Century Club 15th March
A far cry from the world of country and western music is the new country movement. Taking a deliberate sidestep from the old, the new blood strip back the music infusing new genre styles as they go, but still keep the fabulous stories that have always been at the heart of country music. It's brave, bold and fun.
In the boutique Century Club in the heart of London's West End, some of the new pioneers showed us exactly what it means to be part of the contemporary wing of this much loved musical genre. California band Loveless Effect may soon see the irony in their name after their 70s imbued country rock, proved to have far from a loveless effect on the audience. A fantastic trio of musicians, they also provide some support as the backing band for Sasha McVeigh and American Young. It's certainly worth keeping an eye out for the Arizona three in the future.
Sasha McVeigh may be the only Brit in the line up but she's certainly building a steady following on both sides of the Atlantic. Sasha showcases her new single When I'm Over You (debuted on Bob Harris Country) earlier material such as the bitter-sweet country ballad Stupid Girl, the inspiring I Stand Alone. Midway through her set fellow singer-songwriter Sonia Leigh strolls in after her own gig, to show support for her friends; she also ends up joining them onstage for a few numbers later in the night including a superb cover of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams. Sasha performs Sonia's favourite track No Strings Romance, which Sasha tells us is written about the same guy as her new single. It's certainly in line with much of her other work, it's catchy, melodic with a universal story. Sasha keeps the atmosphere pumping with an interactive version of Proud Mary, more than demonstrating her versatility.
Following on from their well-received sets at Country To Country, duo American Young (comprised of Kristy Osmunson and Jon Stone) chose to keep the mood upbeat by removing their more sombre material such as When God Sends A Train, from the set list. Although there is no doubt it's a brilliantly moving song, it would have been out of place in an informal and sometimes spontaneous concert. Instead, they opt for the more jovial and very country, girl vs boy track Point Of View, a cover of Avicci's Wake Me Up and Jon's number one hit for Lee Brice, A Woman Like You. Their voices blend perfectly with Jon at times sounding like Kenny Rogers. Their stunning single Love Is War and Cheater, Cheater is inspired by a true story with the sass of Dixie Chicks classic, White Trash Wedding, as Kristy sings in her best southern drawl, 'Where'd you meet that no good white trash ho?'You'd only get those lyrics in a country song – or possibly hip hop! With country music becoming more popular than ever in the UK, the new invasion of country music stars are creating some amazing music and ensuring the legacy of the genre will continue to grow and evolve as long as there are stories to be told.