★ ★ ★ ★
The borderline was packed last night. It’s a small venue, but the promise of both an American and UK artist, draws a broad country crowd. Dexeter opened the evening, playing as a duo, rather than a full band, but Gareth’s guitar and impeccable backing vocals were the perfect accompaniment to lead singer Dee.
This band have come a long way in the past couple of years, and it is so encouraging to seE the audience singing along to their original songs. Their debut album, Four Thousand Miles to Nashville, was released earlier this month (review coming soon!), and their set was peppered with new songs (Getaway Car), old favourites (Something Gold), even a James Bay cover. There is something almost magical about Meet Me There, clearly a fan favourite; you can’t help but smile while listening to this band.
Angaleena Presley played with a full band, and proved she is about as country as they come – how could you not love an artist who covers both Merle Haggard (Working Man Blues) and Loretta Lynn (Fist City) in one set? She didn’t rely on her Pistol Annie fame – despite her ‘Holler’ guitar – and instead predominantly played songs from her incredible solo album, American Middle Class.
Her lyrics are witty and meaningful, and her songwriting prowess is obvious. Her stories of growing up in the American Middle Class – Knocked up, Better off Red and Dry County Blues – are immediately relatable. She showed her feisty side during a couple of acoustic tracks, that for relatively obvious reasons did not make the album, (but I think we all wished they had!) If You Bless My Heart, I’ll Slap Your Face, and Poor Little Pussy Whipped Boy were a perfect choice for this gig.
After the show Angaleena waited to sign autographs and take pictures with every fan. She was gracious and seemed genuinely touched by her newfound fans. It was a brilliant show, full of laughter and excitement, the perfect mix of both uptempo and sad songs, and Dexeter, the perfect opening act. During the show Angaleena commented that she was touched, but surprised, that the audience were all singing along to her music, ‘but how did you find it!?’ I can assure you that after last night, we are glad we did.