Thursday, 20 March 2014

C2C Country to Country 2014 Pop-Up Acts

C2C Country to Country 2014 Pop-Up Acts

Reports, Audio, Video, UK Chart & Twitter reaction 

Over the C2C Country To Country 2014 weekend (March 15 – March 16m, 2014) it provided the opportunity for 29 almost entirely unsigned independent acts to showcase themselves to the thousands of people attending the 02 Festival.

C2C2014 Pop Up Stage Artists Wallpaper CLICK to ENLARGE
Photo Credits: Frography (by Flex) - Facebook Gallery
kind permmission courtesy of Hels Bels Photography (Helen Parish)
 Find her on Facebook - Twitter - Website

 An eclectic selection of up-and-coming acts appeared on the Pop-Up Stages, some such as the O2 Shop stage resembling merely sidelined busking stages to bigger platforms at the Town Square and Brooklyn Bowl Stage.

Those appearing over the weekend included:
Ann Doka (Germany), Carolynne Poole (UK), Curran (UK),  Dexeter (UK), Emma Jade (Garbutt) (UK), Frankie Davies (Jersey), Gary Quinn (UK), Hometown Show (UK), Jessica Clemmons (USA), Jill & Kate (USA), Lisa-Marie Fischer (Germany), Lisa Redford (USA), Luke and Mel (UK), Maria Byrne (Ireland), McKay (UK),  Raintown (Scotland), Star Lane (UK), Stephen Kellog (USA), Stevie Agnew (Scotland), Striking Matches (USA), The Diablos (UK), The Dirty Beggars (Scotland), The Shires (UK), The Sonny Walters Band (UK), Thorne Hill (UK), Tom Wright ( UK), Ward-Thomas (UK), Alan West (UK)

Ahead of the C2C festival Stephanie Manns joined Gaby Logan on BBC London on her 9th March 2014 show to talk about her debut album and play a live version of her song "All Over" on the show - soundcloud.com

4000milestonashville Country 2 Country 2014 Review – Pop Up Stage Acts

The number of Pop Up acts had trebled compared to 2012 and perhaps there was too many on the bill all striving for a slice of the country pie for the C2C visitors to take in and have a lasting impression. There was also the distraction of the pubs and eating establishments along with the live Six Nations Rugby matches.
It is hard enough as it is for UK artists to make any sort of impact especially on a National scale. 
Bob Harris (Radio 2’s “Country King”) had only previously played 2 of the 29 participating acts on his shows with seasoned West Country songwriter Alan West (name checked by Harris on Fridays Chris Evans morning show) about to become a third with a recorded live session due to be shown. Alan also took part on the Pop Up busking stages in 2013 along with Glasgow Vocal duo Raintown. The current BCMAward Duo of the Year (nominated by and voted by unknown individuals) who comprise full time vocal artists 27 year old Claire McArthur and 33 year old Paul Bain, were again back with supporting musicians and a full band format who are able to play for them.  
#C2C2014 - It Must Be love,
Soon to be Mr & Mrs Raintown
courtesy of Hels Bels Photography: 
Fresh from playing at the “Country Collective” event in Canary Wharf on Thursday they drew a large gathering to their Sunday slot on the Brooklyn Bowl Stage.
Most of the Pop Up acts are on the contemporary side of the country picket fence writing and producing original material.
With a more younger and Internet savvy C2C crowd here they did not have to explain who they are and what they do. In the past I have witnessed a, young, award winning, highly talented UK artist (sadly no longer on the country scene) not be well received by a Country Festival crowd and at a hotel event where the punters only wanted to hear Jim Reeves numbers to dance to and we’re not taken by quality original material. The Line Dance and UK Country Music Club circuit (who are more interested in a beat to dance to than appreciating a song and its lyrically qualities) also offers little to many of  the C2C Pop Up acts who are better suited to more listening room, pub and club gigs on the singer-songwriter circuit. 

The evidence to date is that in terms of the UK there is no real appetite for original country music from UK homebased artists who remain in the shadows of young Irish stars like Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh who are able to both sell and chart well and have successful tours.

UK band McKAY fronted by Tim McKay who played both the Brooklyn Bowl and Town Square stages signed to a major worldwide label EMI/UNIVERSAL towards the end of 2013. They later hung out at Rascal Flatts hotel with whom they have toured on their Euro dates. It still remains a long wait to hear any commercially released music from them despite some media buzz since their Wembley Festival appearance over 2 years ago.

Hampshire duo Ward Thomas who appeared twice over the C2C weekend seemed to have made an impression on the Bob Harris team. They were recently played and will appear on Weekend Wogan on Radio 2 on Sunday March 23rd. They have made several trips to Nashville to record an album and promote themselves making radio stops. Their first UK EP comes out on 7th April (iTunes)  

Recently The Guardian stated that “country music has never been more popular in Britain” citing Taylor Swift (an artist whose music is not classed as country by the UK Official Chart Company) as opening doors and encouraging other major US acts to make the trip to the UK to broaden their appeal worldwide. So has there been any big lifts from this for UK acts? Well McKay landed the support for Rascal Flatts but lost out on opening for The Band Perry and Brad Paisley. They did get to open for Brantley Gilbert in Manchester as did Raintown in Glasgow but generally it has been other US acts or pop/rock acts landing opening slots. Taylor Swift opted for a young pop boy band to open for her at her 5 sold out O2 shows.

#C2C2014 Carolynne Poole (UK)
meets US duo Jill & Kate
This years C2C saw added glamour from 2 female acts who have had their 10 minutes of TV fame on The Voice UK (Emma Jade Garbutt; Battle Rounds exit with Team Tom) and Carolynne Poole the first country artist to make the Live stages of X Factor 2012 only to go out on the first week. Both artists have yet to release any music and maybe were quickly forgotten by the public in a throw-away world. Hopefully their C2C appearance will have jogged some memories. In Carolynne’s case with her stunning Shania-like looks, talent and a strong voice if she can come up with some hot songs and the right marketing she has the potential to become pin-up material. I’m sure she pushes all the buttons and ticks all the right boxes with her male fans. With trips to Nashville in April due for songwriting we can only hope that great things will come of this. She certainly packed in the punters at her Brooklyn Bowl Stage appearance on the Sunday backed by The John Taylor Band (see image).

#C2C2014 Pop Up Artist Audio & Video             
>> Listen to Carolynne’s phone interview with Peter Levy's on BBC Radio Humberside broadcast on March 13th. She talks about X Factor and forthcoming C2C Country To Country Festival at London's O2 - soundcloud

>> Listen to David White on BBC Radio Cornwall talk to Maria Byrne - audioboo.fm (Podcast)
>> Listen to David White on BBC Radio Cornwall talk with Crissie and Ben at C2C who are country music duo The Shires.  They are currently writing in Nashville ahead of recording their debut album - audioboo.fm (Podcast)

>> Watch lovely singer/songwriter Lisa Redford performing original song >> “Love Won't Let Me Go” on the Town Square Stage at C2C Country to Country Festival. Her latest album THE SWEETEST DREAM came out Feb 12, 2014 which is a compilation of love songs from Lisa's 3 albums plus acoustic versions. Find all her music on bandcamp.com
>> Watch Stevie Agnew performing “Paid My Dues on The Brooklyn Bowl Stage
>> Watch Curran performing “Blood On Blood and a few other associated songs on the O2 Shop Stage
>> Watch Hannah Jane Lewis as she performs new song >> "Worth The Wait" at C2C 2014 on The O2 Shop stage on Sunday March 16th 2014. Hannah is accompanied by her sister Grace on backing vocals and Richard Clarke on guitar.
>> Watch Jill and Kate perform a cover of Katy Perry's >> "Roar" on The Armadillo Stage on Sunday 16th March.
>> Watch Striking Matches perform "When The Right One Comes Along" (from the Nashville ABC drama) on The Armadillo Stage
>> Watch Thorne Hill performing (using backing tracks!) on the Armadillo Pop Up Stage >>  YouTube
>> Watch Raintown performing “Right Here With Me” >> YouTube and a cover of the Johnny Cash hit classic  “Jackson (penned by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber) on The Brooklyn Bowl Stage

Outside of C2C can UK artists successfully get their music in front of enough people?
Yes the C2C is now in its second year and the Nashville TV drama is back on our scenes. The fact remains that country music’s percentage 1.7% of all albums bought (shrinking market) and 1 in every 200 singles bought was of the country genre during 2013. There was no increase in retail sales for country music in the UK compared to 2012. With Inde shops and Record Fairs disappearing over the years and only HMV left in some towns music has become of less interest on peoples radar. The sales of compressed digital music has also overtaken physical product.
Music Week.com published findings (Article: Smart phones top device for UK country fans) from some 400 country fans questioned for a study, which was presented on Monday (March 17) at the CMA’s International Marketing Summit at the British Music Experience within the O2 in London. UK country fans are mainly using smart phones to access music from the genre because of a lack of homegrown radio stations playing it. Research undertaken by the Country Music Association found 77% of followers listened to the music in that way, while 62% did so via a laptop and 57% via radio.. Around one-third (32%) had purchased a country CD in the last year, 31% had downloaded music, 18% attended a concert and 35% viewed videos. There was also evidence of UK fans accessing country music stations in the US to hear the music. This appears to reflect little support for country music on the main UK stations, outside BBC Radio 2.

So which artists have received a C2C2014 bounce at retail?
Striking Matches
Checking the iTunes UK Top 1500 Country Albums Chart on Monday shows that the major label headline artists paced most of the Top 10 places. The newly signed Striking Matches who drew the biggest crowd at a C2C Pop Up event were the real winners even outselling the brand new release from Sara Evans!

Raintown’s now 3.1/2 year old album made credible progress up the chart to #392 as the first C2C UK act.
Gary Quinn made some headway with his 2 albums and Tim McKay’s solo album reappeared.
Thorne Hill a UKCountryRadio.com finalist did show on the chart in the lower regions briefly on Sunday but soon fell off the top 1500 positions. Other C2C Pop Up artists to not appear or have no music currently commercially available

This is now the chart looked (Monday March 17, 2014):  

1. Dierks Bentley - Riser (q updated to #10, March 19)
2. Brad Paisley - Wheelhouse (Deluxe Version)  (q updated to #6, March 19)
3. Zac Brown Band - Uncaged  (p updated to #1, March 19)
5. The Band Perry - The Band Perry  (p updated to #3, March 19)
6. Rascal Flatts - Changed  (q updated to #11, March 19)
8. Chris Young - A.M.  (q updated to #14, on March 19)
10. Dixie Chicks - The Essential Dixie Chicks  (q updated to #22, March 19)
13. Zac Brown Band - The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1 - EP  (p updated to #5, March 19)
14. The Band Perry - Pioneer  (q updated to #19, March 19)
15. Brad Paisley - This Is Country Music
19. Dierks Bentley - Home
20. Zac Brown Band - The Foundation
21. Chris Young - Neon 
23. Striking Matches - Striking Matches – EP  (p updated to #12, March 19)
52. Martina McBride - Greatest Hits
392. Raintown - Hope In Troubled Times (q updated to #413, March 19)
747. Gary Quinn - Gary Quinn (q updated to #999, March 19)
785. Maria Byrne - Back to You – EP (p updated to #763, March 19)
855. Stevie Agnew - Wreckin' Yard (p updated to #637, March 19)
930. Tim McKay - Chasing Dreams  (p updated to #837, March 19)
1162. Gary Quinn - This Cowboys Heart – EP (q updated to #1400, March 19)

What were the C2C Pop Up acts saying on Social Media about their C2C2014 experience:

Frankie Davies - Had an INCREDIBLE day today at The O2, thanks so much to C2C Country to Country for having us, we had an epic time. And what an a amazing crowd, thank you so much for being so welcoming. X

Hannah Jane Lewis - THANK YOU to everyone who came and watched my set today!! You were the BEST - Image - Image

Emma Jade Garbutt - This weekend I've played to some of my biggest crowds yet, seen some of my idols on stage and drank way too much beer. I think we showed London how country music does it

Emma Jade @EmmaJadeMusic  - Thank you @C2Cofficial for giving me the best weekend I could have asked for. Genuinely so inspired! Same again next year?! :p

Hometown Show - We had a fantastic time playing at Country2Country at the O2. Our stage was packed and our signing was super busy too. We couldn't of asked for a better reception. Hope we can do it all again next year!

Lisa-Marie Fischer - Toller Auftritt auf der Town Square Stage. Herzlichen Dank an die Londoner Fans!

Lisa Redford - So much fun playing the Armadillo stage at C2C Country to Country what a fantastic weekend!

Luke Thomas & Melanie Greggain - Well what can we say.... This weekend has been absolutely amazing! We are so proud to have been able to play at the O2 Arena.

McKay - Wow!! We had a blast today!! Thank you to everyone that came and packed that place out!! You're amazing. Our apologies to those who could not get in due to it being so full.

Raintown - Thank you to everyone who came along to check us out at the Brooklyn Bowl (their first ever capacity show) and we're so grateful for all the support - we love you guys!

Starlane - Soooo.... Starlane gig at the 02 was immense and the band pulled together just in time and played like superstars! It was a very successful event! So as you are probably aware our guitarist has left the building and we are recruiting a new one!
Star Lane sounding superb on the O2 Shop Stage - Instagram

The Dirty Beggars - Wow we just played at the O2 Arena in front of about 1000 folk in stetsons, boots and daisy dukes! Turns out lots of people love country music!

The Shires @theshiresuk  - Thank you so much to EVERYONE for you kind words today. Still buzzing from playing, such a great event! Thanks for having us

Alan West - Thanks to all at C2C Country to Country.....We had a blast!!!!! - Image

Tom Wright - The O2 was AMAZING!!! Thank you to everyone who tweeted, Facebooked, came along, we had a blast!!!
Ward Thomas - c2c2014 Thank you thank you thank you for an AMAZING day and weekend! Bringing country music to England!!! Wohoooo!!! The O2 was AMAZING!!! Thank you to everyone who tweeted, Facebooked, came along, we had a blast!!! #o2arena #c2c2014

C2C Pop Up Stage Twitter Reaction

Al Booth (BBC Radio 2 producer for Bob Harris) tweeted @albooth2  - Watching @Stephen_Kellogg @C2Cofficial . 2nd time I’ve seen him and he’s terrific . Thoughtful and compelling songs and lovely guy
Al Booth @albooth2   Watching multi talented colleague Maria Byrne with this lot @HagenMark

Carolynne Poole

Emma Jade Garbutt

Ward Thomas

Maria Byrne


Loving @GaryQuinnMusic at @C2Cofficial with @McSills Thanks for the signed album!! #newfans #hugsandkisses x - Twitter Image

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