Following a packed schedule of events and shows, the first ever UK Country Music Week came to an end last night. The Sunday Daytime Hub at The Borderline saw performances from Jake Morrell, Two Ways Home, Raintown, Logan Brill and Walker McGuire and in the evening fans had to choose whether to go to The Bluebird Café night at Bush Hall or stay at The Borderline for alt-Country artist Jace Everett. It was a tough choice to make but both events were suitably packed out!
I chose to stay at The Borderline having interviewed Everett earlier this year, I was curious to see what he was like as a live performer. Best-known for his song Bad Things, which was used as the theme tune to TV series True Blood, Everett showcased songs from his latest album Dust & Dirt. Opening his set with Woke Up in This Town, a moody track with a bluesy undertone, Everett was joined for the evening by guitarist, producer and songwriter Dan Cohen.
Everett established early on in the set that he enjoys being self-deprecating and he has a sarcastic sense of humour. After playing a succession of songs from Dust & Dirt, he assured the audience he was going to bring out the hits later before joking that he only had two. Another running joke was asking for a bourbon with ice, which a kind audience member eventually bought and passed along to the front of the stage.
Musically Everett is always an interesting listen and he doesn’t stick to one particular sound or genre. He surprises with more romantic moments like Green or Blue, inspired by his wife who was in attendance last night, before commenting on the state of the world on the urgent What We Do. During that song, Everett commented on the gun laws in America to cheers from the crowd although a mention of Brexit didn’t go down quite as well. Golden Ring came with a story about how he lost his wedding ring causing issues with his wife early on into their marriage. Everett told the story with deadpan humour and the crowd found it very entertaining.
Great American Hero ushered in a string of songs from across his catalogue and let into Bad Things, which undoubtedly got the biggest reaction from the crowd. He asked the audience if there was anything they wanted to hear and when someone shouted out God Made You Mean, Everett played a small section of it before stopping and saying he couldn’t remember the words and it was from a particularly miserable time in his life. The Good Life was a highlight and Pennysylvania, a favourite of Everett’s daughter, got the audience clapping and stomping their feet when instructed by the lyrics.
Your Man, which was recorded by Josh Turner and co-written with Chris Stapleton, was another moment where the crowd really came to life. Everett himself recorded the song for his album Old New Borrowed Blues in 2007 and it’s a damn fine song. Everett returned to material from Dust & Dirt for his final song performing the excellent Rescue Me, which is one of the best tracks on the record.
Everett is one of those artists who is even better live. I enjoy listening to his music but he really comes alive on stage. His banter with Cohen was very funny and he’s a great orator. Musically he pulls from a wide range of influences and genres, which makes his live set engaging and rich with variety. It’s testament to the strength of Dust & Dirt that the audience lapped up the new material heavy set and lost themselves in the great music.
Set list: 1. Woke Up in This Town 2. Green or Blue 3. Under the Sun 4. Golden Ring 5. Someplace 6. Free (Don’t Ask Me) 7. What We Do 8. What We Do 9. Lowlands 10. Great American Hero 11. Bad Things 12. The Good Life 13. Pennsylvania 14. One of Them 15. Your Man 16. Rescue Me Performance date: 8th October 2017