10 acts to see at The Long Road Festival
The first year of a new festival usually throws up some challenges with naming a strong line-up. The standard conundrum is: focus on your headliners or focus on the undercard? Well The Long Road Festival has gotten around that by naming a stonking line-up throughout, from
Saturday night headliner Carrie Underwood to Brit-country's Megan O'Neill and Laura Oakes, and Texas country fave Aaron Watson and Virginia's finest Folk Soul Revival. To help wade your way through the awesomeness here are our ten acts you seriously have to see.
Having just finished up her second UK tour of 2018, the singer-songwriter from Charlottesville, Virginia is familiar to us Brits. Or she should be. The Long Road will give her tunes like 'Softball', 'Hotel Amarillo', and 'Slow Dancer' the wide audience they truly deserve.
Now we've raved on about Holler Annie (she's one-third of Pistol Annies) plenty of times on the site before; whether it's her debut album, its follow-up, or her live shows, we're fans. The Kentucky native is playing Saturday and Sunday, and you'll hear a mix of her stories, her humour, and her bloody good songs. Listen out for 'Dreams Don't Come True', 'Bless My Heart', 'Knocked Up' and 'Better Off Red'
If you want to get to know an artist that's regular then tap into some of this guy. A record every two years since 2012 hints at a prolific songwriter. What makes the Oklahoman different is his wandering across genres, from the folk-y Americana of 2014's self-titled record, through the electric blues of 2016's The Very Last Day and 2018's country rock Other Arrangements. But they're broad generalisations, the flexibility of style and sound is something to behold.
An artist that's been too quiet for too long, the Tennessee born singer-songwriter last graced the UK at C2C back in 2017. She made a great impression with her last record, Shuteye, an Americana rock joy, but a lack of new music until the last week or so was a nuisance to say the least. Still, it's out there now and we can expect more new stuff at Stanford Hall.
Dave's cousin is a star turn in his own right. Second record, Providence Canyon, grows exponentially from his 2016 debut. Slinkier, funkier, more sublime, the Georgian's set will be one of the highlights; from the killer '30-06' to the country groove of 'King Of Alabama' and slacker chat of 'Solving Problems'.
One of the genuine best things about the festival is the chance to see acts like Dori Freeman in the UK. Her 2017 record, Letters Never Read, was one of the best of last year in any genre. Flipping from acoustic, acapella songs like the wonderful 'Ern & Zorry's Sneakin' Bitin' Dog' to melody-driven stunners like 'I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight', Freeman will absolutely be one of the highlights of the weekend.
Ferris & Sylvester
You could call this British duo folk, but they're kinda blues too, with a tiny bit of rock thrown in. Any which way they're a bewitching live act. The guitar of Archie (Sylvester), the vocals of Issy (Ferris), and the harmonies and music of both, well, it's blistering.
Another hidden gem that The Long Road has unearthed is Las Vegas native Kashena Sampson. Last years debut, Wild Heart, was an unheralded slice of beauty. Announcing herself with the rollicking country of 'Greasy Spoon', it's the quieter, more thoughtful tracks that really grab you. If you hear one song this weekend, do yourself a favour and make it 'She Shines'. It'll blow you away. Carrie who?
Everyone in the UK knows Charlie by now right? He's an adopted son of the country community here. Still, Beginning Of Things, came out of nowhere. It's a stunner. The title track is one of the best songs for a long time, then there's 'Southern By The Grace Of God', 'Please People Please', 'Cut Your Groove', and the frankly too damn clever 'Take Me Drunk'. Empowering, emboldening, embracing, emphatically great.
There's plenty of traditional country alongside some of the new fangled stuff at The Long Road, but there'll be no-one doing it quite like Mr Jukebox. From the authenticity of the music itself, to the man who play at Robert's Western World on a weekly basis, this is as real as Nashville country can get.
Tickets are still available for The Long Road Festival, which is on the 7th to the 9th of September 2018.