REVIEW | Country on the Clyde 2020
Reviewed by: Doddie Munro
The weekend of the 14th and 15th of March saw the 4th annual Country On The Clyde at The Ferry on the River Clyde in Glasgow. This event usually runs in the afternoon before many of the audience would be transferring to The SSE Hydro to the C2C Festival but as we all know this year due to the extreme health pandemic C2C was postponed.
As always UK Country Live along with Buckle and Boots Festival did a remarkable job of organising the event and decided on a fantastic line up of artists. Due to the ongoing travel restrictions and the possible health issues surrounding the current pandemic two acts withdrew from the festival. Sophie Hansen and Ashton Lane were unable to attend but replacements were found for them. Most of the artists were homegrown talent and I hope that the people who had never taken much time to listen to the UK Country scene realised what talent we have within our shores.
Day 1 at The Ferry:
Saturday morning started with a fine set from Joe Martin who some of you might have heard before, but he was a newbie for me. Singing his own tracks, he proved a lively start to the weekend and got the audience in the mood for the four and a half hours of entertainment. The next part of the afternoon consisted of Riley, Gary Quinn and Raintown. Each artist took their turn talking about the songs they had chosen before singing them, and then passed along to the next act to take their turn. During this set Riley did a brilliant cover of Landslide. Gary Quinn in his usual chirpy mood managed to slot in one of his cheekier numbers and Raintown along with their guitarist Stevie Lawrence certainly didn’t do their already brilliant reputation any harm with their choice of songs. The three acts each had their own unique way of relating their stories and portraying their music.
Another new face for me was next on stage, Laura is a Welsh lady whom I had a lovely chat with after her set which again was full of her own music with an odd cover in it too. I really did enjoy Laura’s music and I hope she will be back in our area when all this covid 19 problems allow musicians to tour again.
Festival favourite and this years lone American Jenn Bostic was next up to keep the music going and was as brilliant as ever. As she was going about her set, she explained that a lot of people can’t decide which category she fits into, Country, Church, Blues or anything else but Jenn is an entertainer no matter how you describe her. Jenn just nailed her set in my opinion, and she is always welcome back on these shores. All artists took time to speak to fans, sign merch and allow photos to be take. A BIG shout out must go to Laura Hancock, Megan Louise, and all others who kept the merch stall going all weekend.
The afternoons headliners were the up tempo, rocky country cat Gasoline and Matches. Steven Marks and Sally along with their band had the place bouncing. The cheekiness of Sally mixed with the musicianship of Steven make for a brilliant mix. Jenn Bostic joined them on stage for one number and it was a great sound. What a way to end day 1.
Because C2C had been cancelled the organisers of our festival had hastily managed to arrange 2 nights of music at The Blue Arrow jazz venue on Sauchiehall street featuring some of the local acts that had been chosen to appear on the pop up stages at C2C. Saturday nights acts were Kevin McGuire along with his guitarist Mikey Smith, who featured a lot of the set he was due to do on the stage at the Hydro, Liv Dawn a young lady from Loch Lomond area also did a few of her own numbers and a few covers. Gary Quinn, Luke Thomas, Gasoline and Matches and Megan Louise all took turns to sing and an all-star jam also took place. There was also a wee DJ session afterwards to keep the night going.
Day 2 at The Ferry:
Day 2 started with a brilliant set from rising star and all round lovely young lady Megan Louise. I have spoken very highly about this young lady in previous reviews but to see the progression she has made in just under a year of me 1st seeing her just makes me so glad I am now able to call myself a family friend. Megan’s stage presence has improved so much, and she is such a funny person when trying to explain her songs. At 17 years old I’m sticking my neck out to say there are big things ahead for her. Her singing is right up there with the very best on the UK’s scene.
The songwriters set again was kept in order by the host Gary Quinn along with Chloe Jones and Kevin McGuire. Gary kept the in the round going and again all 3 artists did 3 songs each along with the stories associated with the song writing.
Due to the imposed travel restrictions our next scheduled act, Sophie Hanson was unable to attend but wow what a replacement the team had lined up for us. This guy should really be sponsored by a leading tissue company as a lot of his songs have that effect on people. Scott Ashworth has some very emotional songs relating to his time in the armed forces. His songs Never See Colour Again and The Things That I’ve Seen tug at my heart string every time.
The next act on stage was BCMA multi award winner Jade Helliwell. Jade has made herself a big hit in Scotland over the last few years and is always welcome on any stage up here. Along with the BCMA musician of the year Mr Luke Thomas she didn’t disappoint us at all. With a mix of old material, new material and covers Jade’s performance was as good as I’ve ever seen her.
As our last act took to the stage a lot of us were waiting with anticipation to see the BCMA artist of the year Kezia Gill, Kezia had travelled overnight from London to attend the gig and I’m sure she must have been a little tired but that didn’t take anything away from her fantastic performance. She had even managed to fit a wee guest appearance onstage with Jade to give a great performance of Cams hit “Diane”. Anyone who follows Kezia would have heard of the sad loss of her dad a few weeks ago but give this lady credit she vowed to keep battling on and performing. Kezia intimated that she wouldn’t be able to sing her song written about her dad which is very understandable, but she did include one song that hit home and as her mum was with her, poor mum was very emotional.
This was the end of an exceptional two afternoons of music which thoroughly deserved the rousing ovation at the end when Gary spoke at the end of proceedings. Again, all praise must go to the organisers and a great well done must also go to the incredible artists.
Sunday evening’s After Party Jam was again in The Blue Arrow and spots from Riley, and local lad Chris Andreucci kicked off the night good style. Each had their own songs for us to hear and they both included a few covers.
Kevin McGuire joined Kezia, Jade, Luke and Gary to end the night of live music and with some great music and covers made the weekends live music a hit with the crowd. Another DJ set concluded the weekend that I hope has enlightened many of the non-UK music attendees maybe just think again. Once again, I must congratulate the organisers of all these events over the weekend and look forward to 2021