Country to Country

So tomorrow is Country to Country, or C2C at the O2. This is a big deal. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a 2 day country music ‘festival’ in London, and there is a pretty impressive lineup of American Country music artists, including Tim McGraw, Vince Gill, Little Big Town, Brantley Gilbert, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, and a couple of others. And it’s been EVERYWHERE. Have you been watching Nashville on More4? You will have seen it advertised during the breaks, along with Carrie Underwood’s album. And did you, like me, receive a text from EVERYONE you know this morning saying ‘OMG Tim McGraw is on BBC!’ And according to the BBC, it’s Tim McGraw’s first ever UK concert, and it’s also the first time I’ve seen him. Not only that, but if you had a look at the American Country Countdown, you’ll see that this is Tim McGraw and Little Big Town that occupy the converted number one and two positions respectively. This would be a big night even for an American Country music audience.

I will be there tomorrow, but not Sunday, as I think the lineup on Saturday is far stronger. Tim McGraw has been an important artist for years now. Remember Indian Outlaw? That was released in 1994. Why hasn’t he been over here yet? There are still a few tickets left, but as far as I can gather, ticket sales were impressive, and there are talks of C2C becoming an annual event. If I’m honest, I’m nervous to see Tim McGraw. I first heard him when I was 10, when i was living in Oklahoma. One of my first albums was his first Greatest Hits album, and it’s still one of my most played. I think that era of his, up to Live Like You Were Dying, I think epitomises country music of that time. His latest album, Two Lanes of Freedom is good, there are glimmers of old Tim there, but recently, In my opinion, he has tried almost too hard to appeal to this newer more alternative country audience, think fans of Jason Aldean, Colt Ford etc, but he doesn’t need to compete. He’s Tim McGraw. On the subject of Tim McGraw however, he picks songwriters well. Look at the incredibly small group of writers credited on Two Lanes of Freedom. He’s on to something there. Also, Faith Hill is here with him, so keep your fingers crossed.

I will also have the pleasure of seeing Vince Gill, for the fourth time. However, I’ve never seen him do a full set of his mainstream hits, which I imagine he will do tomorrow. I’ve seen him at the Ryman, playing bluegrass, The Station Inn with The Time Jumpers, and at the Grand Ole Opry, where he did one of his songs and a Buck Owens cover. A friend once said to me, ‘thank God you don’t have to be as talented as Vince Gill to make it in Nashville.” I know what he means, if he is half as good tomorrow as he has been every other time I’ve seen him, the entire day will be worth it. I’ll also get to see LBT, and I’m looking forward to it as they’re a band I’ve watched climb the charts and become the number one band they now are. The most interesting addition to the line up, in my opinion, is half of Sugarland. I’m assuming Jennifer Nettles is busy with her baby, so it’s just Kristian Bush. The rest of the artists have clearly been chosen due to chart presence or longevity, so if he’s doing his own solo thing, I’ll be curious to see how it goes down in an arena full of people waiting for Live Like You Were Dying. Yet country audiences are hugely loyal, I know whatever he does will go down ok, but I’m curious. Will he just sing all of Jennifer’s parts to Sugarland songs? Who knows.

I will write a review shortly after the show, and depending on what my favorite song tomorrow is, ill post a new lyric of the week (I promise it wont be Truck Yeah ). I’ll be tweeting while I’m there. Now all we need to do is to get the Roots and Boots tour over here…

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