The impact that Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have had over the past whirlwind 18 months has been so great, the UK country music scene really now falls into two dynasties: pre-Shires and post-Shires.
In March 2015, when their debut album Brave became the first British country album ever to enter the UK top ten, it signalled an amazing breakthrough for the English duo and confirmed that the attitude to country music in the UK had changed for good. Their second album, My Universe, released in September 2016, has gone gold
Now it’s official: Britain has home-grown country to be proud of, crafted by artists not from Tennessee or Texas, but Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Carrying the torch in the footsteps of George Jones and Waylon Jennings, Chesnutt plays nearly 100 dates a year.
He has four platinum albums, five gold albums, 14 No. 1 singles and 23 Top10 singles to his name; his trademarked voice has shaped the music of today’s country music newcomers and the new country music generation. Mark has recently released a new album, Tradition Lives, which has received a warm welcome from fans and critics alike.
2016 saw Ashton Lane perform at the famous Country 2 Country festival in London, as well as receiving nominations in two categories at this year’s BCMAs (British Country Music Awards) for best duo and best song. They also played an impressive set at McEwan’s Party At The Palace in August, and toured extensively round Europe in October and November 2016. Their most recent album Nashville Heart received five star reviews.
Ashton Lane kick off 2017 with a string of UK dates and they are returning to Germany and Denmark by the spring for another tour.
The band has a romantic back-story and come from fine musical stock. Ashton Lane are husband and wife duo, Esther and Tim O’Connor and they are part of a new wave of homegrown modern country music originating in the UK.
One of of the artists flying in from Nashville this year, Adley was named a winner of the Hyundai and The Recording Academy® fourth annual GRAMMY Amplifier® program, alum of NBC’s hit singing competition show “The Voice” (Season 2, Team Blake Shelton) and the featured Music performer at the Miss USA telecast.
Her military tribute single & video “Stay At Home Soldier” drew accolades across the board and was featured on 115 iHeartmedia Country station websites, Syndicated “Taste Of Country Nights” radio show and Slacker’s “Weekly Country Countdown”; she performed live in front of more than 100,000 fans throughout the year, including the CMA Fan Fair in Nashville.
Hailing originally from Breckenridge, Texas, Morgan grew up on country music; artists like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Hank Sr, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow etc. However, she also listened to the music that her dad loved – AC/DC, CCR, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, while her mum also exposed her to Motown and funk. A pretty wide spread of music therefore formed the way she thinks about music – “I’m a song person. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. I love it all.”
In addition to her successful appearances on the US version of The Voice in 2015 and the release of her album ‘The Best’ later that year, Morgan has developed a reputation as a fine songwriter, collaborating with some of Nashville’s finest to write songs for a number of other artists, as well as for her own next recording. As a regular performer in Nashville’s Lower Broadway clubs, Morgan has all the attributes you could hope for to deliver a great set for country music lovers.
Ray got his start in his native Michigan, a state known for the likes of Bob Seger, Ted Nugent and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey. While leaning a few chords on his father’s guitar, Ray gravitated towards the sounds of country, classic rock and folk, listening to people like Garth Brooks and Dwight Yoakam as well as James Taylor.
He knew he wanted a career in music, but Ray did the prudent thing and pursued a college education at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. He ended up playing regularly as a solo acoustic artist at the Cabin, a major college hangout in the mid-Michigan area. He still returns to the North Country on occasion to play at the venue where he honed his chops and learned how to work an audience.
When Ray moved to Nashville in 2010, he hit the ground running, performing almost as soon as he pulled into town. In addition to performing in acoustic, in-the-round settings, Ray also performed at Paradise Park on Lower Broadway for a few months before landing steady gigs at Honky Tonk Central and the Legendary Tootsies Orchid Lounge.
In conjunction with the release of his first album “Earthquake’ in 2016, David played a number of festival and stadium shows last year supporting top country artists like Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Tim McGraw and Zac Brown Band.
**line-up details subject to change**
For further information about the festival please visit the Millport Country Music Festival website.