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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

Buckle & Boots 2023: Main Stage - Songwriters Round - Chloe Jones, Lisa T & Katie O'Malley

The first Main Stage Songwriters show was a chance for #TEAMw21 to see 3 UK acts for the first time in the flesh, in the shape of Chloe Jones, Lisa T, and Katie O’Malley. Each would have an additional helper with Chloe opting to go for a big old double bass player, while Lisa T had a guitarist, as did Katie O’Malley to supplement her own guitar playing.

Round 1 would commence with Chloe Jones, playing a song co written in Nashville, the twist being that she cannot remember who she wrote it with and so “Stay” remains forever unreleased. The double bass was an absolute revelation making the sound warmer and richer. Lisa T would take the microphone from its stand for her song “Easy To Love” a co write with Jade Helliwell. The verses were snappily fired off and Lisa seemed to channel her inner Jade at times. Katie O’Malley is more often to be found fronting a rock band although she does have a past in performing in situations like this – and for her opening song “Taste The Dirt” she seemed to have her own posse of fans gathered at her end of the stage. Her raspy vocal for sure had the most volume of the three, her voice a little rockier and rootsier than her companions.

For the second round Chloe would open with the divine “New Mexico” which was revealed to have been inspired by a photograph rather than an actual visit. Chloe’s vocal had a wonderful folky, country feel to it and the strong guitar line running through it was delightfully accentuated by the double bass. It moved Lisa T to visibly sing along.

Lisa T's second round contribution allowed #TEAMw21 to collect the full set of versions from each of "Want You To Stay"'s co-writers. It also meant that this was the first time we were hearing it from a woman's perspective. Each seems to have a slightly different view on what is occurring - the key facts being it is late night, there is an undoubted frisson in the air, and there are decisions to be made which will have major repercussions. Speaking to Lisa T, she definitely sees this as two friends possibly about to cross a line. It certainly moved a couple at the front of the stage to start dancing. It allowed Lisa T to throw in a marvelous extended note - however I think she would have been helped by some subtler guitar work to match the scene she was tying to create with her vocals. Katie O'Malley finished the round with her new single "Come On Home", which was a much quieter affair with a delightfully "oohed chorus" the song ending on almost a raspy whisper.

Chloe was to close in literary style with a Daphne Du Maurier inspired tune - in that it took the lead character Rebecca and asked - "What happened next?". Due out in July "Maxim" opened to the double bass, which immediately set the scene and was then omnipresent throughout, adding a hint of menace. The bass player would also add backing vocals on the closing mantra

"Everybody says that his fate is coming for him".

Lisa T's final song "This Country Song" was designed for festivals - so that folk could sing along.and lines like "Grab a shot of Tennessee and dance with me" seem set to the job.

The final song of this Main Stage opener - saw a rare political comment from the stage as Katie sang "Revolution". This was a song waiting to be revved up and rocked up however even in this raw format there was plenty of power on display with Katie getting an audience singalong on the "Can you feel it coming" line, with Chloe & Lisa T both joining in as well while she laid down her rocky vocal.

A final group encore would come with a cover of Morgan Wade's "Wilder Days" probably the weekends most played song but this was definitely the first outing - Katie was naturally ideally placed to kick things off, though each singer brought their own particular style to bear on this entertaining closing to the afternoons proceedings.




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