Feels a while since I wrote anything here and it’s been quite the time for anyone in the music industry, particularly artists and musicians navigating their way through this government dependant lockdown BUT we have the music and one thing this lockdown is proving time and time again is that we have music and we have each other.
I was thinking just the other day after watching Maren Morris and her baby on her Insta stories how when country music is so much about heartbreak and being wronged, where we go when everything seems to be going right; a question posed to Adele, I believe, not long before her husband left her and then bam, here comes the music.
I think we’ll have stories and songs from these times for years to come and there’s no better format to listen to those than country music.
And as we at The British Country Music Festival continue to celebrate the British country scene, I am once again joined by one of the darlings of it. One our best singer songwriters. An artist who wowed us all at TBCMF at the Winter Gardens last year. I’m talking about Laura Oakes and it was so great to catch up with Laura.
It’s been an obviously challenging time but she’s adapted and run with it by releasing acoustic material and getting to grips with her own producing. A new learning curve. We delve into why country music is so important to her and how her sound just happened rather than evolved.
We also talk about her appearance on Bob Harris’ charity anniversary collaboration release of Stand By Me which boasts an incredible selection of singers and musicians. You can listen to this entire conversation right now on the No Chords But The Truth podcast on your favourite podcast app. And why not head over to www.britishcountrymusicfestival.com while you’re there and take advantage of the early bird tickets for next year’s festival.
That’s right. Live music will be back in it’s truest form. I can’t wait, I know you can’t wait and Laura Oakes is one of the artists I’ll be buying my tickets to see first. Check it out. See you soon. X
How’s it going people in these lockdown times? I truly hope you’re doing well and keeping well. This is Matt Spracklen @MattSpracklen and I’m back with another, No Chords, but the Truth podcast in association with the awesome British Country Music Festival, which if you didn’t know, was held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool last year for the first time and what a weekend it was.
It was such a special weekend. Anyone who’s been will tell you, any of the artists who played will tell you what a special weekend that was and I had the privilege of welcoming some incredible British country artists to the stage, some of which we’ve had here on the podcast, including Twinnie, Tim Prottey-Jones, Sarah Darling and Megan O’Neill to check out those episodes, if you haven’t already.
But today I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve been joined by another artist I welcomed to the stage that weekend…and that is Laura Oakes (@lauraoakesmusic), who is just ….she’s in the mix of some of the best singer /songwriters we have, not just in the British country scene here, but just in the singer-song writing scene in general.
She’s astonishingly brilliant and in this episode, Laura talks about how she’s adapting a recording process and producing her own music through lockdown and all that sort of stuff and singing on the Bob Harris charity anniversary release of ‘Stand by Me’. This is a brilliant conversation. It’s so great to catch up with Laura.
Oh and by the way, I’ve got to tell you this, you can now buy your early bird tickets for the British Country Music Festival 2021 (https://www.britishcountrymusicfestival.com/tickets-shop), which is returning to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from the 3rd – 5th September next year. I can’t wait!
Anyway, here is the next episode of No Chords, But The Truth podcast and here is Laura Oakes.
Laura Oakes, thanks for joining me .
Thank you for having me on here.
Oh, you’re welcome. No Chords But The Truth. How?… I mean I feel like this is the question that everyone gets asked straight away in 2020 (laughs), but I can’t avoid it. How’s it been? How’s the last six months been for you?
I think everyone has been very up and down…yeah, it’s been confusing. It feels like this year has been five years long but also feels like it’s been three minutes long as well.
I think mentally I’m still in March because that’s when I stopped. That’s when we all stopped doing things, especially music wise. I kind of looked at my calendar the other day and it’s suddenly October and I was like…what happened?
I saw someone tweet yesterday about how it’s felt.
We were in this lockdown and actually lockdown was alright because we could get to grips with that, but now we’re in this sort of purgatory where it’s not lockdown, but you can’t really do anything, but people are out and about and it looks normal, but it’s not normal…like what are we doing?
We are stuck.
Weird Little Bubble
Yeah. I found that much harder than full lockdown. Even though going into it was scary kind of… we all knew the thing that was going to happen was everything was going to stop and you kind of… you can be quite secure in that because just nothing is open and we all knew where we were.
Coming out of it with things opening up at different times, you know, different parts of the country, not opening up at the same time, that’s been much more confusing and a lot harder to navigate I think.
I did the same the other day. I went out…I was driving somewhere in London and it was 5.30pm and obviously I was stuck in traffic and I was what? Why? Why are people out?
Is everyone… you know… are we back to normal now? I think doing what we do as well you kind of …it has been pretty much everything is still shut down, frozen in terms of the live side and getting out and doing things.
It’s been hard to kind of navigate how we’re doing in the live music industry based on what, you know, how everyone else or, you know, people in industries that have kind of opened up or can work from home. Yeah, I feel I’m just in this little weird bubble where I don’t really know what’s going on.
I think everyone is kind of in the same position. I don’t think I’m special or unique in just feeling I don’t know what day it is or what month it is.
It is harder for those whose job, whose work, whose livelihood, whose life has been shut down because you sort of build up this resentment for some of the other things that seemingly can happen and things you can do and you can go to this, you can go… you know…
You can sit a hundred people on a plane and I’m not going get into politics today, but you know … you can sit a hundred people on a plane, but you can’t get 50 people in a theatre or whatever, but yeah, it’s, it’s difficult.
We are definitely in a weird sort of place now.
I think it’s really hard to kind of try and fight that resentment isn’t it? It’s like no-one…you know…it’s no-one’s, whose life has been able to open back up, fault that they can go back to work.
We would all love to be doing the same sort of thing but it’s like…ooooh…I want to be in that position where we’re doing… you know… we are able to do something again.
Well, what have you planned? What have you lined up?
I guess the main thing really, which I think a lot of people have been doing, which has kind of kept a lot of us sane, is just recording from home a lot.
I’ve got a load of new acoustic tracks coming out over the next few months which to start off with they’re going to be acoustic versions of all of the EP tracks that are released in March.
So one’s already out. We’ve got the acoustic version of “How Big Is Your World” out now. “Old Ghosts” is the next one to come out which I think will be out by the time this goes out.
It’s been a really nice thing to make me feel like I’m still connected to what I do but it’s been a nice challenge as well, kind of learning.
You know, in the past, I can record a bit at home and I’ve been able to send a vocal over if somebody’s needed it for a demo or whatever but kind of really go and…you know…I can’t go anywhere or rely on anyone to record things, so I’m really having to learn a lot of new stuff about recording and how to mix things.
It’s been really nice and fun. I think a lot of people I’ve seen, definitely some friends who are artists as well, we’ve kind of all gone back to school a little bit with learning how to record and it’s been really nice to kind of be…you know have it because you can kind of go and go for years with learning how to do things.
So yeah, it’s been a really nice challenge to still be doing something that is music but learning loads of new things as well.
So you’re recording these tracks that are coming out at home are you?
Debut for Mandolin & Dobro
So I guess from a sort of a technical point of view you got to go from a glorified demo to actually release quality and all that stuff? Have you had to buy loads of new equipment and stuff to enable that to happen?
Yeah some new equipment which has been stuff that I’ve had my eye on for a while and I was like… well… I suppose I definitely need it now so that’s been a nice excuse.
If lockdown’s given me anything, it’s given me a great excuse to buy a load of new equipment and guitars and stuff. Even the stuff that’s coming out it was me and my boyfriend, Luke just sat at home recording it.
So all of the instruments apart from cello, which is on one song…all of the instruments were played by me. We’ve got mandolin and Dobro and stuff on there which is brilliant, which is sort of debut for my mandolin and Dobro playing.
Yeah so it’s been…it was really fun and to strip them back and kind of, you know… when you’re recording any type of project you live with those versions of those songs for so long…the EP versions of stuff.
You write them and then it takes a few months to kind of get the versions together and then you’re working on how it all sounds.
The original EP was very important for me to create this atmosphere and mood and sound for it so it was nice to kind of go back and let the songs shine through. Hopefully, from a song-writing point of view, you can kind of take something away from it that you maybe didn’t hear before.
I think they’ve all got a different mood now which was really nice to put together.
When you write songs, do they?….because obviously we hear them fully embellished… obviously now the acoustic tracks are coming out, so that’s nice.
Do they straight away sound like a country song or do you need to add the right instruments to make it sound more country? Or is what you do just inherently country?
Do you have to find the right way to do that? Do you know what I mean?
I know a lot of artists that sort of…, yeah I like country, I play country and they record something and it doesn’t sound like a country song.
I mean, you know, you obviously hiring a pedal steel player and suddenly it’s, you know… it’s a country song (laughs), you haven’t been tempted to learn pedestal yet then?
Oh yes tempted, but then remembered oh… the pedal steel players that I know are very, very good and I was like…maybe I’ll just leave it to them because they’re very, very good at what they do.
We are very lucky in this country now with the amount of really amazing pedal steel players that we’ve got.
That’s a really good question actually.
I think I would say because I have grown up listening to country there’s probably an element of that’s just what I love and it’s what I listen to and that’s just what music sounds like to me so it probably bleeds through, without me realising.
I think the harder challenge is if I try and when I’m writing pop stuff for other artists or, you know, trying to write in different styles, that’s the harder thing of trying to get away from it being, you know, it ending up sounding like a country song because…especially melody wise and stuff as I’m so used to taking in a melody where a country song goes.
Child of the Nineties
Yeah rather than it be a generic melody and add the components around it to make it sound country, it is just is inherently country?
Yeah, I think so but I mean obviously I’m a child of the nineties so there’s a lot of pop influence in what I do.
Oh… everything …late nineties, early two thousands are my absolute loves and I like stuff that just kind of takes me away from the seriousness of the world it’s still Steps and S Club Seven.
I wasn’t expecting that. (laughs)
(laughs) It then goes to the country side of that same decade. All the big female voices which is what’s actually fully in my heart so like Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack and Trisha Yearwood.
…and Dixie Chicks obviously. Those are the first country voices that I heard when I was growing up and I just wanted to sound like that. I kind of…I got into country music…I’ve said this before in interviews and stuff and onstage …but I got into country music because I saw Carrie Underwood on American Idol.
They used to play it a week behind the States over here on ITV2 and I saw her sing “Independence Day” and I just ….I’ve never heard…I’ve never heard anything like this, but it’s amazing and all I really had at the time to kind of find out more about that kind of music was YouTube in its infancy and the man in HMV Liverpool.
I used to go in on a Saturday and beg him to please import Carrie Underwood‘s album or the next Dixie Chicks album. I definitely paid a premium for it at the time because he had ordered in two copies for the whole of the U.K, but I just thought it was the best sound in the whole world. Everything I did after, I just tried to emulate that.
My parents’ neighbours must really love me because I’d just stand singing Martina McBride songs for three or four hours a night in my bedroom at the top of my voice.
Which would have presumably been a long time before Carrie was on American Idol though wouldn’t it? That would have been…?
Yeah. So I kind of …that stuff had already come out. So Carrie Underwood was on in …what?…2004? 2005? so a lot of my early discovery of country was going back and kind of….
Where did that come from?
What the going back and just finding out kind of what I missed out on?
Yeah. So you didn’t discover Martina McBride and Reba McEntire and these guys until… you are saying … until you heard Carrie and then you were like…right…who? What? What is this sound?
Yeah it was… that was the starting point…country music had kind of been in the family because everyone plays and sings.
My nan was a mandolin player. My mum’s a mandolin player. It’s kind of been passed through the family.
So, you know, The Judds was on a lot when I was growing up and Patsy Cline was on a lot but that was kind of … to me when I was growing up…that was just music that my family listened to and I didn’t really think of it as being “Oh, this is …this a different type of music”, because it had always been there.
My own journey into country started with Carrie Underwood and then kind of going back and finding out “right, this is amazing, what have I been missing?” and then it started like the biggest kind of research and history lesson that I’d ever had.
So Much Nostalgia Attached
And certainly when it’s a lesson listened to sort of styles, genre music, certainly then…you know…2005, 2006 I guess…because there’s so much… yeah, that’s exciting.
One of the things I’ve been doing over lockdown is buying back the vinyl’s that my Dad sold.
My Dad sold his record player 10-15 years ago and all his vinyl’s and so all the music I remember listening to growing up, I’ve started buying all the vinyl’s back, which has been really nice because there’s something about it.
That’s so nice ..and that’s the thing. I think music that was on a lot or that you listened to when you were younger just has …it just kind of hits differently. It’s got so much nostalgia attached to it and you can just put it back in the place where when you first heard it or when you were listening to it loads.
That’s why I still listened to them. I mean, I was laughing before about it but I still listen to and still love Steps and S Club Seven when I’m cleaning the kitchen or whatever, but it’s because I just…when I was a kid, I just loved it so much and it made me so happy so it gives me that same feeling
…and the same with country…like you were saying …it was a lesser known music at the time over here so it felt like I was discovering something, not because my friends had said “oh you should listen to this” or my parents had told me to listen to it.
I was discovering it by chance just on my own and it was exciting and I still get that feeling even, you know, if I listened to Carrie Underwood’s first album now …it yeah…it puts me back into my bedroom when I was a teenager. I just kind of desperately want to live in Nashville and be Carrie Underwood (laughs).
I saw someone say the other day, I think it was on Twitter, that the best or the best thing you’ve ever heard in a song should be something that you’ve just made…you know…that you’ve made that sound and whoa … this sounds exactly how I want it to sound.
Do you take those influences and bring them into your sort of …either writing or recording sessions? Or, do you get those hits …”oh that sounds”…just intrinsically sounding because of that sort of wealth of listening you’ve done over the years?
Start With the Title
I think so. I’d hope so and I think it definitely does. Maybe when I was starting to write when I was younger. I was just getting into it and I was just discovering it so I was trying to emulate…actively trying to emulate it a lot and now it’s kind of…it’s just in my system and it’s just kind of ingrained in that.
It comes out without me noticing and it will be later where I’m “Oh that sounds like that thing that I love” or whatever. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does and you realise after it’s…it’s really nice.
Yeah. Well, it’s how you get your sound as well and presumably you’ve written with other writers that pull that out of you.
Yeah that’s what I mean. Co-writing in general, it’s just amazing because just the notion that you can have…I always like to start with a title. That’s my favourite way of writing because just everything hangs off the title.
I’ve got 50 song titles in my notes.
Oh yeah…some of them can sit there for years and some you just really need to write that day, but you can take that same title to five, ten different co-writers and it would sound…it would be a completely different song.
Even if you’re saying “it should say this and it should sound like this”…once you add that other person or those two other people in, they’re going to take it to a totally different place and I just love that the same idea if you were to take it somewhere else it just becomes a totally different song and a totally different thing.
UK Country Fans Are Always Amazing
Yeah. I like that. Let’s move on to some of the recent things that have been going on with you because you have done some cool stuff despite, you know…the crazy shutdown land 2020, like over the last year. If I go back to, it was just over a year ago, the British Country Music Festival – that was a good night. How did you find that? It was a long time ago to think about it but…
I loved it. Even thinking about it now. It was…it was so nice. I loved that it was in Blackpool just because I think… I’m from Liverpool so there was the annual “let’s go to Blackpool and see the lights” every year when I was a kid and it was just so nice to be back there.
That venue was incredible to play in. It was …you know…I mean, UK country fans are always amazing but they were just so good that night.
They were so up for it and it was just brilliant and we’re so lucky that we have festivals to choose from now in this country…like.. all year round.
Maybe not this year, but you know, in normal times. We’ve got Black Deer, we’ve got C2C, we’ve got The British Country Music Festival, Buckle and Boots…there’s country music…there’s so much stuff going on and it’s amazing.
Image Dave Nelson Photography | Laura Oakes performing Main Stage The British Country Music Festival
Which is weird. I mean…I find it …it’s great but it’s weird for such a relatively small country? Five? Six major festivals like you just named a few there …you know you are going to bump into someone, you know you’re going to see people you saw maybe a few weeks ago, maybe not for ages but yeah that community sort of spirit.
It’s definitely there, but they’ve all got something different about them as well. You go for certain things but as an artist, yeah that must be pretty amazing to be able to sort of go through….
I just thought about this now… but touring in the U.K…it’s not like America where you can go back there in a few months’ time. Once you’ve done a gig an hour away from the night you played before, when would you go back again? Yet the festivals you can sort of dot yourself about and play in between I would imagine?
That’s what’s so, so nice about them. We are a small country so touring….once you’ve kind of been to a place …that’s it for a while…you are kind of there so festivals are such a nice way of being able to go back tthis is me and this is what I doo visit those places more frequently and then…you know…pick up a load of new fans as well who have only just heard of stuff.
That’s why my favourite bit about festivals, whether it’s a country festival or it’s…you know…it’s a mainstream festival in the U.K – the challenge of your set is…you know…some people are probably going to have had heard my stuff before, but the majority maybe won’t have a clue who I am and you get half an hour to kind of go and I love that feeling. It’s like a little …yeah as I said, it’s a challenge at a festival.
I would imagine that you had that feeling pretty strong when you played with Kane Brown over in Germany?
Yes, which was this year, which feels like a million years ago that it was a month later that we were in lockdown and that was literally… that…it was so good. I’m just having a little minute to think about it. That was the same thing. Same with …you know…..support tours as well, it’s that thing of… these people are here to see in that instance, Kane Brown. They don’t…you know…they showed up and the room was full before I went on which people don’t need to do.
They are here to see the artist and they all turned up and in my second song they were singing it back to me and it was like…I literally…I’m glad that wasn’t recorded because my voice was just all over the place because I was trying to stop happy crying.
Ah no way.
The fact that there was 1500 people in Berlin who had no idea who I was probably before I went on and they were just right there, so up for singing along with me and it’s just … that’s one of my favourite moments actually of the last few years of touring anywhere.
Moving on to really recently – the ‘Stand By Me’ track?
Tell me a little bit about that because obviously there’s a lot of artists on there. How many on there? There’s over 50 isn’t it?
Yeah. I think there’s about 50 or 60 artists.
Did you just get the call or…?
Yeah. A few months ago actually, so for anybody that doesn’t know what it is, Bob Harris is celebrating his 50th year in broadcasting, which is absolutely incredible and he wanted to do something to raise money for all of the artists that, you know, basically don’t have any form of income or are struggling at the minute because the live music scene is at a complete standstill.
So he had this idea to coincide his 50th year in broadcasting with a charity single to raise money for #helpmusiciansuk by getting some of his favourite artists together and I’m recording a new version of his favourite songs of all time which is ‘Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, which has its 60th anniversary on the day the new version comes out which is the 27th October and it’s … I’m still pinching myself that I get to be part of it.
I did an interview actually a couple of days ago and someone was ”Oh, you know the Bob Harris ‘Stand By Me’ record it’s so great that you’re on it because, you know, it’s Bob Harris, he could have asked anybody and anyone’s going to say yes to that”… and I was just like … boy…yes anyone would say yes Bob Harris I’ll sing on this record and to be included in it…yeah… is such an honour and Under The Apple Tree, his company that he’s got that do live sessions and things who’ve put it together, have been so good to me over the last 5-6 years and they’ve really championed homegrown country and Americana talent.
They’ve carried on doing it with this single so it’s got, you know, homegrown, independent artists like me and Robbie Cavanagh, Elles Bailey, Demi Marriner and then you’ve got …Leo Sayer, Kiki Dee, Peter Frampton and Rosanne Cash on it. The list of people that is on this record is …is amazing.
That’s pretty cool. I need to hear it. It was played on Radio 2 I think yesterday?
Yes, it got it’s first play yeah. It was so nice to hear on the road ….because us as artists, we sent our parts across remotely so we hadn’t heard the final product until yesterday so it was really nice to hear it all together.
It’s been an interesting year. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of positives that people will take out of it and certainly from the country scene, like you say, bringing out new music that the rise of people talking about country has I feel…has sort of grown over the last few months as well.
There has been a lot of live streams. You’ve kept up with going live on Instagram and stuff haven’t you?
Yeah I’ve been doing…I call it a Lockdown Jukebox every Sunday afternoon and I think I’m on my 30th one?…
Crazy isn’t it?
Yeah crazy but people are still getting involved and watching every week and kind of chatting away when I’m on there and suggesting things for me to do because that’s a lot of… you know…30 weeks of trying to keep it fresh, that’s a lot of songs, but people have been great and I try and pick a theme every week and people suggest stuff for me to play but it has been really….because it’s live as well, it’s in the moment which is the closest, obviously you can watch it back later, but the live thing – I get as nervous as if I was going on to stage live because it’s live and it’s in the moment and people are there with you, even if, you know, everyone’s in their own houses.
So, it’s the kind of closest thing that we’ve got really to live gigging at the minute, but it’s been really nice to be connected to people every week still.
Social media has obviously had such a major part in staying relevant. I mean, I guess that’s what any artist wants is to stay relevant and that’s what you’ve been able to do throughout lockdown.
Do you struggle?
Have you got parts that you just don’t talk about on social media?
Are there parts of your journey as an artist that you find difficult to put across on social media….unless everyone’s just having a great time all the time, which I can’t believe…you know…there’s obviously….
I think everybody… I definitely do…. I would like to kind of….I think everyone does…I think maybe 10% of what you see on social media is probably 10% of someone’s whole self. Some people are really good with kind of laying it all out there and you get to see a lot more of their genuine self… kind of warts and all on social media. I think social media this year at points gets a bad rap sometimes and it can be very kind of toxic if you buy into it too much.
It’s everyone’s highlights reel and constant scrolling isn’t any good for anyone, but I think it’s had a flip side this year where, you know, it’s kept people connected which has been one really positive thing.
I’ve definitely found it a bit easier to talk about the not as good moments on social media this year and I try and force myself to keep my social media as balanced as possible so not, you know, the only time I post is when something really amazing is happening, but obviously it’s very easy to post the really good stuff, but I try and remind myself to balance it out with something else because I think the accounts that the people that I follow when they show their more vulnerable, not as perfect moment, encourages me to be ‘Oh’ … social media is great, but it’s kind of not real as well.
So yeah, this year…I’ve kind of gone on a journey of what I think about social media. I think it can be really good when it’s used positively and there’s accounts that I started following this year that focus on body positivity and stuff.
It’s taken a good few months of seeing that kind of content about body positivity, you know, kind of seeing it every day, to kind of be reminded about it, but it is kind of starting to work. It’s got me thinking more about body positive, which I think a lot of people definitely…I struggle with a lot of the time and you kind of don’t realise because it’s so ingrained in you.
So, when it’s done positively, I think it can be really good and I think we can all be afforded like our really good highlighters kind of selfies …but I try to remind myself to keep it as balanced as possible and not on my side of things, not make everything look amazing 100% all of the time and remember that when I’m seeing 100% of the time of someone else, that’s probably not all that’s going on, but it’s really hard.
And presumably there’s a slight sort of a split we’re feeling may be a responsibility to do that as an artist because people will look at you on social media like you look at your peers and you want to give that as an artist, but also as a person as well because your friends follow you and your friends see you and we can’t phone all our friends every day and we can’t talk to everybody all the time and we have close friends that we can open up to but yeah, it has been interesting seeing what people…without suddenly going ‘oh look at me, I need everyone to write me messages and things…you do need to keep it real. You need to …you’re right.
When you say balanced, it has to be, it has to be balanced because it’s really all we have while people can’t go out and watch music, which is just as much as coming together and having drinks with your mates and having a good time, as much as watching the music and soaking up the moment of seeing live music and watching new favourite artists and stuff it’s as much as that.
And that’s what we were using social media for. It was live streams, whether it’s stories, whatever it might be. And yeah, I guess as an artist, you feel some sort of responsibility for the people that follow you as an artist and for what friends say, it’s really interesting.
Well, it’s been great to talk. It’s been really great to talk. I’m glad we met.
Yes, yes me too. Thank you very much for asking me to be part of it.
No worries. What’s coming up? So, your acoustic tracks are the ones to look out for right now?
Yes, so there’s another one out in November but “Old Ghosts” has just come out by the time this podcast goes out so that’s out at the minute and there will be another one coming out in November. The Bob Harris ‘Stand By Me’ single is out at the end of the month, October 27th.
Go get it. Go and support it.
The live streams are still happening, come rain or shine. So on Facebook I am Laura Oakes official (@lauraoakesofficial) and on everything else I am Laura Oakes music (www.lauraoakesmusic.com)
There you go. There you go. Well, okay, great. Thanks so much for talking.
It’s just been good to catch up with you. It’s been really good.
Thanks for listening to this episode of No Chords, But The Truth in association with The British Country Music Festival (@TBCMF). We would love it if you subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode and extra love if you’d give us a lovely five-star rating. You can even review the podcast and leave a comment with who you’d like to see on. You can find me on social media at @Matt Spracklen see you next time.
Matt Spracklen is a radio and television presenter as well as a reputable music blogger. Matt currently hosts his own show on Bauer Media’s Country Hits Radio and having studied music in Nashville, he is seen as one of the UK’s leading authorities on all things country and Americana. He is known for championing British artists and continues to provide a platform on his radio show not just for headliners, but also emerging talent. He was a judge on BBC One’s All Together Now, he is the main presenter for the main stage at The British Country Music Festival and is in demand as a host for corporate events and music awards shows. Matt is an avid blogger and social media guru and has a considerable social media following, ensuring he is on most PR companies VIP lists for key music industry events. @mattspracklen
Sarah Bishop is a well respected radio producer who has worked with names including Edith Bowman and Arielle Free. She is currently the producer of The Frank Skinner Show on Absolute Radio as well as The Times’ podcast Walking the Dog. Sarah also works closely with high profile talent on television programmes such as the award-winning sitcom Catastrophe and award shows including The BAFTAs, The Brit Awards and MTV’s Europe Music Awards. @sarahbishop92
The British Country Music Festival We are delighted to bring you No Chords But The Truth and we would like to thank all the talented artists who will be contributing to the show. When we first discussed the podcast with Matt and Sarah, it was clear that we all shared the same passion to provide a voice and platform for UK home grown country & Americana artists and songwriters. Please follow, subscribe, review, comment, fill in those little stars and join our community. Thanks for listening. Martin & Marina @TBCMF #NCBTT
Bertie Blossoms, An intimate neighbourhood dining concept, owned by Ed Sheeran, nestled at the end of the bustling Portobello Road, London @bertie_blossoms
The Virtual Temp, Debbie is our go to resource for transcriptions, minutes and admin services. www.thevirtualtemp.com