Country comes to town
COUNTRY music is enjoying something of a resurgence – though its singers are keen not to forget its great history.Thanks to a little re-branding and the insertion of the word "new" in front of the name country music, it's been given a new lease of life and singers such as Garth Brooks can outsell pop acts like Michael Jackson.
By Richard Cornwell
COUNTRY music is enjoying something of a resurgence – and its singers are keen not to forget its great history.
Thanks to a little re-branding and the insertion of the word "new" in front of the name country music, it's been given a new lease of life and singers such as Garth Brooks can outsell pop acts like Michael Jackson.
The genre sells huge numbers of albums, not just in America, where its roots lie, but all over the world.
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On Tuesday, April 16, Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion will play host to a show which features the latest in country sounds, but also those from its golden past.
Nashville Nights and Dixie Days is two-and-a-half hours of the hit artists such as Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Don Williams, Tammy Wynette, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill.
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The show the brainchild of Neil Sands, a long-time fan of country music and whose dream was to sing in a greatest hits of country music show.
"I'd had the idea for a couple of years but I almost didn't have the nerve to tell anyone that I liked country music. Once I came out and told people that I liked it, it got easier and easier," said Neil.
"I sat in a bar in Tenerife, watching a country act. I thought, 'I've played guitar since I was 8 years old. I'm 55 this year. If I don't do it now, I'm never going to do it'.
"The show is a mixture of really rocking new stuff but not forgetting the likes of Stand By Your Man, Crazy and Crystal Chandelier."
With the help of local country musician, Terry Lee Travis, a band of experienced and respected musicians has been put together for the show, with Paul Glazebrook on lead guitar, Dave Charles keyboards, Ivan Leech bass and Haydon Dodge drums. The singer is Szara King.
The show has been playing at major venues during the past month.
"While I love working in pubs and clubs, it's nice to do theatres where there are no distractions," said Neil.
"I have to pinch myself sometimes when I look at the tour schedule and see we're playing places like the Oxford Apollo.
"And it's great for the band to be playing such good venues, working to such good audiences and being so well appreciated."
Tickets for Nashville Nights and Dixie Days are priced at £9 and £11 and can be booked by calling the Spa box office on 01394 282126.