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Whether you’re in the mood for some sweat, heat and excitement, for taking a soothing dream ride along psychedelic soundscapes, or maybe to wallow in bittersweet self-pity over the love you just lost, there’s always the right band at the right time. I’ll be your pathfinding captain through the desert of dust and guitars, so fill up your flask and follow me.
If you’re a seasoned country-western music fan – or even if you know nothing of the genre but are on the lookout for some soulful melodic tones – Melkweg have lined up a stellar night of three acts who could be right up your street: American Young, with support acts Sasha McVeigh and Loveless Effect.
Never before has the country-western genre been more accessible to European audiences.
If you were to do a litmus test of today’s country music scene, it would look something like this line-up. Whilst these acts all define themselves as within the genre of country music, the breadth of styles and influences exemplify that this genre is evolving and encapsulating more than the traditional, straight-up country and western sound. Never before has the genre been more accessible to European audiences. Ahead of the concert, I sat down with each act to chat to them about their journey within this vibrant scene.
Headliners of the concert are the Nashville-based stars, American Young. Fronted by Kirsty Osmunson (previously the fiddle player of Bomshel, who -trivia alert- featured a hit on the film Evan Almighty) and also by Jon Stone, prolific songwriter, producer and singer (who has written hits for Kenny Chesney, Lee Brice and many more major country stars).
So, two very impressive CVs. I asked Kirsty where the name, American Young, came from, “Jon is from Oregon and I’m from Canada – both of us grew up amongst mountains, living a free independent life with very similar lifestyles and values. We both feel we are a product of the places we have been, and that’s where the name American Young came from.”
Both now living in the heart of the scene, in Nashville, these two are ecstatic to be in such a musical environment. “Back in Nashville we’re lucky enough to play with Grammy-nominated musicians, it’s amazing”. Whilst the pair began writing with Jon on guitar and Kirsty on the violin, using their vocals to powerfully harmonize, they now tour with a full band: bass, drums and electric guitar included.
They list a broad spectrum of influences, from Ed Sheeran and his raw acoustic concept, to the Rolling Stones and Elton John, so not to be pigeon-holed into one genre.
Their music is designed to reach out to the soul with melodic sensibilities; it’s a dynamic show, as Jon says, “… that will have the audience on their heels one minute and on the tip of their toes the next.” They list a broad spectrum of influences, from Ed Sheeran and his raw acoustic concept, to the Rolling Stones and Elton John, so not to be pigeon-holed into one genre.
I also had a chat with UK-based country talent, Sasha McVeigh, as she walked her dog in the Hereford countryside. She’s one of the support acts, and she’s fresh to the scene, with her first album released just last June on Kickstarter. And it didn’t go unnoticed by the American country scene; impressively, she toured around 15 country festivals in the States and Canada last Summer, often on the main stage, and also often the only British and unsigned act.
Sasha, who goes by her own name on stage – “I can’t be anyone else other than myself.” – writes from her own experiences and with great emotional depth. She easily slots into the soul/pop category, citing influences as Adele and Taylor Swift. She’s performing with her band, and is excited to debuting new material from her upcoming EP, due for release in May.
And the first support act on the bill are lifelong friends, Seth, Forest & Justin, otherwise known as Loveless Effect. Think Nickelback meets Foo Fighters, and more recently are introduced to White Denim. This is Arizona blues-rock, with Americana licks, soaring landscapes, coarse vocals, big wailing guitar solos and hammering keys. The trio are promoting their eponymous debut EP, fronted by the single Standing In The Rain.
So, whilst the show is billed as a country-western gig, and of course has a distinct taste of America, I believe there’s a little something for every Amsterdammer and visiting European, as long as they are looking to feel emotional soul from their head through to their toes.
American Young / Sasha McVeigh / Loveless Effect
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