“Since you’ve gone to heaven, the whole World’s gone to hell” – Brandy Clark
Well there’s lots to talk about in today’s blog. Both about UK Country artists and our friends across the pond. The focus shall be on last Saturday night. It has taken me a while to write about what a wonderful night I had at the brandy Clark concert in Manchester due to the fact it greatly inspired me to write and on Tuesday night I had my first pitch to publisher session. But just because I haven’t taken the time to write about the night until now doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it constantly since then. Perhaps my biggest idol in Country music right now, Brandy Clark didn’t disappoint me on my fourth time of seeing her live and the support, Ben Glover wowed the packed out Gorilla club in Manchester. So read on to hear all about the night from start to finish.
I knew very little about Ben Glover before the show, I had seen him play a few songs in a writers night in Nashville and knew that he had written songs with Gretchen Peters but honestly he was one of the best support acts I’ve seen. The Irish born singer-songwriter played a mixture of covers and originals, he played songs off his new record, The Emigrant, which is out in stores tomorrow! The album (which I bought at the gig and played twice on the car ride home) features four original songs and six traditional songs. The crowd really seemed to enjoy his set which included the song Blackbirds which he co-wrote, it’s the title track off Gretchen Peters last album. And he closed his set with Ring of Fire which the crowd threw themselves into. It also helps when an artist has time for their fans and he was lovely when I spoke to him afterwards and I hope to bring you an interview with him soon.
Then it was time for Brandy Clark. From the offset the crowd went wild, cheering loudly as herself and Miles Aubrey walked onstage. She began with Drinkin, Smokin, Cheatin, off the new album. It was a nice start to the show and a good song to introduce us to the intimate setup of the tour. Stripes followed which was clearly a crowd favourite as everyone was singing along and having a great time despite the rising temperature of the room. One of my favourites followed, Big Day In A Small Town, I love the storytelling in this song and humorous lyrics and scenarios. Brandy kept thanking the audience after every round of rapturous applause. Miles impressed the whole time with his guitar skills and his backing vocals. Brandy talked of the best two and a half minutes of her life, playing Hold my Hand with Dwight Yoakam at the Grammy’s, she said if we sang along it might be the next best two and a half minutes of her life and we all gladly obliged, singing our hearts out to the ballad.
In the interview I did with Brandy a couple of weeks ago she said one of her favourite songs to play is this next one, Daughter. It’s a very clever song, a different type of revenge song, Brandy said and the crowd really enjoyed that one. Not once did Brandy’s vocals waiver, they were perfect throughout the night which was slightly surprising as she did keep saying they were very tired though you couldn’t tell. A slower song ensued, You Can Come Over before the tempo picked up again with Clark’s current single Love Can Go To Hell which is perhaps my favourite song off the new record. This was followed by the first single Girl Next Door which was another crowd favourite. I should probably stop saying that as the crowd was buzzing the whole night, something which Brandy seemed genuinely amazed by. Three Kids No Husband was in the middle of the set, co-written by one of my other favourite songwriters Lori McKenna, this song was just beautiful and really suited the acoustic, intimate atmosphere that had been created.
We all know Brandy is one of the greatest songwriters of our day and at this point in the show she took time to share with us some of the songs she’s written for other artists, these included Better Dig Two cut by The Band Perry and Mama’s Broken Heart cut by Miranda Lambert. Then we went back to her first album and she sung What’ll Keep Me Out Of Heaven, my favourite off that record and now my Mum’s favourite too (I drag my Mum and Dad to as many Country concerts as I can, they moan but when they get there they have a whale of a time, mum hasn’t stopped listening to Brandy since!) Another off her debut album, Get High, came next, the song about someone she went to high school with, about the song she said “turns out I went to High School with a lot of people!” Then a new song, never been released, When I Get To Drinkin, I listened closely to the lyrics and it was just beautiful and sad all at the same time but relatable in many ways, I really hope she releases it at some point.
Hungover was a song I listened to about 15 times on the way back from Nashville last year. It always reminds me of watching the sun rise from the plane window on the way back. Though again it has a hint of sadness it’s actually quite an uplifting song, the way it ends. And then instead of going off stage and making us scream for an encore Brandy said we’d cheered loud enough throughout the whole show and so she began to talk about her penultimate song. I began crying before she even got to the singing as she explained how Since You’ve Gone To Heaven came about, in fact I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house as she sang it with such emotion. She apologised and said she would leave us on a high as she concluded her set with Pray To Jesus. It was just such a magnificent night, seeing one of the greatest songwriters tell her stories in these clever songs. I liked that it was acoustic, it was intimate and I felt like we were hearing the songs exactly as they were created, every lyric, every line sung was heard and understood and the crowd, minus a few rude people talking at the start of the show, were so supportive and enthusiastic which was great to be a part of.
So there you go, it was one of the most inspiring nights for me and a night I shall never forget. I said though that that wouldn’t be the only thing I discussed in tonight’s post. As I’ve previously mentioned Ben Glover has a new album coming out tomorrow, The Emigrant, it’s certainly well worth a listen so go and grab your copy and whilst you’re there don’t forget to grab your copy of My Universe by The Shires which is also released tomorrow! They shall also be doing signings in HMV stores across the country next week so don’t miss out on your opportunity to see them and have your CD signed!