Ticketmaster hosts songwriter’s round with Jimmie Allen, Laura Oakes and Megan O’Neill.
With country music seeing a huge growth in the UK over the last few years, the UK’s leading ticket agent is taking charge in spreading the country music love with their country guide and a stellar showcase on 22 October featuring US rising star Jimmie Allen, homegrown talent Laura Oakes and Irish Americana songwriter Megan O’Neill.
Held right at the start of Country Music Week, it seemed like the perfect time to shout about the up and coming talent a little louder. Chart-topping and multi-award winning Irish-born singer/songwriter Megan O’Neill kicked off the round with her charming Americana sound and vocals that’ll give you goosebumps.
Written four to five years, Half Of Myself is the first track Megan shares with the crowd. And for anyone who’s ever seen Megan live knows that when she starts to sing the room goes deadly quiet because everyone is hanging on every word and every note. This also shows with her second song of the evening, Don’t You – which was featured on hit US TV show Nashville. And if you weren’t blown away by Megan’s talents at that point, her last song Ireland about, you guessed it, her home, would be sure to do that. The new track saw Megan switch from piano to guitar with her admitting she’s not the best guitar player. But with those vocals, we don’t even pay attention to any tiny guitar errors as we are far away on the emerald island in our heads. Afterward Jimmie Allen is entirely blown away by the track saying “You can’t write a song like that about America!”.
As Jimmie plays us his songs it becomes clear why he is one of the hottest US country acts on the scene right now. His charm is killer, his songs are catchy mainstream country and the stories behind them are even better. The Southern Delaware native’s talent for songwriting is undeniable, having written a song that was featured in a Super Bowl commercial and appeared in a Diet Coke ad with megastar Taylor Swift. “Blue Jean Baby,” off his debut self-titled EP. This is also the song he plays first with the sweet-as-honey Country Lines following.
The highlight of Jimmie’s set is without a doubt, Warrior. Dedicated to his grandma whose purple scarf he always wears on his hip so she’s always with him. Warrior is a beautiful track celebrating the powerful and strong women in his life. Another heart-warming love song is on the cards as Jimmie finishes his set with hit single Best Shot. It’s the tune that saved him a spot on all the “one-to-watch” lists of US country music and scored him a top 5 country radio song.
Liverpool may not be the usual breeding ground for burgeoning Country Pop superstars, but Laura Oakes is an exception to the rule. A two-time winner of Best Female Vocalist at the British Country Music Awards and a Top 5 artist on the iTunes UK Country Music Chart, Laura has the room-silencing voice and songwriting chops to rival her heroes Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Martina McBride.
And Nashville is where Laura finds her inspiration as she tells us she first became obsessed with country music at the age of 17. Nashville Stole Your Girl is a more dramatic version of the actual events she explains but isn’t that what we love about country songs? Laura’s warm voice echoes softly through the room and has us swooning. When you listen to Learn To Be Lonely Again, especially live, you get a wonderfully old-timey feel, wanting to dance under the moonlight somewhere just outside of Nashville.
Laura closes the night with her country pop anthem Better In Blue Jeans and reminds us that as much as we love Nashville artists we also have a whole lot of incredible country music talent right on our doorstep.