As we’re ony days away from the start of a New Year I thought I’d take a look back over the country scene of 2011.
It was the year when thankfully more American artists appreciated the fact that country music was alive and well in Britain and decided to visit.
Appearances in our area of one of the newest acts The Secret Sisters, complimented by Lyle Lovett and Raul Malo who were all part of the SummerTyne Americana Festival held at the Sage Gateshead, and Glen Campbells Farewell Tour at the City Hall Newcastle. Other artists giving us their music included Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley,Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, Suzy Bogguss, Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters to name only a few.
It was also great to see new releases on the traditional front from Connie Smith (her first album for years), Merle Haggard with ‘Working In Tennessee’ and a fifty track release from the Storyteller Tom T Hall.
New artists Sierra Hull, John Ray, Sarah McClurg (who also toured Britain from Canada), and Shawna Russell also put their stamp on the extending country market.
Ronnie Dunn’s first release as a solo artist after his split with Kix Brook from the famous Brooks and Dunn duo partnership proved his worth as a soloist with his self titled release and Buddy Holly’s backing band The Crickets proved their affection for country music with the release of ‘Turning On The Country’.
An across the board mix of Buddy Holly songs in the shape of ‘Listen To Me’ CD also complete with DVD gave various artists the chance to shine with their interpretation of Holly’s songs.
Sadly no Great North Country and Western Festival this year as lack of support forced the organisers to rethink, however if the right sponsorship can be found it may take place in 2012.
Already artists have been scheduled for next year with Gretchen Peters, Nanci Griffith and Don Williams (coming out of retirement) appearing at The Sage Gateshead and the return of the Wembley International Festival held on February 26th at the Wembley Arena London.
Here’s wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2012 filled with great country music.