Review by Simon Large
C2C Country To Country 2016 opened with a bang at the Indigo at The O2 in London. The CMA Songwriters Series, where some of the top songwriters from Nashville come together to showcase their talents was an amazing evening. It really gives you an insight into the way the songwriters were thinking when they wrote their songs. Each songwriter talked about and sang a song and it then it moved along the line to the next one and back round again from the beginning.
Shane McAnally started the event and included a number of songs that he was involved in writing with a favourite being his version of 'Follow Your Arrow' which was of course a huge hit for Kacey Musgraves.
Next up was Ashley Monroe who included her own hits 'Like A Rose' and a great version of 'Weed Instead Of Roses' which was requested by the audience. My favourite though, was her version of 'The Truth' which Ashley wrote with Brett James and was a big hit for Jason Aldean.
If you've heard Ashley on the radio or on her CDs then you should see her live because she takes it to a whole new level.
Charlie Worsham was next to perform, opening with his song Mississippi in July and including a new song which I'll call 'Boo Ba Ba Boo Boo Boom' and you'll know which song I mean if you were there but I think real title might be 'Lawnchair'.
One of the highlights for me throughout the whole evening was Charlie's guitar playing which was absolutely fantastic, not only on his own songs but also backing some of the other artists.
Charles Esten was a big surprise. Sadly I'm still on season one of Nashville so haven't heard much of his singing on the show but he belted out some real rocking songs, including one that really appealed to the UK audience, a story of a first love that never leaves you,'Beer'.
Charles also sang a superb rendition of the ballad 'I Know How To Love You Now' which he wrote with one of my favourite artists Deana Carter and appeared in season 3 of the TV series Nashville, and it was live from The Bluebird Cafe.
Last of the songwriters but certainly not the least, was the superbly talented Lori McKenna, who not only writes great songs but also has a great voice to boot. I liked the story of her husband's boat that they may call 'Bonus Track' which shows just how tough it can be to not only get a hit single but how tough it is to get a track onto an album.
Well Lori has had many other successes including the current single by Tim McGraw called 'Humble And Kind' and Lori performed the song brilliantly.
Shane McAnally sang Mama'a Broken Heart as his last song, which he wrote withBrandy Clark and Kacey Musgraves and then surprised everybody by asking Miranda Lambert to the stage where she performed 'Heart Like Mine' alongside Ashley Monroe.
The last song of the evening brought the audience to their feet and that was Lori McKenna and Ashley Monroe singing the CMA single of year 2015, Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' in which the audience sang an acapella version of the first verse again to close the evening, and I think that one verse sung by a UK audience may just have shown Lori a lot of love for the song.
What a fantastic start to the weekend of live music both in London and Glasgow as C2C Country to Country got underway for 2016!