My love for country music began when I was very young. I still remember being in the car with my mum and asking her to put on my favourite songs including Lynn Anderson – Rose Garden, Billie Jo Spears – Blanket on the Ground, and a whole host of Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire classics.
I used to love singing along at the top of my voice with my younger sister. It really is one of the best memories from my childhood.
My grandad was the beginning of the country music tradition in our family. He sadly passed away when I was seven, but 20 years later, listening to the songs he loved takes me back to spending time with him. It’s a kind of bond in our family, something my mum and I share a passion for.
I just love discovering a new artist or a song I haven’t heard before, and sharing it with her.
I remember my first live experience; when I was eight I went to see the Hayley Sisters with my mum. I was the youngest in the audience but totally loved it. Meeting them after just defined my love even further and from then on I just wanted to see more.
Living in the UK and Devon in particular meant it was always nothing but a dream to see the amazing artists I adored, but last year a dream of ours came true by going to see Dolly Parton live at The O2. It was always something my mum had dreamed of doing with my grandad so it was emotional to say the least but wow, she can certainly put on a great show. I think I was on my feet all night, just in awe of her. I don’t think anyone can argue at what a legend she is.
I still love all the classics and they feature frequently on my playlist.
I have also come to love all of the new country artists, and Country To Country continues to introduce me to so many more. Some personal favourites at the moment are Brandy Clarke, Luke Bryan, The Shires, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum (admittedly some never really leave the playlist).
It’s so great to see artists such as The Shires, who played as part of the pop-up stage at C2C 2014, with their own shows across the UK. I think there’s something pretty special about seeing any artist on a pop-up stage or smaller venue before the world knows about them. I can’t wait to see what the pop-up stage has to offer this year.
Country music in the UK just seems to be growing and growing. You only need to go to any live event to see how much people are in love with it. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling and I feel a bit smug to think I have been lucky enough to enjoy it for the past 27 years! It’s so amazing to see so many different people enjoying the music and I just love to see children enjoying it with their parents.
I can’t wait to see the future of country music in the UK; we’re definitely ready for more so bring it on. What an exciting time to be a country music fan!
Now we’re in the two-month-countdown to C2C, I’m sure everyone is just as excited as me. If you’re anything like me you’ll spend the next few months listening to endless tracks and discovering new songs you’ll fall in love with, ready to have the best time at C2C 2015! See you there!
Country To Country takes place at Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow on 3 and 5 March, and London’s The O2 on 7 and 8 March – get C2C tickets today.