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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

LIVE REVIEW: C2C COUNTRY TO COUNTRY 2024 - HALLE KEARNS - THE BARRELHOUSE & ICON STAGE


It is hard to describe the sense of pride in seeing someone that you have supported since you received an email with their very first single attached to it, take to the stage in Europe's largest Country Music Festival, Such was the feeling of excitement attached to finally seeing Halle Kearns perform on a UK Stage. She has been pretty much an ever present ever since on the W21Music.com "New Country" playlist deservedly on merit. The Barrelhouse Stage by now was pretty rowdy after a lively set from Lakeview had stirred them up and as Halle, a petite figure in a pink tassled leather jacked took to the stage, brandishing a bright smile, with her blonde hair tumbling town, it was time to find out if she really was as good as we thought she was!!


HALLE KEARNS - C2C 2024

The first surprise as she took her place was seeing that she was totally alone, no supporting musician to help share the load or provide backing vocals - like some of the more established folk, any excitement was going to be Halle generated. As it turned out we needn't have worried, opening with "Whatever You Do" from her debut EP, there was a confident guitar intro and within seconds we were watching confirmation that the sound on the radio is exactly what you get in the flesh. Barely out of the first chorus, she was already encouraging the crowd with an "I see y'all singing".


Halle was quick to acknowledge how special the moment was for her having never been to the Europe let alone the UK before, and that it was a "wild experience" seeing her lyrics being sung back to her.


Moving next, so early in the set, to a brand new song also told us a few things about Halle, she has the fearlessness of youth and a lot of confidence in her new material. It's always hard to judge a song on first listen especially in a stripped back format like this, however "The Settling Kind" with it's talk of "Small towns and babies" and a "House on the hill with a wraparound porch" was a picture of domestic bliss. that came from "One look in your eyes!".


Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" was revealed to be a song that Halle wished she had written, her performance allowed for a little bit of stage craft - as she reached the title of the song she would sing

"The House That What?" allowing the assembled crowd to add the words "Built Me". It was a small thing but showed a confidence and willingness to engage with the audience.


HALLE KEARNS - C2C 2024

Lovely as a cover was, it was Halle's material that we were looking forward to seeing and the next two songs showed why. Firstly "I Drink Whiskey" which saw her again using her stage craft, stepping back from the microphone and letting the audience shout out the title of the song. Her current single "High School Friends" may not be written by Halle but there is a lot in those lyrics that is true of her and many aspiring artists and she would talk of


"The really high highs and really low low's" such as worrying about how to pay her bills.


The real key moment saw Halle emphasising "I'll be a somebody" with a shake of the hand. - she already is!


A second cover came in the shape of the well known yet less often covered in the UK, Chicks song "Wide Open Spaces" which naturally Halle turned into a massive singalong. Self depricatingly describing "Happy In This Bar" as being about "Me whining in a bar" - Halle was somewhat underselling herself - there's much more going on in that song than that. In one final show of bravura she would sign off her debut UK set with another new song, due out the following week "Homemade Margarita's". It led to a hilarious section where Halle taught the audience to provide the required clapping for the song that eventually worked out fine!


HALLE KEARNS - C2C 2024

Uptempo and upbeat with lines like


"If we're going to go postal - we don't need to go coastal!"


It showed a great sense of humour and will be a great fun addition to the Halle Kearns catalogue. It could well turn into one of the songs of the summer on this first listen.


HALLE KEARNS - C2C 2024

On the Sunday, there was time to catch a little bit more Halle prior to rushing off for an interview, and on what was now her 4th set of the weekend, there was a definite change. She had the look of someone who totally knew she was in the right place and who appreciated that she was loved and respected, it literally showed in the way she played the guitar with an absolute air of freedom. The sizeable crowd at the ICON stage were the hard core fans, who had probably already seen some, if not all of her earlier sets. In our short time with her we got to see an additional song, the single "Only God Knows"


There was also one priceless moment as Halle commented on the clocks having changed an hour only to then find out that they hadn't!. She was just about to launch into another new song as duty called and took us away - it was not to be the last that we would see of Halle though!!!





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