Twelve songs that made C2C Country To Country 2016
Three days of country music across the biggest indoor venues in London, Glasgow, and Dublin. You wouldn’t have thought it possible just a couple of years ago. But it is and it happened. If you’re suffering from withdrawal, or you’re just wondering what all those cowboy hats and checked shirts were doing in your city over the weekend, here’s our guide to the songs that made it special.
Maren Morris - ‘My Church’
A lesser known - for now - artist to start with, as the 25 year old Texan wasn’t a main stage performer. But building on the momentum the song has built up over recent weeks you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing ‘My Church’. Whether in the Town Square on Sunday, or the Yamaha Stage on Saturday Morris was belting out her infectious ode to country music and its icons. After writing songs for other (including Kelly Clarkson and Tim McGraw) it seems like she kept the best for herself. A wise decision.
Carrie Underwood - ‘Little Toy Guns’
The belter from Oklahoma has left her American Idol days so far behind her it’s almost impossible to think that’s where she started over ten years ago. Headlining the festival for the second time Underwood put on a show which culminated in a run of four of her biggest hits, starting with this Grammy nominated hit. Of all the headliners the Oklahoman was the highlight of the weekend.
Chris Stapleton - ‘Whiskey And You’
And talking of highlights of the weekend… Stapleton has so many showy songs, like the booming ‘Fire Away’, that the surprise of his set was not the ear shattering reception that he received but that the solo ‘Whiskey And You’ was the highlight. And by highlight we’re talking about the weekend. The shivers, chills, emotion, that can be received from one man and a guitar sometimes leaves you speechless.
Kacey Musgraves - ‘Die Fun’
Having made many trips to the UK over the last couple of years Musgraves is no stranger to London. Her Country & Western Rhinestone Revue brought colour (raspberry suits for the band) to C2C, and a sprinkling of fairy dust. Only the 27 year old could turn that into an O2 party tune. Still the best song she did was album track ‘Die Fun’; more melancholy live and with a fantastic extended guitar coda ended the song in the most delightful way.
Eric Church - ‘That’s Damn Rock And Roll’
Another album track made good in a live environment. With Church suffering from illness it took backing singer Joanna Cotten to bellow him into life. Almost literally blowing him off his feet with her roaring rock vocals, Church could not stop grinning. Whether you subscribe to the song as country or not there’s no doubting that it worked the venues rafter hard.
Thomas Rhett - ‘T-Shirt’
While many country traditionalists didn’t bother to show for the set opening of the weekend those that did were treated to a high energy turn from the ‘Crash And Burn’ singer. And whilst he won’t have changed any minds he did produce the best pure pop songs of the three days; just take a listen to ‘T-Shirt’ and try not to hum it for hours: “T-Shirt / Right there / Your hair / Messed up like a Guns-N-Roses video.”
Sam Hunt - ‘House Party’
The rap/speak/singing style of the Georgian singer is another divisive one in the world of country music. And again, he’s definitely more mainstream pop. Still ‘House Party’ turned the O2 into that very thing for three minutes on Saturday night. Great energy, great fun.
Old Dominion - ‘Break Up With Him’
The Nashville quintet were this years The Shires, in that they were everywhere. If you missed them at the afterparty on Saturday then you would have seen them on the BBC Radio 2 Country stage, or the C2C Sessions stage. Their switching of “band-aid” for “plaster” in the opening chorus was a demonstration of the sheer likeability of this band.
Little Big Town - ‘Day Drinking’
These are the songs that country music is all about: booze. The Saturday night party really got started when the marching whistles of this tune kicked up. The blonde / brown foursome perfectly pitched their support slot for Carrie Underwood, flashing lights and crowd pleasing. Lovely stuff.
Miranda Lambert - ‘Gunpowder and Lead’
The main portion of Lambert’s first UK visit culminated in this no holds barred turn from her 2007 record Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Dropped in after three of her biggest hits it was a great way to lead into the encore.
Ashley Monroe - ‘Weed Instead Of Roses’
It turns out that we Brits like our rebel songs, one of the reasons Miss Musgraves has gone down so well. In London Ashley Monroe was restricted to just three songs, all of which were sweetly delivered, though none quite as much as this alternative love song.
Andrew Combs - ‘Too Stoned To Cry’
A wonderful performance perfectly summed up by these words from Twitter: "mellow with moments of genius and possibly the most depressing Country song I've ever heard #toostonedtocry"