curse Of Lono across to Nashville for Americana Fest and much much more.
Choosing to start with the somewhat apt "Frozen" as the overnight temperatures had somewhat dipped, Danni soon had the room warmed up with her rich vocals, even finding time for a little acoustic guitar rock out. She seemed to be able to suck people into the Honky Tonk, and before she even got to start the second song "Losing It", the room was full and people were peering in to get a glance at who was producing this wonderful sound. This was gripping stuff and saw more great guitar work and a simply exquisite vocal on the line "I have so much love to give".
Last year I seem to recall the Honky Tonk stage being somewhat noisy at times but for Danni the audience were rapt, caught up in listening to every nuance and note of what she was playing as she sung a third track from her excellent latest album "The Melted Morning". "Hopeless Romantic" combined gentle guitar work with heartfelt lyrics to produce a mesmerising performance.
Always one to tempt fate, Danni's next trick was to cajole an early morning audience into a singalong, and was left with a visible smile at the audience response to their part in "Where The Blue Train Goes". The next song "Ancient Embers", her love song to herself, starts in an almost folk like fashion, which Danni then winds up in intensity and volume, the purity and beauty of the held note of the chorus were simply wonderful.
With each song setting the musical bar higher and higher she produced one of the highlights of the whole weekend with a version of "Hear Your Voice", a Kyshona Armstong co write that was imbued with a lovely gospel feel that got the audience spontaneously joining in. With her closing song "A Little Redemption" with its message of peace and understanding, bringing things to a close this was a truly excellent way to start her journey.
Keep an eye out for UK dates later in the year from Danni - she is on absolutely top form at the moment and her album "The Melted Morning" is one of the albums of 2019.