Back when I was a teenager I couldn’t bring myself to listen to country music because that is the music that my parents loved. My Mum and Dad were great people but liking the music that they liked just wasn’t cool, or at least that is how my teenage brain saw it. But over the years I have grown to love really good country music. People like Roseanne Cash, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and albums like ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ by the Byrds. I have also grown to appreciate artists like Elvis Costello and the Rolling Stone’s forays into country. In fact the classic Stones country pastiche from 1978, “Far Away Eyes” is one of my favourite Rolling Stones songs. Anyway having listened to Katy Hurt quite a few times recently, particularly her 2017 album ‘Pieces Of Me’, I thought I would check out her live show at one of York’s great venues, the Fulford Arms.
But before I tell you more of what Katy did, there is the little matter of the support act, Luke Saxton, a rather talented singer-songwriter from York. Luke is a storytelling troubadour with an immaculately downplayed sense of humour. This bloke knows how to entertain and has a wonderfully warm interaction with the audience. His songs remind me of an George Harrison, Harry Nilsson and sometimes lyrically of a young Mark Knopfler. His John Martyn cover was pretty ace, but his own songs are his real strength.
There was a positive hum of expectation as Katy Hurt and her band took to the stage. Katy is recognised as one of the British County music scene’s rising stars, but her authenticity in the genre is enhanced by the fact that she actually grew up in the USA, in Long Island New York. Still in her mid twenties Katy has been singing since she was four years old. The band kicked off like a Saturn V rocket off the launch pad with two proper thumping country rock tunes. Katy really knows how to work her crowd, and to be fair there were some real hard core Katy fans at stage front, apparently this was the third time that Nigel had seen the band this week! New song “Over And Done” sounded good when it was given a beautifully played airing early in the set. The band are hugely talented and help Katy show that she is more than “just” a country singer. There are blues elements, country rock like the Eagles and I suspect that this band could play any genre, particularly the guitarist who really makes his instrument sing. Katy’s song’s are what really makes the show though. Last year’s “Sounds Good In A Bar” single is clearly a fabulous song but also a brilliantly crafted crowd singalong fest. If pushed I would have to say that “Ride Home” was my personal highlight and is my current favourite Katy Hurt tune, although the first encore song,”Unfinished Business” was a close second. Both of these tunes are built on a kind of sad lament but build into fiery crescendos. The bluesy set closer totally showcased the depth of style that Katy and her band have. It was on this song that I thought Katy evoked her inner Dolly Parton so well. Check the tour poster at the head of this post, you might still be able to get tickets to see Katy play live!
Speaking of Dolly, she turned down her nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame this week which lead to a lot of on line chat about who might play on and produce the “hopefully great rock ’n’ roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do!” (extracted from Dolly’s Twitter statement). Well I reckon Katy and her band should be involved in that record somehow. Let’s get this message to Dollyworld as soon as possible!
All photos, apart from the tour poster, were taken by me (not on my cheap Chinese Android phone) on a proper camera! Videos were all found on YouTube.
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