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  • Chris Farlie

Buckle & Boots 2023: Main Stage - Hayley McKay

Having not seen Hayley McKay previously this was a chance to catch up with the artist who impressed us with her EP "Breathe". Taking to the stage with a fiddle player and additional guitarist for company, we doubt there was another act that so visibly enjoyed their time on the Main Stage

Hayley opened with a track from that aforementioned EP, "Thinking About You", the snappy chorus enhanced by the fiddle and a stomp box with Hayley working overtime, selling the song with gestures and smiles.

"Said you liked my dress -

I was happy that you noticed"

Between songs there was the strange sight of fiddle player Johnny Bunce, just resting and holding his fiddle in place by chin power alone!. For "Matching Suitcase", Hayley added to the sound with her own acoustic guitar - once again the power of Hayley's delivery was accentuated by the delightful fiddle playing.

Hayley's next song was an award winner from that debut EP- "Wild West" had a definite Western vibe going on

"Who's going to guide my heart when it all falls apart?"

With the addition of backing vocals from Johnny on fiddle who would also contribute a solo, Hayley was clearly pleased with this one, finishing by raising her hand in the air like a royal wave!

"Finding Myself In a Song" was full of little details which seemed autobiographical such was the heartfelt way in which they were delivered.

"I wasn't in the cool brigade -

I had to push myself to get up on that stage" .

Always a risk in an early afternoon slot - Hayley's next move was to try for a piece of audience participation. The song "Homemade Show" was co written with The Dunwells, known for their work with Megan O'Neill so almost guaranteed to be good.

It was a song of energetic waving, which saw the volume gradually build in intensity. With Hayley so full of smiles the audience could not help but be won over by her boundless enthusiasm and by the end the were fully involved.

There was time for a brand new song the stirring "Saviour On A Hill" which saw Hayley effect a type of marching on the spot

"I'm a fighter, I'm a sinner".

Hayley's set would close with the title track of her EP "Breathe" - it would start with her facing off against guitarist Dave Crabtree - in many ways it was the epitome of the whole set, dramatic prominent fiddle lines and Hayley singing with an infectious joy that was hard to resist.

If the success of a set could be measured by the smiles coming from the person performing - then this was surely the most successful one of the whole weekend!

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