With special guest Charlie Worsham who’ll be touring the UK next week with Lucie Silvas.
On Thursday evening, UK alt-country duo Two Ways Home hosted their monthly Round Up, a songwriters round at Gail’s Kitchen in central London. This edition featured Claydon Connor, Laura Evans and Alex Maile, Charlie Worsham and a pop-in from Zane Cardey.
Claydon Connor kicks off the round with his 2015 track Which Road, which he wrote on a lads trip with his dad. The Isle of White native impresses with a softer voice than is usually the case in country, it almost has a rockabilly feel to it. He follows his opening song with upbeat heartbreak tune Hello, Heartbreak Blues and in the second round he whips out the harmonica – now we’re talking! He tells us how he used to listen to Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and how his heroes inspired Whiskey Nights.
Next up in the round: Laura Evans, who brought along songwriter Alex Maile on guitar and back-up vocals for tonight. The two initially met at C2C and ended up writing a few songs together, a great match if you ask me. Only Smile For A Photograph is first on their list for the night. A track about how pictures tend to look perfect when really they aren’t. Laura tells us bluesy stories of heartbreak and how several bad tinder dates (we’ve all been there!) made her long for more romance – and The Old Fashioned Way was born with its sunny, light feel. Laura’s big vocals give her tracks depth and heart with a hint of urgency in the choruses.
Special guest of the night, Charlie Worsham, is up next. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter will be kicking of his UK tour on Monday supporting Lucie Silvas across the country and Ireland. For a few moments Charlie made us forget we’re in central London and took us to Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Cafe – minus the whiskey, but with grappa instead. Mississippi in July is just a taster of Charlie’s songwriting talent this evening. Personal favourite of the night goes to Take Me Drunk – a song about getting drunk (obviously) and picking up girls, which tonight Charlie dedicates to the beloved grappa at Gail’s Kitchen. It has an old-school country feel to it, a heavy dose of Johnny Cash with a jukebox attitude. As the last song, he plays us the love ballad Old Time’s Sake, which, let’s be honest, is one of those songs that have you drift off into a fairytale land somewhere where the boys still walk you to your car, with its barely there guitar picking and soft vocals.
Hosts of the evening, Two Ways Home, take the last, but certainly not least, spot in the round. Isi and Lewis host these rounds most months and it’s truly a treat to see all this talent in one room. Poor Isi just had her wisdom teeth removed recently she tells us, but it’s barely noticeable and she still delivers that amazing voice of hers. Up-beat number Just For Now is their first track followed by ballad Take My Hand which highlights the band’s incredible harmonies, especially in the chorus. Their latest single Outlaws is also included in tonight’s set list. It’s romantic wild West feel reminds of an outlaw love story, horses and open land included (where do I sign up?). This is followed by ballad Better Days and up-beat, catchy track 2 Short Years, featuring tales about prison (sort of) and guest guitar picking by Claydon, Alex and Charlie.
To add the cherry on top of this songwriters-round-sundae, songwriter and guitarist Zane Carney popped in to play a few songs as well. Zane used to tour with John Mayer, playing guitar. He’s been on tour throughout Europe and had just gotten off a twenty hour bus ride from Denmark to come and play for us. Sharing Charlie Worsham’s guitar, which sparked a bit instrument nerding between the two, he performed I Want To Have Faith Again and I Don’t Believe In Ever After.
One thing is for sure, a songwriters round is on of the most inspiring gigs you can attend if you’re a bit of a music geek. It’s wholesome and most of all, a lot of fun. Thanks to Two Ways Home for putting this on and spreading the country music love in the UK capital.