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Catherine McGrath is having a busy year. As well as her current tour, the 20-year-old Irish singer-songwriter has got another headline run coming this autumn; her debut album Talk of This Town is out in July, and she’s performing at numerous festivals this summer including BBC’s Biggest Weekend in Coventry, and appearing alongside Michael Buble at British Summer Time Hyde Park.
With her current single Wild receiving airplay on Radio 1 and country music rising through the ranks of the UK pop scene, she is well positioned to be the next big thing.
Here’s what we learned during her show.
Settling any misconceptions about the genre, she explains how she fell in love with country music through American band Rascal Flatts’ storytelling lyrics. Covering one of their tracks, Ellsworth, you can hear in her voice the emotions she felt when she first discovered the song. There are very few artists today that possess a sound of innocent vulnerability that she manages to achieve. It’s a breath of fresh Tennessee air.
Crossing boundaries, tonight’s audience are a complete generational mix and enthusiastically cheer as she takes to the stage. With songs reminiscent of a young Taylor Swift, it is no surprise to hear that not only does she cite Swift as one of her inspirations, but she also joined up with writer Liz Rose who co-wrote Swift’s early work, during her trip to Nashville. Before performing Cinderella that she wrote with Rose she expresses that everyone must visit Nashville because of “the best burgers and live music in every bar”.
In a very apt venue laden with shimmering disco balls and pretty fairy lights, it’s easy to escape into her world. Admitting she will never get used to hearing the audience sing her songs she plugs her album excitedly throughout the show and plays a few exclusives from the record. Enlightening us that she wrote Wild after watching Coldplay in concert the song draws on the relatable experience of going on a date with a guy still hung up on his ex. With the crowd agreeing that it’s already a classic she sings Hell Would Have to Freeze Over from her first EP.
With a big tour later in the year the show is just a taste of what’s to come from Catherine. Closing the set with her story of moving to the big smoke, Talk of this Town, it’s a neatly created show that leaves the audience itching for more.
Tickets to her September Talk of Your Town Tour are on sale now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.