With country music experiencing huge growth in the UK over the last few years, Ticketmaster has been taking charge in spreading the country music love with a dedicated country guide and a stellar showcase, Three Chords and the Truth, on 22 October that featured US rising star Jimmie Allen, homegrown talent Laura Oakes and Irish Americana songwriter Megan O’Neill.
Held right at the start of Country Music Week, it seemed like the perfect time to shout about the up-and-coming talent a little louder. Chart-topping and multi award-winning Irish-born singer/songwriter Megan O’Neill kicked off the round with her charming Americana sound and vocals that’ll give you goosebumps.
Written four to five years ago, Half of Myself was the first track Megan shared with the crowd. Anyone who’s ever seen Megan live knows that when she starts to sing the room goes deadly quiet as everyone hangs on her every word and note. This also showed with her other songs of the evening – Don’t You, which was featured on hit US TV show Nashville, and Ireland about her home.
As Jimmie Allen played his songs it was clear why he's one of the hottest US country acts on the scene right now. His charm is killer, his songs are catchy mainstream country and the stories behind them are even better. The Southern Delaware native’s talent for songwriting is undeniable, having penned a track that was featured in a Super Bowl commercial and appeared in a Diet Coke ad with megastar Taylor Swift.
Blue Jean Baby, off his debut self-titled EP, was the song he played first, with the sweet-as-honey Country Lines following. The highlight of Jimmie’s set was without a doubt, Warrior, which is dedicated to his grandma whose purple scarf he wears on his hip so she’s always with him.
Liverpool may not be the usual breeding ground for burgeoning country pop superstars, but Laura Oakes is an exception to the rule. A two-time winner of Best Female Vocalist at the British Country Music Awards and a top 5 artist on the iTunes UK Country Music Chart, Laura had the room-silencing voice and songwriting chops to rival her heroes Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Martina McBride.
She explained Nashville is where she finds her inspiration before her warm voice echoed softly with Nashville Stole Your Girl. Laura also played Learn to Be Lonely Again with its wonderfully old-timey feel and closed the night with her country pop anthem Better in Blue Jeans while reminding everyone that as much as we love Nashville artists, we also have a whole lot of incredible country music talent right on our doorstep.
To see more photos from Ticketmaster's Three Chords and the Truth country showcase head here.
By Marie Ladisch (read the full review here)