Megan O’Neill heads up inspiring songwriters round in London

Americana singer-songwriter Megan O’Neill is joined by Mark Sullivan, Emma Stevens and James Fredholm for a showcase of songwriting talent at London’s Slaughtered Lamb. 

On a Friday night in October, Irish-born Megan O’Neill brought together a round of friends to share their songwriting talents with a room full of music lovers. Their In The Round tour kicked off just a few days earlier and will be hitting a few more towns across the country.

Megan alongside Mark Sullivan, James Fredholm and Emma Stevens each share songs from their respective songwriting careers – past, present and future – in a cosy setting at Old Street pub The Slaughtered Lamb.

Originally from Co. Kildare in Ireland Megan O’Neill is one of the UK’s most exciting new Americana artists. As a long-time musician and songwriter, Megan released her debut EP Coming Home in May 2015, which climbed to No. 1 in the Irish country charts. On Friday she released her latest single Why I Need You which she played live for us as part of her five-track showcase. The haunting ballad is a beautiful display of O’Neill’s chill-inducing vocals with just the backing of her piano. The piercing track tells of falling in love and how you think you don’t need anyone until you meet the person of your dreams. On top of her latest single, Megan also plays songs from her first EP such as Don’t You and another new track with Bottle which focuses on issues of addiction. In the last round, Megan invites young singer-songwriter Katie Ray on stage who has previously worked with the likes of Liv Austen. Their rendition of Set Me Apart is all the harmonies-perfection you need. Their voices mingle like red wine and a crackling fireplace, and make you feel just as warm inside. With Megan’s new album just finished, the release better hurry up quick, because it’s going to be a good one! 

Check out the video for her new single:

Hertfordshire-based singer-songwriter Mark Sullivan mastered the loop pedal and shines with executed guitar solos alongside his intense vocals. At age 15, Mark formed his first band Gekko which ended up playing venues and festivals including Dublin Castle, Bulldog Bash and Rock In The Park as well as performances on local BBC Introducing shows. In 2013 Mark decided to pursue his dream of a solo career. Tonight, Mark impresses with tracks like Warm Your Bones and Words Fail Me as his raspy, fierce vocals go down like a good whisky and remind a little bit of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

Following his childhood in the US, poet and artist James Fredholm has lived in London and Zurich for the past 30 years. In late 2016 James published Uncaged, his first collection of poems. This was closely followed his debut album of original songs Love Is The Answer in April 2017. This evening James’ inspiring poetry and catchy harmonica add a hint of rawness to the stripped back performances. His track Oars originally started as a poem and tells all about how life can be repetitive with its bluesy attitude.

British singer-songwriter and multi -instrumentalist Emma Stevens released her third album To My Roots earlier this year. It’s a collection of songs inspired by the mix of music she grew up listening to including James Taylor, Paul Simon, The Dixie Chicks, The Corrs, Carrie Underwood and more. Emma embodies a folk-pop ray of sunshine with her bright voice and foot-tapping tunes. As she launches into her first song of the night, written with Nashville buddy Liz Rose, she reminds us how important it is to stop and spend time with your loved ones. Stories are a-plenty with Emma Stevens on this night as she tells us about sharing a tour van with men who hadn’t showered in days (probably weeks) and regretting the decision to camp outside on a cold November night in France. “I’ll take smelly boys over that any day!”, she says. The singer also shares an even more personal story with us. Sunflower marks the first song Emma wrote after the passing  of her mom five years ago who always encouraged her do what she believes in, and she used to play her Spanish guitar.

As the evening progresses the artists lend additional backup vocals or instrumentals to each other feeding off each other’s skills and songs. To add a cherry on top of an evening shining with talent, Megan, Mark, James and Emma play a flawless cover of the late an great Tom Petty’s iconic Free Falling.

Don’t miss Megan O’Neill in Manchester and Chester this week, plus she will also be appearing alongside Sarah Darling, Gary Quinn, Raintown, Darcy and Simon James at the British Country Music Association (BCMA) ‘Best of British’ concert at the Robin 2 in Bilston, Wolverhampton on 21 October 2017.

16 October – Gullivers, Manchester
18 October – The Live Rooms, Chester


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