Interview with SaraBeth

“Anything Is Possible” – SaraBeth



It has been a busy summer here on the blog and it has been a busy summer again for Country music over here in the UK. Back in June at the beginning of festival season I caught up with SaraBeth to discuss her music. Now with her new record Full Speed Ahead out and performing well both over here and in the States and with a successful UK tour completed, here is the interview we did to chase those post gig blues away! Complete with some inspiring words for aspiring writers, the Texas born Country Singer-Songwriter talked us through her writing process and shed some light on the stories and inspirations behind her songs. Read on to find out more and if you saw her on tour let us know what your favourite moment of the tour was!

Can you tell me about your journey into Country Music?

Well I grew up in Texas so for me Country music is something I grew up on anything from Merle Haggard to Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, I listened to all of them and then it was just an instant love affair when I was really little. I remember my Great Grandma gave me Alan Jackson’s greatest hits on cassette tape and I was probably about five years old and I listened to that; there was a three hour car ride from my Great Grandma’s house to home and I listened to it non stop and from there I listened to Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain and it was always just a big part of me.

Where do you take influence from in your songs?

Kind of from everywhere, so for me it comes from real life experiences or maybe something I hear from a movie, I was watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix and they said something and it just really inspired me to write a song so you honestly never know where inspiration will strike. Honestly, Glen Mitchell was talking to me and he said you never turn off as a songwriter as you’re always thinking could that be a song? That’s exactly what I think in my daily life everything’s taken down on my notepad or my iPhone.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever written a song about?

Guacamole! I wrote a song called Holy Guacamole with an amazing artist called Maddie and Glen Mitchell. Glen and I also wrote a song called Girl Scout Cookie Monster, that one’s actually out there for the World to hear, you know girl scouts of America they sell cookies every year, it’s a big fundraiser but it also teaches girls about business and selling and social skills and things like that so I was at a radio station and we had to write a song in an hour and they gave us a topic and it just happened to be girl scout cookies so we wrote the song Girl Scout Cookie Monster. That’s the strangest and Guacamole, it’s like the food diaries of SaraBeth.

Can you talk us through your songwriting process or does it vary every time?

It does there’s no right or wrong way to write a song and that’s something that I really had to learn when I got to Nashville because I thought you know there’s going to be a right and a wrong and i’m doing it wrong, I’m saying too much or I’m saying too little and you realise really quickly that it’s a creative process and everyone does their own thing. Some people like to talk a lot, some people don’t like to talk at all, some people like to start with melody and some people like to start with words.Every day is a new day when it comes to writing songs.

What are your mid-gig thoughts?

Sometimes in the middle of the song I start to think, do I know this? What are the words? What’s coming up next? You get lost in the moment like in the guitar solo I’ll start thinking what are the words for the bridge? There’s lots of times when I think of what I’ve got to do after the show, most of the time I’m really focussed and I’m enjoying the crowd and sometimes I get self conscious like, what am I doing with my arms? Do I look exciting, do I look happy, am I smiling? It’s a mix of everything.

We always ask our artists for a quote, can you give us one?

Yeah so the title track off my latest record is Possible, anything is possible because I think it’s really important not just in music but if I didn’t believe in myself and believe in my dreams I wouldn’t be doing music but I think it’s so easy because the World can be very negative, we get fed a lot of negativity every day, on the news or even people just being rude so I just always tell people anything is possible. If you’re willing to go out there and work hard for your dreams then you can do anything you want to.

What’s next for you?

I’m filming a music video for You Rock My Rodeo and the new EP Full Speed Ahead is out now.

If you’re new to SaraBeth’s music, go check out the links below and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Full Speed Ahead!


Zoe x


Brandy Clark Announces UK Tour!

“My music is for real women and it’s about real women and I am a real woman” – Brandy Clark


One of the greatest Country albums of 2016 so far came from one of the greatest storytellers of all time, hit country writer Brandy Clark who has penned hits for the likes of The Band Perry and Miranda Lambert and who has earned four Grammy Nods. As an artist Clark enjoys telling stories of ordinary people and small town life which is one of the reasons her music reaches so many people, it’s relatable. Her latest album released back in June entitled “Big Day In A Small Town” has already been very successful in the States and the intimate tour performances of these songs have captivated US audiences and now Brandy is bringing it to her UK fans and we here at Best of British Country Music can not wait!

The venues announced yesterday are as follows:

Sept 20 – Birmingham Glee Club

Sept 21 – Glasgow Oran Mor

Sept 23 – London Cadogan Hall

Sept 24 – Manchester Gorilla

And tickets are available from the following website:

Brandy Clark spoke about the album and her live shows saying “This record is a musical journey that has stretched, inspired and moved me artistically, I hope that it moves fans when they hear it half as much as it moves me when I play it every night.”

Find out more on Brandy’s website and check out the video for Girl Next Door to get you in the mood for the upcoming tour!



Zoe x

The Cadillac Three – Bury Me In My Boots Review

“Hell, this is where I’s born and this is where I’ll die” – The South – The Cadillac Three

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Tomorrow Southern Rock trio The Cadillac Three release their sophomore album on Big Machine Records. The band’s debut album peaked at number 19 on the charts when it was reissued by the label back in 2013 and have been named Best New Band in the 2014 Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards and became the most played new band on Planet Rock in 2015. The band have been teasing this new album for some time, releasing a number of the tracks already and receiving a great reception. In a recent interview Mason said this record was everything that had happened since their first release, though they still talk of their home in The South, they draw on experiences they’ve had travelling all around the World.

It opens well with title track Bury Me In My Boots which begins with just an acoustic guitar and vocal chorus before the other instruments come in to start the first verse. The concept is not too dissimilar to The Band Perry’s If I Die Young and though southern rock influenced, some of the chorus’ these guys write have a Country Pop feel to them as they are riddled with hooks; You can hear this in this first track and the third track Drunk Like You which has a great instrumentation to accompany the melodic hooks and great lyrics. Slide is sandwiched between the two tracks, the rhythm and metre of the vocals on this is quite unique, I can imagine dancing to this at Nashville Nights, it’s that upbeat kind of track that makes you want to move.

Graffiti follows, a little more stripped back, this track holds some great lyrics as does Buzzin’ the track that follows. This comes as no surprise to us though as Jaren’s songwriting abilities have garnered Academy of Country Music and Grammy-nominations, and has penned chart-topping hits for Jake Owen, Frankie Ballard, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley. Neil also has writing credits on Rascal Flatts and Miranda Lambert songs. The three wrote all fourteen tracks of the album as well as co-producing it with Dann Huff and Justin Niebank.

Party Like You, features a fantastic electric guitar riff which is heard at various points throughout the song. I really enjoyed the laid back feel of Ship Faced however I love the fast paced rhythmic singing of Soundtrack to a Six Pack, the whole track really shows off the band’s level of musicianship while White Lightning shows off the band’s more sentimental side. The list style lyrics in this song are phenomenal and because of this it has become my favourite on the album

“She stole my heart

Faster than a heat seeking missile on a mission

Faster than a bass took a hook when daddy fishing

Faster than a walnut rolls off a hen house

Faster than a whiskey shot goes down down South

Ooh, I saw white lightning”

The South sees the trio joined by Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli to proclaim their love of where they are from, The South. This Accent is another one of my favourites, I love the driving guitars and beat of this, the “ooh” hooks in the chorus are very effective too plus it’s an original concept. Peace, Love and Dixie is another track that has a great guitar riff that is a focal point of the song, and I love the catchy backing vocal “ooh’s” in Hot Damn, I think the lyrics once again are clever in this song. Runnin’ Red Lights closes the album and gives an insight into the difficulties the band faces on the road such as missing loved ones.

To conclude, everything about the second album is on point, following on from their debut the band sticks to it’s roots but everything from the production to the song content is more accomplished and I’d be surprised if this wasn’t topping the charts both in the US and UK Country charts. Don’t forget the band are over here on tour in November, the dates are detailed below.










Zoe x

Interview with Southern Junction at Buckle and Boots!

“It’s nice to be important but it’s much more important to be nice”



One of my new favourite acts in the scene right now is Southern Junction, I really enjoyed their set at Buckle and Boots and just the other night I was at Amy Westney’s Bluebird Sessions watching Kaity Rae and Katie Jayne one half of Southern Junction was also in the round. I have a lot of respect for her as a songwriter so it was great to hear her play again. The duo have an EP which is being released tomorrow and they are having a launch party/farewell gig as unfortunately for us, Katie is going back to Australia! Check out the interview I did with them below and all the details for their EP launch are at the bottom!

So can you tell me how you first got into Country Music?

Katie: I got into Country Music really young in Australia, all my family are big Garth Brooks fans so I grew up on Country music without even thinking anything about it. When I was in High School I always wanted to be a singer-songwriter and I gravitated to pop but I was never any good at it, I didn’t connect with it. Country music was always there but it wasn’t cool and I didn’t really think that it might be my genre until maybe my late teens. Then I travelled to Texas when I was 22 and they had Country on the mainstream radio and I was like oh my God, finally, it’s not my dirty little secret anymore and from then on it was so obvious that Country was where I was supposed to be. Then I came to England and managed to get him into it, haha. Your turn, he was a rocker.

Carlos: What was the question again?

Katie: How did you get into Country?

Carlos: You haha. Basically I met Katie randomly in the middle of Bournemouth at an open mic night.

Katie: He had really long hair and looked like Dave Grohl and that’s what I said to him, you look like Dave Grohl.

Carlos: She wanted to play and one of my friends was running the night and got us to play. After that we started doing some covers together. We tried to write some songs but it didn’t really work and then the country music bit came later.

Katie: You liked Keith Urban’s guitar solos.

Carlos: She showed me some Keith Urban so I don’t have a traditional Country background. I can confess to not really liking the older stuff, it’s obviously very important for the genre as a whole but I wouldn’t listen to it and enjoy but I love the modern Country stuff.

So what are your current influences?

Katie: I tend to go for more of a songwriter influence, Caitlyn Smith, she’s the one who wrote on Garth Brooks latest album and she also wrote a number one for Sam Smith which is like a pop hit so I like that she kind of transcends genre’s. I like Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, she has a way of telling stories. I don’t know, just writers, I love people who write and sing their own music it just seems more special.

Carlos: Obviously the stories are important but as a band, I’d say as a whole, a sound, influences are Lady Antebellum, The Shires, I love them I think they’re great and we try not to copy others but we want to make it sound big, I love three part harmonies.

Katie: That’s why we have Andy with us so we can sound cool, Andy’s subbing in for us, we like to go out as a trio so sometimes we have my boyfriend Chris, he played in Australia with us and Andy plays with us in the UK. What’s your genre, because you’re a musician in your own right?

Andy: Heavy Metal, haha. No, similar to Carlos, Classic Rock. In terms of Country, I do like Country, I grew up listening to The Eagles, they’re probably in my top 2 or 3 all time favourite bands.

Katie: Do you like what we do?

Andy: Yeah I love it I think it’s great.

Katie: He was in a band with my boyfriend and a few others around town but when we asked him it was sort of can you do us a favour and he sat down and he was sort of singing along already, we were like do you actually know it, have you been listening to us already?

Andy: I’m your number one fan.

Katie: You’re not you’re such a liar! As long as you’re happy and you enjoy it whilst you’re up there!

Can you talk me through your songwriting process?

Katie: I think when Carlos and I write together it’s quite different from when we write by ourselves because we’re both quite interested in writing lyrics that’s how we came together. I like to just wing it, I write loads and loads of stuff and I’ll have notebooks everywhere and sound bites on my phone but I never really use them, I find that I’ve never really gone back to them. If I’m writing in a session it’s just whatever comes out and you figure out the facts after it’s come out, you look back and say, oh that’s what I was writing about. Carlos does a lot of writing by himself at home and then he’ll bring it to me and we’ll figure it out together. Running Out Of Time was just written off the bat wasn’t it? But I Want To was something you brought in?

Carlos: Yeah the songwriting process is definitely a combined effort, and I know for a fact if we were to write songs on our own which we do, they don’t sound like Southern Junction.

Katie: We have a certain sound together. I co-write with other people and it’s a whole different ball game.

Carlos: We’re quite different in the way that we write as well, Katie is a genius when it comes to lyrics and writing in general not from a composer stand point but just from a lyrical stance, she’s got pages and pages of great lyrics. Whereas I don’t have that approach, my approach is pretty much I’ll come up with some music.

Katie: You’re quite specific though when you come up with lyrics, you’re really emotionally in it, every word is like what you’re feeling.

Carlos: I’m more reality based.

Katie: That’s why we’ve got a lot of whiskey drinking in our songs because that’s real life right here haha!

Carlos: Yes, the songs which I’ve had more input in are more in line with what’s going on in my head.

Katie: Yes like I Want To is your story.

Carlos: It’s an interesting songwriting process, because we can write apart.

Katie: Carlos doesn’t like what I write by myself.

Carlos: No I don’t, I think Katie’s a genius though.

Katie: He thinks it’s too whiny. He’ll bring in guitar riff’s like Running Out Of Time I think was just a magical song to write because he was just playing around with the guitar and I got to put in a verse, I just started singing it and he said yeah and I thought thank goodness! But my own stuff doesn’t interest him, it’s not something he’d want to sing.

Carlos: No but that doesn’t discredit your genius, it amazes me how many songs you manage to churn out off the bat.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?

Katie: I wrote a song with Flex once about fruity beer.

Carlos: Last night we started writing one about a dog.

Katie: Yes haha, we were in Thorne Hill’s tent.

What are your mid-gig thoughts?

Katie: Carlos always forgets the words.

Carlos: I definitely let my mind wander, I try to be focused and in the zone but sometimes I drift off. Yesterday was a perfect example when we were doing I Want To, I almost forgot completely what I was doing, I didn’t know where I was in the song. I go into auto-mode.

Katie: What he means to say is he means every word he’s singing in the chorus, right with the emotion whilst I’m planning what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow. I do zone out a little bit and you forget where you’re at in the song. I love watching people engage like we had a few people sing along to our songs yesterday.

Andy: There was this one guy, I think it was when we were doing Crazy and he was trying to sing along but he didn’t know the words.

Katie: Aww bless him haha. I think we’re a really new band and we’re really looking to have been given all these opportunities and you know, you write and sing and it’s hard work trying to make connections and get in and we’ve been let in! We’re kind of winging it but it’s really cool when people sing back. It’s a beautiful moment.

We always get our artists to give us a quote, a lyric or life advice, can you give us one?

Katie: My favourite is, it’s nice to be important but it’s much more important to be nice, it’s something I live by but he won’t agree because he thinks I’m a hippy.

Carlos: I don’t have anything, if I did it would be scientific and irrelevant so we’ll go with Katie’s answer.

What’s next for you guys?

Katie: It’s a little bit difficult at the moment because of visas, we did an Australian tour, I had a two year visa here and then that ended so the boys came over to Australia for a bit and now I’m back for these festivals so I’ve been here but it’s come to a point where I can’t keep putting my life on hold. so unless some miracle happens and we get signed or we figure out a way we can live in the same country… financially we put a lot of money into this and can’t justify it anymore. If gigs come up which we’re able to do then we’ll do them. I’m moving to Canada as well to do more writing. And he’s got a full time job as well so it’s hard. We do everything ourselves, we don’t have a manager or funding so it’s time consuming too. But we’re releasing our EP and doing a launch and farewell gig at the same time.

The EP Launch is happening tomorrow night at Eden Live in Bournemouth with support from Kaity Rae, Oceanside and Acoustic Journey, check out the Facebook event page for all the details, if you’re down that way this is certainly the place to be tomorrow night. It’s going to be an excellent night of Country Music.


Zoe x

Interview with Narn at Buckle and Boots!

“Keep dreaming and dream big, be who you want to be” – Narn

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Back to our Buckle and Boots Festival coverage and I had the opportunity to chat to one of our young female artists, Narn. After watching her play for the first time live at the Festival I was looking forward to catching up with her later on in the day to hear about her inspirations behind some of the songs and what’s next for the 18 year old. Here’s what she had to say.

So first of all I wondered if you could tell me a bit about yourself and your journey into Country music?

My name’s Narn, Rheana but people call me Narn, I’ve been called that since I was a baby it just kind of evolved over time, Rheana, Banana, Nana, Narn haha. I’m 18, I’ve been playing for a few years but only gigging for 2 years. The first people I got into in Country music was Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert but I’ve been around Country music all my life, my Dad listens to Country music and then my grandparents listen to Country music but my Mum listens to Black Sabbath and things like that so it’s very mixed.

When you’re songwriting where do you take inspiration from?

It’s just kind of whatever’s going on in my life or if someone else comes to me with something then I’ll write about that as well, so mainly personal experience. There’s a song on my album called Down in Flames which is about someone called James and it says their name in the song, the chorus is James, James, James why did you play all those games, games, games so it’s personal experiences but it’s other things as well, if somebody has something going on in their life and talk to me about it that can trigger an idea for a song and if in co-writes too, if the other writer has something going on in their life we might write about that.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?

Chips and cheese, well it’s not really about chips and cheese but it’s in the title of the song, it was from my Nashville Story EP and it’s called I Don’t Care (Chips and Cheese) it was my favourite food at the time so why not put it in a song? It was a song about society and about not caring about what society thinks and be who I want to be.

With the EP and Album were you very hands on with it, did you know where you wanted to take it production wise?

I think you can tell the step up between the EP and the Album, with the EP I was listening to a lot of Kacey Musgraves at the time so it’s a lot more stripped back, it was produced by Matt Bishop from Honey Ryder, it was a lot more Country than my album is. More happy, positive songs in there. The new album, produced by Justin Johnson is more Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood kind of Country, it’s a lot rockier, there’s other genres combined into it, there’s more going on with it.

What are your mid-gig thoughts?

Honestly I had this conversation with my mum the other day, something was on TV and I said I wonder what they’re thinking about right now because when I sing I don’t think about what I’m doing, I’m thinking what’s for tea tonight or I look at someone in the crowd and think what are they doing? I don’t think I’ll play this chord here, I think about something totally different. I let my mind wander.

What’s next for you?

Well we’ve just released the album so I’m really happy with how it all went, it’s going down well with radio so I’m really excited about that. I have some more festivals and plans for the next 12 months, in September I’m moving to Liverpool to start LIPA so I’m studying Songwriting and Performance there.

So there you go, you can get both the EP and Album off iTunes and find out more about her music on her website


Zoe x

Introducing US Singer-Songwriter Abby Anderson!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney


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Before we resume with interviews from Buckle and Boots I want to bring you some news from the US. As many of you know I’ve had the pleasure of going to Nashville a couple of times and it was on this last occasion that I had the pleasure of meeting today’s featured artist. I’d spent the day on a ranch co-writing and in the evening we gathered round a bonfire and shared songs, it was the perfect way to end my week in Nashville. Our host, hit songwriter and mentor, Jodi Marr told me I had to talk to this girl, she was going to make waves in the Country scene and of course Jodi was right! Now, a few months on Abby Anderson is finishing up a tour, opening for Kelsea Ballerini and I’m here to tell you a bit more about the upcoming singer-songwriter.

Abby first began getting attention in the States when her arrangement of My Country Tis of Thee was picked up by Glenn Beck a radio host and journalist who invited her to come and perform the song on his show. The song soon made the Billboard Top 100 and the top ten of the iTunes Country charts with all proceeds going to charity. After graduating early from High School the Texas born singer took the plunge and moved to music city and has been working with some of Nashville’s top writers and producer Jason Deere for her first full length album, which we can’t wait to hear. She takes influence from Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Stevie Wonder and K.T. Oslin.

Still only 19, Abby has toured with one of her heroes, Kelsea Ballerini and opened for legend Marie Osmond. She seems to write typical Country lyrics, lyrics that tell a story. Her single “Goodbye to You” is an example of this; in her vocals you can hear it’s a personal song yet relatable as on social media she dedicated it to fellow students who were graduating high school. Her live duet of “Girl Crush” with Kelsea Ballerini seems to be gaining lots of attention on social media, and though already getting lots of attention from Country fans in the US I’m sure it won’t be too long before we hear her sweet vocals over here in the UK as well. If you check out Abby’s website and subscribe to her mailing list you will get an mp3 of her single “Goodbye to You.” I for one would love to see Abby on the pop up stages of Country 2 Country next year, what do you all think? Check out her music and let me know!


Zoe x

The Shires announce new album and tour!

“I don’t sing Country music because I am not capable of singing other kinds of music; I sing it because I think it is the most beautiful kind of music there is” – Lee Ann Womack


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Thursday was a busy day for the UK’s most successful Country act of all time. It began at 10:30am when they went live on Facebook with a special announcement, two in fact as they unveiled the title of their second album “My Universe” and announced a 17 date tour around the UK. As I watched, I headed down from Manchester to London on the train for the media album launch in the evening and they answered questions from fans who were also watching. The pre-order for the album is now available at HMV and if you order yours before tomorrow it will be signed by The Shires and you will get access to the tour pre-sale which begins towards the end of this coming week.

One Embankment was buzzing on Thursday evening with fans and press alike all excited to hear the new songs from the duo. Bob Harris introduced Ben and Crissie and they began their set. They played a couple of songs off their debut album including Nashville Grey Skies which they opened the night with and continued to play songs off their upcoming album due to be released on October 7th. One song in particular I liked was I’m not even drunk right now, complete with hooky oohs that were easy for the audience to pick up and sing back to the duo on first listen. They played what is going to be their first single off the record and a very personal song that Crissie wrote called Daddy’s Little Girl which features some brilliantly crafted lyrics especially in the chorus, many, including myself, were moved to tears. They also played the title track “My Universe” and came back out for an encore!

The duo then spent two hours in the photo booth meeting and chatting to every fan who wanted to see them. The pair mentioned on stage about their last album getting in the top 10 of the UK charts, something which no other UK Country act has ever done before. They joked that maybe this time they could get to number 1, but it’s no joke. With the songs they demonstrated on Thursday night they have the talent to claim that number one spot all they need now is for their fans to get behind them and pre-order the album! Check out the tour dates below and see if they are coming to your town!

The Shires 2016 UK Tour

Nov 18th Oxford – O2 Academy
Nov 20th: Basingstoke – The Anvil
Nov 21st Southampton – O2 Guildhall
Nov 23rd Northampton – Royal and Derngate
Nov 24th: Cardiff – St. David’s Hall
Nov 25th: Bedford – Corn Exchange
Nov 27th: Cambridge – Corn Exchange
Nov 28th: Bristol – Colston Hall
Nov 29th: Brighton – Dome
Dec 2nd Llandudno – Venue Cymru
Dec 3rd: Birmingham – Institute
Dec 4th: Manchester – Bridgewater Hall
Dec 5th: Gateshead – The Sage
Dec 7th: Glasgow – O2 ABC
Dec 8th: York – Barbican
Dec 9th: Liverpool – O2 Academy
Dec 11th: London – Shepherds Bush Empire


Zoe x