From Nashville Sessions Blog (Old)

15th March 2020 – Edinburgh Arms

In The Round

Based on the Bluebird Cafe formula of several artists taking it in turns to talk about and then sing their own songs. It was an incredibly insightful night.

4 time served musicians, all relating their own stories about how their songs came into being – the truth behind them and, at times, even their purpose. Swinging from heart-wrenching sadness to side-splittingly hilarity, it was a real tour of a singer/songwriter’s thought processes. Among the 20 odd songs that were played that night, we had a rare instrumental from Sam Marshall, one that none of us had heard before. Chris sang “Little light”, a beautiful tune about a father’s love his children. Al had us enthralled and in tears in equal measure with some of his touching tunes.

All playing without any support of additional musicians or backing tracks, it was certainly a test of their mettle. A test which they all passed with flying colours. Despite the risk of limited attendance due to the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, there was still enough there to make a fun and interesting night. Here’s looking forward to the next one.

6th March 2020 – Edinburgh Arms

Country Karaoke

Happy to say that the second Country Karaoke proved to be just as popular as the first. With over a dozen different singers and an ever growing selection of country tunes to pick from, the friendly and supportive atmosphere was in full swing yet again – the atmosphere, generated by the audience, is massive boon to the night.

That atmosphere was tested tonight as technical issue plagued the proceedings from the outset. Following the success of the first night, Sam had been looking to improve the audio/visual facility quality, but sadly, Windows 10 got in the way. However, Sam and his technical team worked hard to resolve it throughout the night. Even Lorraine the land-lady did a sterling job, stepping in to provide entertainment while the karaoke system was down.

Despite these set-backs, it was a great night with the incredibly relaxed and easygoing atmosphere we’ve come to expects at Nashville Sessions. plus, its always good to be joined by new performers we’ve not seen before, it takes some guts to beat their nerves and get up and perform, so a hearty well-done to the newcomers. Long may you continue.

12th Feb 2020 – The Crescent

Gill was supported by Mermaid and the beard, regaling us with tales of the sea, mermaids and wooden legs.

Then came Gill. Opening with the beautifully melodic “funeral in my heart”.

Performing with just a guitar and a small army of harmonicas provided a surprisingly rich sound, very close to the album in fact. Demonstrating that it’s not always necessary to have a large band to fill a stage. Playing tunes on guitar and Harmonica simultaneously is always something to behold, so respect there for something I’ve not yet mastered (or even tried)!

Gill played several numbers from his new album “Skeleton at the banquet”. If you’ve not heard it, it’s certainly worth a listen. If you’ve read up to this point then there’s something in his music you like so go listen to it right now.


Gill was on good form at with the audience at The Crescent too (some of whom had travelled from Australia to catch his tour). His self-assured delivery, matched by his self-deprecating humour went down well with the crowd.

One of the most notable songs for me was the intro to Lawless Soirez, there was a beautiful ringing in the reverb tank of his Fender amp, caused by the antique Gibson being hammered by Gill. For me, it was a fantastic sound that enhanced an already great tune.

So while Gill’s dark and dour style may not be to everyone’s liking, listen to the clever lyrics, listen to the sentiment and moods, listen to the dark and dour and celebrate the differences with your usual style.

9th Feb 2020 – Edinburgh Arms

Gasoline and Matches (2 x BCMA Duo of the Year) opened with one of their self-penned numbers, always a good start in my book. On first impression, with Sally wearing boots and Steve in a flat brimmed hat really set the tone of the evening. Shame however that they chose to ‘countrify’ the Guns ‘n’ Roses number “Sweet child of mine”. I get how any song can be played in a country style, but changing the style of something as famous as that will always be a tough ask. Their ability and delivery aside, for me, I would have left that one out.

They were quickly forgiven for this misdemeanor however with “Not in the country”.  Played on two guitars and a stompbox. The amount of percussion they managed to cram in was incredible.  Clearly some time and thought has gone into filling up the musical voids with the anything that can be hit. This was pretty much a theme throughout the night, much more percussion than expected, all helping to enrich the overall sound.

Another clever trick – the Looping pedal on “Girl Crush”. I watched the audience staring in wonder at Steve, trying to work out what was going on as he started to build the looped sounds.


Both sets were very well balanced and matched the size of the venue. All too often bands play too loud at the smaller venues, competing with each other almost to get their instruments heard. Not this night.

Overall, a grand night, they had a good craic with audience, and it was the first time I’d heard a wolf whistle on a scraped guitar string! A trick for me to learn there! Finishing their second set was difficult, simply because they were called back for 2 encores and, despite having a long drive home ahead of them, they kept at it and remained chipper to the very end.

26th Jan 2020 – Edinburgh Arms

Nashville Ssessions continues it’s foray into the new year in cracking style with the ubiquitous Dori and the Outlaws.

Their humour, enthusiasm and obvious musical talent shining through as usual. It was nice to hear tracks we’ve not heard from them before. Are they moving into new musical directions? And if they did, what would it matter, they’re still good, still firmly under the uimbrella of country (if’n you count the influences of blues/western in there too) and certainly still please the crowd.

It was wonderful to hear the lead guitarists comment that “I love playing the Nashville Sessions, because people listen”. Its good fun“. With a skill set like theirs, they clearly play some big gigs that don’t always have the personal feel that’s present at the Nashville Sessions. So thanks for that feedback! Here’s to the next time!

29 Dec 2019 – Edinburgh Arms

6 acts, 1 stage, 1 night… Who knew it could be done!

With a line up ranging from a new-to-the-business Garth Brooks cover artist (who is certainly worth a watch) to local stalwarts, added to which there was a free to enter music quiz. With that lot to cover, finishing on time was always going to be a tough ask.

A slight overrun of an hour or so but, with the tambourine brigade out in force and even free food put on by the bar, nobody seemed to care.

The atmosphere created by the live ‘mistakes’ and even jokes by the bands, the evening proved again, if proof were needed, the truth behind the old musical adage that “Live Is Best”.

A great night and quite possibly, another first.

15 Dec 2019 – Edinburgh Arms

Looking like they’d just walked out of Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern on Music Row, Nashville, Fargo Railroad Company’s opening number of Jackie Come On, demonstrated the lead vocalist could carry that look as easily as the bassist carried his upright bass.

In another demonstration of his ability, Coast to coast showed he could sing in barely a whisper, using that to good effect in keeping the crowd attentive. In stark contrast to their next song Shotgun, which brought the mood right back up. The tambourines would have been out for that one had they been available.

A big “well done” should go to the crowd, well most of them, for refraining from the sing back on Drinking alone. Your restraint was heartening!

The second set was more of the same, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense, no-sir-ee. It’s hard to be critical of a band like Fargo Railroad Company – they’re so good at what they do… from soft ballads to tambourine-rattling, bass thumping numbers.

In short, if you want a taste of what it’s like to wander the live music “dive bars” of the southern states, go watch Fargo Railroad Company. If you can’t spare the time, then at the very least, listen to “Bar-room band” to see what you’re missing.

25 Nov 2019 – Jorvik Radio

I was invited along to Jorvik Radio to talk about the blog I do here, the songs I like to listen to and also play a couple of my own tunes.

In a compact and bijou, happy little studio on a cold and miserable night in November, York finest country ears were finally able to hear my dulcet tones over the airwaves. Accompanied by my trusty sidekick Al, we played a couple of my songs. Myself on a Tanglewood Rosewood “Super Jumbo” and Al, playing a Tanglewood Resonator. Due to a technical hitch, listeners also had a preview into studio life as they were able to hear our tuning up and practice.

It was fantastic to meet Chriss and Steve in their studio and perform for them. The energy and humour between them is great to see, coupled with their obvious love for Country music, it was an honour and a privilege to be their first live guest.

23 Nov 2019 – Poppleton Road Mem. Hall

Union Central performed with the vocal group called The Bluebirds and, although the nerves were clearly affecting some of the singers at the start, once they relaxed into the job they were great, especially when harmonising together. “Love of a lifetime” was a great example, a joy to listen to.

Union Central will of course need no introduction to York’s Bluegrass and American Roots fans. The upright bass providing rich support at the bottom end throughout the show. While the fiddle and mandolin clarion the un-mistakeable sound of country folk.

A sterling job overall, made even better because we were sat at tables, like well mannered adults, enjoying a glass of wine, and it was for Macmillan Cancer Support.


15 Nov 2019 – Edinburgh Arms

Country Karaoke

Tired of the same old songs on karaoke? What better way to take karaoke to the next level, than by introducing songs with soul and meaning. This is country at it’s best, real songs sung by real people!

Quite possibly the first night of it’s kind in York – and what a night it was. With over 240 songs to choose from, there was a song for every taste and every occasion. From sing along favourites like “Country Roads” to “Watching Airplanes” by modern stalwart of Outlaw country, Gary Allan.

Keep coming back for news of the next karaoke and book your seat, better still, pick a tune to sing and come alon10 Nov – Edinburgh Arms

Being fortunate enough to hear Stevie O’Connor’s solo gig earlier in the year, I was anticipating another great night.

But, whilst Stevie and a band member whet our collective appetites as they were warming up a Martin and a Strat, it paled into insignificance when they began playing in earnest.

Opening with a whining strat, and played with a pedal and a bottleneck rally set the tone of the evening.

A single sustained sung note that added incredibly to Stevie’s vocal, the bending of a note by playing behind the nut (haven’t seen that for a while), the attention grabbing 4 part harmonies that began “Country Women”…

I could wax lyrical about the night, it truly was a performance worthy of the recent BCMA accolade “Entertainer of the Year”.

Take my advice, the next time you see these guys advertised, buy tickets.

29 Sep 2019 – Edinburgh Arms

With a voice like a cross between Cilla Black and Nora Jones, Marie Marx provided us with a fantastic evening of entertainment. Her set list was 100% her own material. Supported by a cajon and a bass, there was enough music in there to fill the entire night. Sadly, the encore was limited to 1 song, not 14 as requested by the audience.

28 July 2019 – Edinburgh Arms

By request, Steve and Al performed a completely different set list. This time for Line Dancers. They’d spent the time over the previous year creating the backing tracks to popular songs. Their time and effort helped make the charity night go with a stomp and a whoop and a holler!


22 April 2019 – The Basement, York

The last time we visited the Basement in York for Jeremy Pinnell and Ags Connolly was last October and the place had nine (we counted) people in there including the two of us. I thought at that time the prices of the drinks was expensive at £4.80 a pint. I was wrong of course, The Basement surpassed themselves now with a pint at a straight £5.00, shame on you.  But this night, the place was packed and we only just managed to get tickets!

2018 Jesse Terry (support)


A great performance from Jesse, with his songs and stories Jesse is a brilliant troubadour out of New England. Jesse’s songs evoke a melody of a time when song writing was an art form in it’s own right. Jesse’s song writing reminded me of Dylan, and is, in my humble opinion, as good. A great set and will definitely be turning up to future gig’s in the UK. 

Jesse plans to be back in the UK in October at Brudunell club in Leeds. Don’t miss him next time.


2018 Callaghan


Hailing from Lincolnshire, this pianist / guitarist songwriter has the most wonderful voice. Her songs “Best Year”, and “Last Song” have enabled this songstress to access the writing environments of Nashville and Los Angeles. Here to promote her 3 EP in 12 months project. it was a pleasure to be in the audience. The songs are soulful and uplifting at the same time. This Radio 2 play-listed artist has a mood for all occasions and plays beautifully on the emotions. If you can ever see Callaghan perform you should. Highly recommended.

2018 Under the apple tree

Warehouse recording studio


We made it at last, the Warehouse recording studio, Harrogate. H3G3 1GP. Not quite knowing what to expect of the venue. But ready for a live performance we pulled onto the drive and wondered if we had hit the right place, the entrance is just around the corner of the building..

Having been a listener and follower of Whispering” Bob Harris, the “Under the apple tree sessions” from the warehouse was something we’d been trying to attend for such a long time…….

As we walked into the bar, a tin sign for Bob’s Burger bar (the smiling face of Bob Harris staring back at us) stood behind the bar. With drinks in hand we enter the room to see the artists of the night. To our surprise it was much smaller than we expected. Snug and cosy, but large enough to get a buzz of anticipation for the night. No matter where you stand your gonna be close to the stage. 

Introducing the proceeding is the legend that is Whispering Bob Harris (what a guy). There are some folks in this world who have opinions that are worth listening to, Bob Harris is one of those people, when it comes to music.

So first up on the nights bill is ‘Liv Austen” @LivAusten on Twitter, on youtube. Norwegian born, London based, singer-songwriter. The New Album a double EP “Workin’ Man’s Dream / Who I Am Today” is a first call album. Tracks “The guts you always had” is so melodic, the new single “Don’t regret a single one” is a brilliant country pop song.


Second on the bill for the night is Nashville based singer-songwriter “Kenny Foster” @kennyisgo on Twitter, hailing form Joplin, Missouri. The New Album “Deep Cuts” is a homage to albums of the past. and includes the detail that is so missing in todays quick turn-a-round music industry. a great album, from the driven “Revival” to my personal favorite the laid back “Wood and Steel” 12 well crafted country tracks. In addition Kenny is an interesting and funny entertainer, with his stories and banter.


Last but certainly not least is Texan fronted “Jess and the bandits” @JesstheBandits on Twitter. The first time I heard Jess and the bandits, they didn’t capture my attention, this was at the ever popular Drax Country Music Festival  however, the new album “Smoke and Mirrors” has certainly changed my thoughts and opinion. From the outset, the first track “I’m not going home” the album drives. Sister is just a great track, full of soul and feeling. I’m struggling to find a bad song on this album, and can’t. Looking forward to our next encounter with to band.