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  • Chris Farlie

Buckle & Boots 2023 - The Paddock Stage - Grace Kelly

A lot of the fun preparing for this years Buckle & Boots has been investigating into the names lurking in the lower reaches of the bill and then discovering that among them are a number of bright young talents who seem destined for greater glory and are ready to shake things up a bit.

Grace Kelly is one such talent, with an EP launch in Manchester on June 2nd - this was a chance for the Buckle & Boots audience to get a sneak preview, although today Grace would be appearing with just a guitarist for support, whereas those lucky enough to have tickets for the EP launch will get to see a kick ass 5 piece band. The EP is a kaleidoscope of styles and so what we were to get to see was both a bit of a mystery and hotly anticipated.

Taking to the stage in her denim shorts and cowboy boots she looked every inch the part and looked totally at home on the Paddock Stage. The initial work out between the acoustic and electric guitars suddenly burst into life with the pure pop of "She Walks" and Grace never looked back!

“Guilty Pleasure” from the new "Table For One" EP retained its punky pace although the guitar sound was perhaps a little more polished and less raw.

One of the stand out tracks on “Table For One” is “For Us To Change” which comes in two distinct versions. Here the band departed from the format they had used for the previous songs with Grace’s acoustic taking the lead at the start, while the electric guitar would provide atmospherics, making a noise akin to whale calls to great effect! The song comes in two separate parts, he first almost a dreamy ballad while for the second half Grace would tilt her head back and unleash a fearsome powerful vocal.

An unreleased song followed in "Bad Idea" full of lively guitar and seemingly relationship based but there was a lot to take in and we were to absorbed with watching Grace perform to make any meaningful analysis

Here at #TEAMw21 we always say that you can judge an artist by their choice of covers and Grace chose well with her gutsy, rootsy version of Maren Morris’s “My Church” ( probably the best and certainly the first of many versions we would hear throughout the weekend )which certainly had the crowd around us offering up their hallelujahs.

There was a laugh out loud song called “My Boyfriend Hates Country Music”, it was very knowing –with the electric guitarist quoting the opening few notes of Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5”. It came with a cracking chorus and a rocking guitar solo and ended with Grace changing the title to “My EX Boyfriend Hates Country Music” once again displaying some great vocal talents

It was back to the EP for the final two songs, firstly the newly released single “Supermarket Aisle”, which retained its clipped guitar modern sound while the chorus afforded Grace the opportunity to really let fly on the vocals. The set would close with “Carry On” for which Grace not only sung the chorus, but then had to move on to supply her own backing vocals. It was first rate stuff dealing with her move from New Zealand to the UK - the confidence with which she says about her flight "I gotta get on" is a sheer delight.

If we were anywhere in the vicinity of Manchester on June 2nd we would certainly be at the EP launch.

Table For One is released with a show on June 2nd at The Eagle Inn

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