What a fantastic venue! The upstairs room in this Islington pub has a stage that is well lit, with great sound and decent bar prices. A perfect setting for an evening of Country and Country-Rock.
British singer-songwriter Paris Adams, formerly of the Adelaides, opened the proceedings. Accompanied by her drummer (on electric pads) she started the evening strongly. Her crystal-clear voice and skilful guitar playing impressing the audience who had got there early.
The highpoint was her single ‘Gold’ from earlier this year. Recorded in Nashville, it’s a classic Country story song.
Adams was also here to showcase her new single ‘Stupid With U’, her introduction drawing laughs from both her and the audience when she casually announced that the video features her in the bath – fully clothed, she was quick to point out!
It looks like her solo career is going to go from strength to strength.
Next up were Backwoods Creek – a five-piece country-rock band from Surrey who describe their music as “Southern rock ’n’ roll”. The homepage of their website sees them posing on the famous Camden Market steps where The Clash were photographed for their debut album. Appropriate, as they definitely have a Punk Rock attitude to Country music. They even describe their sound as “like Blackberry Smoke and the Eagles got into a bar fight, and the Allman Brothers Band had to break it up”.
Vocalist Jamie Wood exudes energy and stage presence, his rhythm guitar work providing a solid base for two other guitarists, Yannick Van Piet and Jonny Postlethwaite to let rip. That Southern groove was held down by George Price on Bass and drummer Jack Daynes.
Their story-telling songs and infectious energy had the growing crowd joining in with audience participation and helping the band out on both original numbers and a fantastic cover of Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking In Memphis’
The upstairs room had filled up nicely when the headline act took to the stage at around 9.15. Jessica Lynn hails from New York, but is every inch a country girl. She has made quite a name for herself over the past few years, and has shared billing with artists as diverse as ZZ Top, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Extreme, as well as having records charting her brand of “Country Arena Rock” across the globe.
Tonight’s show should have taken place in 2019, but was scuppered by the pandemic, and so Jessica was excited to be here and it clearly meant a lot.
This band is a family affair. Lynn is joined on stage by best friend Matthew Bauer on drums, husband Steven Sterlacci on guitar and Mum and Dad Victoria and Peter Calamera on keys and bass respectively.
The band didn’t stagnate during COVID, streaming live performances, releasing the ‘Reimagined EP’ in 2021 and recording songs for their 2022 album release ‘Lone Rider’. Tonight’s set drew on these and her back catalogue, and included ‘Something Good’, ’Now or Never’, new single ‘Ain’t Done With You Yet’ and a storming cover of Lynn’s favourite Shania Twain song ‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?’
Jessica is such a charismatic performer. She beams with joy and warmth throughout the show, and her interaction with her audience is genuine, welcomed and reciprocated.
The band left the stage briefly while she recounted their lockdown experience and how much it meant to finally be back on tour, tears of joy streaming down her face. There followed the most beautiful rendition of Stevie Nicks’ ‘Landslide’ – her voice cutting through her guitar picking beautifully. You could have heard a pin drop in the room.
When the band came back on stage, they were joined by Backwoods Creek’s George Price. He was supposed to play bass with the band at the 2021 Tennessee Fields Festival, but they had to cancel on the day of the gig due to someone in the touring party testing positive for COVID. So, 2 years later he got his chance and you could see the joy he felt stepping into Peter Calamera’s shoes, if only for one song – ‘Better Than That’.
The audience got a surprise duet as Paris Adams joined the band for a blast through another Shania Twain classic, as the pair made ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’ their own.
The night was seen out with a fantastic rendition of ‘Johnny B Goode’, leaving the Islington crowd happy and whooping.
Jessica Lynn and her band are now on a short tour of Germany, before heading to Poland and then back for more dates in the USA.
We’re not sure when she’ll be back I the UK, but we recommend you catch her when she returns.
Jessica Lynn Live in London – An Unforgettable Evening of Country Rock at An Islington Pub @ RockNews