CMA Songwriters Series 2017



On Thursday 9th March at the Indigo2, 5 songwriters brought Nashville to the UK. Kristian Bush, Drake White, Maren Morris, Liz Rose and Mac MacAnally told us stories and sang us their best-known hits and some lesser-known songs to people in cowboy hats and boots, who had flocked to the sold-out venue to hear the raw talent of these songwriters away from the clean-cut performances of the bigger stages. These songwriters nights are a place where artists can jam together and tell the stories behind their hit songs and this one was spectacular.

Kristian Bush began with Sugarland's hit 'Stuck Like Glue' and continued with solo numbers like 'Flip Flops' and 'Love or Money'. His debut performance at C2C five years ago (he was the first act to ever play the festival) acted as the catalyst for his now hugely-successful solo career and he seemed truly humbled to be back and we're more than happy to have him!

Drake White was one of this year's break-out stars at C2C and, getting to see him sing with just his guitar was absolute an honour: this guy's going to be HUGE. Currently signed to Dot Records, Drake's sophomore album 'Spark' was released in 2016 and reached number 4 on the US Country charts. He played his songs 'Back to Free' and 'I Need Real', which are about getting back his small hometown, Hokes Bluff. Also on the set-list was 'Everybody's Got A Story', which he also played on Radio 2 Country over the weekend, and 'Making Me Look Good Again'. He has promised* to write a song called 'Champagne Button' with the other 4 artists so watch this space...

Maren Morris was sure to be a hit this year following the success of her debut album 'Hero'. She confessed that he was overwhelmed at last year's C2C when she played 2 songs on a satellite stage, 'Bummin' Cigarettes' and 'My Church', and people knew every word. In addition to those songs, she sang '80's Mercedes' and 'I Could Use A Love Song' - the latter was written after another writer asked her what she was missing from her album, and that was her response: "I could use a love song". She then announced her UK tour and, well, she had won everyone in the whole room over.

Side note: shout out to the guy in the "fifties baby in my noughties Vauxhall" t shirt, you're an awesome person 😂

When Liz Rose was handed the floor, she confessed that she wasn't sure why she was invited: after her set it was clear that she more than deserved her spot. She played her song 'Grocery Money' alongside Taylor Swift classics such as 'You Belong With Me' and 'White Horse', but her most powerful rendition was of 'Girl Crush', the Little Big Town hit she co-wrote with Hillary Lindsay and Lori McKenna - apparently while she was cooking eggs (?!). The whole crowd sang along and Liz was noticeably moved when the crowd sang the verse acapella, wiping away tears from her eyes. The highlight of her set for me was 'I Don't Have Ex Boyfriends', a song that she wrote as a joke mocking her string of failed marriages.

Mac McAnally is a complete legend of country music, having written songs with Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney, and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame: the other artists on the stage had so much respect for him and rightly so. He sang his song 'Down The Road' which he recorded as a duet with Kenny Chesney: he wrote the song after staying up all night on Christmas Eve trying to find batteries for his daughters' presents and was sitting outside in the early hours of the morning. He also sang 'Back Where I Came From' and the beautiful piano ballad 'On Account of You'.

A complete highlight of the night was The Shires winning their first ever CMA award and coming on stage to collect it.

Let me know if you were there and what your favourite moments were!

Shay x

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