2018 – Looking Good Already! – Lesley Hastings

I was thinking about writing my “Best of 2017” article but as most of my choices have already appeared on this site in review form I decided to look forwards to next year instead……and it’s already shaping up to be a great one! Here’s what lies in wait for me so far concert-wise, with tickets already purchased and excitement already mounting!
I’m super thrilled (slight understatement!) to be US bound again in late January to catch my all time favourite country artist Brandy Clark perform at what looks like an amazing venue, the City Winery, where the incredible Angaleena Presley will be the opener. As well as seeing these ladies perform their own headline shows this year I was also lucky enough to catch them together in Oslo an part of the CMA Songwriters Series. Both have a real way with lyrics, with the ability to have you laughing one minute, then deep in thought and often close to tears the next. And they are fantastic performers too so this should be a very special evening. Brandy is currently working on material for her next album so there may even be some brand new songs on the set list!
Just a week later I’ll be in Guildford to see Courtney Marie Andrews, I caught her live twice in 2017, acoustically at the very intimate The Social then with her full band at Bush Hall, both concerts were incredible and I’m really looking forwards to this one. It’s looking like it will be a cosy affair in this traditional English pub, again I’m hoping there will be a few new songs showcased as well as those I’m familiar with  particularly some from her excellent 2016 album “Honest Life”. More UK dates from Courtney Marie follow in April.
The next night Sam Outlaw plays Milton Keynes Stables, I’m hoping he’ll be joined as usual by one of my 2017 “discoveries” Michaela Anne (if you are unfamiliar with her please check out her latest album “Bright Lights and the Fame”)

and the same week sees me London bound for Jess and the Bandits rescheduled tour …..congratulations on your recent wedding by the way Jess…..to promote their recent album “Smoke and Mirrors”.  Always a very fun and energetic band live, it should be a great night at the Borderline!
March…..well of course there’s C2C which has a particularly strong female representation this year but before catching Kacey, Margo, Sugarland, Emmylou and all the others too numerous to mention here at the O2 I’m excited to be seeing UK artist Jade Bird who I caught opening for Brent Cobb early this year and who was super-impressive on all counts. Since then she has been writing and performing across the pond and creating quite a name for herself over there….Rolling Stone has listed her as “ one to watch”….and she released her excellent debut EP “ Something American” last July

Late April sees the return to these shores of Whitney Rose, who’s Green Note show this year was one of my 2017 highlights. Since then her fabulous album “ Rule 62” has come out, I can’t wait to see her again and hear some of the tracks live in the larger setting of The Islington where I caught both Margo Price and Aubrey Sellers playing this year. She is such an entertaining artist with a fabulous band, this was the first gig I booked for 2018!
A few days later I’ll be seeing our own Catherine McGrath live for the first time…..someone I’ve wanted to catch perform for a while now but fate conspired against me each time….she’ll be at the wonderful Bush Hall and from what I’ve heard from those who have seen her live and judging from her studio recordings this should be great!
Mary Gauthier is an artist who’s emotional and personal writing never fails to move me. Her 10th studio album, “Rifles and Rosary Beads” is released next month and with all its tracks written with and for wounded veterans it sounds as if it will be a particularly powerful collection. I’m intrigued to hear the results, and will be catching her London show in May at King’s Place

Later that month sees the first of my two pre-booked 2018 Gretchen Peters shows, the second in June. Gretchen is an artist who never fails to impress me with her writing and performing and who I have seen live numerous times. Her recent (only) UK show of 2017 gave a taste of what to expect from her new album which is due for release in early 2018 and i can’t wait to get my ears around it and of course to see both these shows.
Well, that’s all (!!) I have booked so far next year………reading this back I’m already feeling quite exhausted but also exhilarated at all that next year has to offer……oh and I’m off to Nashville in late June too, who knows, I may JUST catch some live music while I’m there!!
I’ll be posting reviews and ( hopefully!) interviews from at least some of these shows so keep an eye on the site!

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