Influential Women of UK Country – Interview #1 Annette Gibbons

Welcome to a brand new series on Belles and Gals, where we interview some of the most influential women on the UK country music scene. To start with, we had a chat with Annette Gibbons, the founder/owner and CEO of UK country music website, Think Country, who gives us an insight into the artists that inspired her love for the genre and why she began her site.

To start with, tell us a little about yourself!

I may live in the UK but my heart belongs in Nashville! I’m originally from South London, but moved to Dorset in 2000. I live with my husband and daughter. We all love travelling.

I’ve been visiting Nashville since 1995 and think of it as my second home. I’m happiest with family and friends, a beer in my hand listening to live country music in the sunshine.

Tell us how you first got interested in country music? Was there a particular artist who sparked that interest?

I’ve always loved music and looking back to my childhood there were a lot country music influences. But what really peaked my interest was watching CMT in the early 90s and seeing a young man called John Michael Montgomery. I just loved his sound (and look!) I soon became a dedicated watcher of CMT and 90s Country will always be my favorite type of Country.

Country Music has now obviously become a huge part of your life since starting ‘Think Country’. What inspired you to start the site?

I saw Country Music was slowly becoming more and more popular on social media and I realised that others had a thirst for more music and more information about the artists. So I thought it would be a great way to share my passion of country music with other fans and hopefully help them discover new music.

If you had to pick a highlight since you started ‘Think Country’, what would it be?

I have been extremely fortunate since starting Think Country and have attend some wonderful events. But I would have to pick a lunch show at the Ryman put on by UMG music group. Over a lunchtime I got to see over 20 major artists including Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley and then Keith Urban, Vince Gill and Chris Stapleton jamming (while I ate my packed lunch) or a close second would be interviewing John Schneider (Bo Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard).

If somebody hasn’t visited your site already, what can they expect from ‘Think Country’?

Think Country has a team of writers and photographers based in The UK and USA. We bring you a mix of festival and gig reviews, interviews and news on head-lining and up and coming artists. We also have a section #ThinkNashville where we will be covering things to do in Nashville.

If you were in charge of C2C 2019, who would headline Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

Not that I have planned this in my head a million times….

Friday Garth Brooks
Saturday Kenny Chesney
Sunday Luke Bryan

There would be a good mix of male and females, new artists, legends, traditional and popular artists.

And if you had to pick a rising star who you are sure is going to the very top, who would you choose?

There are a few artists that have really caught my eye recently. But the one that I think will reach the very top is Carly Pearce. She has an outstanding voice, great stage presence. She can draw you in with a ballad and make you dance to an upbeat number. The right mix of vulnerability and sass!

Why do you think so many in the UK have this real affinity with the genre?

I think many of the fans (like me) love the story telling aspect of the songs, the lyrics are often very relatable. I also think people enjoy experiencing the live of a song, travelling to places sung about, drinking the drinks, supporting the teams in songs.

It also covers all generations. Its music you can listen to with your children, friends, parents and grandparents.

If you could change one thing about the country music scene here in the UK, what would it be?

I hate the arguing over what is country music! I understand it’s the passion about the genre that brings out the arguments. But I wish people would stop being so judgmental. I personally enjoy all different types of country music.

To finish, tell us the last gig you went to, the last album you played and the last song you listened to on your phone!

The last gig I attended was Key West Songwriters Festival in Key West Florida. I love the storytelling side of the music and to hear some of my favourite songs and the stories about them in such a beautiful setting was breathtaking

The last album I listen to was Dan + Shay’s self-titled album

The last song I listened to on my phone was Carly Pearce and Hide the Wine.

Interview conducted by Nick Cantwell (twitter.com/nickbelles_gals)

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