Tuesday 26th January saw Honey Ryder, supported by Claydon Connor, take to the Troubadour stage.
I first met Lindsay, Jason and Matt back in March 2015 at Country 2 Country festival where we did an interview with them. They have an impressive resume having had songs on the BBC Radio 2 playlist, had a song featured in a hit US Drama and have had successful trips to Nashville working with some hit writers and producers. But the group, though serious with their music, know how to have a good laugh as well, and each is bursting with personality, and that’s what I enjoyed about interviewing them back in March. It was good to finally get to watch a full set from them and see their personalities shine through in their music and stage craft. Here’s what happened on the night.
Claydon opened the show with a mixture of songs from his record ‘Under The Big Sky’ and a few new songs, including his latest single ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, a song which is fast becoming my favourite of Claydon’s; the chorus is very strong, it sticks in your mind long after you’ve heard it. Claydon Connor’s clean vocals remained powerful and consistent throughout his set opening with new tune, ‘Which Road’. He then went on to play ‘Whiskey Nights’ and ‘The Kind of Man I Am’, which both feature Claydon playing his Harmonica as well. He then went on to invite Liv Austen onto the stage, we interviewed Liv almost a year ago now, their voices were so beautiful together as they sang a brand new song which they’ve never performed before called ‘Out In The Wild’. Claydon concluded his set with ‘We Could Have It All’ followed by ‘Foolish’, one of my favourites of Claydon’s, this song is about an ex who, in Claydon’s words, was a bit of an idiot. All in all it was a fantastic way to kick off the night, I always enjoy seeing Claydon perform, his songwriting is on point and he is perhaps the best male vocalist in the UK scene right now.
Then after a short break Honey Ryder took to the stage opening with ‘You Can’t Say That’, which featured a fantastic instrumental from Jason on the mandolin, the crowd applauded and whooped as he showed off his skills. Then the foot stomping song off their second album kicked in ‘You Won’t Find Me’, featuring that tongue twister of a chorus which was sung superbly on the night, and for me was one of the highlights of the night. I’m not sure if Jason was using a stomp box and a loop pedal but he set the four to the floor beat going at the start before breaking out into the song.
Lindsay went on to tell us that this next song was one they wrote in Nashville with Rivers Rutherford, ‘Hitting the High Note’ is an incredibly well crafted song featuring a really hooky chorus and some amazing slide guitar solos which were executed brilliantly by Jason. Again the crowd whistled and applauded the skill. ‘Never Say Never’ followed. I absolutely love the chorus of this song, the ascending vocal melody at the start of the first couple of lines just gets stuck in your head and the three of them really looked like they were having a good time up there.
‘If I Aint Got You’ ensued, they really looked like they were having fun throughout this song, and this is such a well crafted song, Nashville style songwriting, the lyrics throughout the verses set up that chorus and hooklike so well and I can tell you it’s harder than it sounds, but they do it so well in a number of their songs. ‘Mirage’ followed the down tempo Country ballad, again the lyrics are just beautiful, I really liked the line “With lover’s amnesia, you forgive and forget” which can be heard in the second verse. Then the song which has been featured on the playlist on BBC Radio 2 ‘What If We’ve Only Got Tonight’. It was a great rendition of the song which has helped kick start a successful 2016 for the group. ‘When Doves Cry’ followed, another song featuring a formidable solo from Jason.
Lindsay remained on the mic the whole time, entertaining the audience whilst the boys switched instruments, the banter and stage presence was that of a pro, so the audiences attention was held by the group throughout. ‘Worlds Away’, and ‘Marley’s Chains’ came next, the latter of which saw the whole audience rapturously singing along to the lyrics ‘Oh Heavy Minds’ and it was perhaps the pinnacle of the night. The song that ensued kept hold of that momentum and ‘Dam It I’m In Love Again’ kept the audience with the band right to the end, and this concluded the main set, but of course the audience wanted more as they shouted for an encore. Jason, Lindsay and Matt willingly obliged and ‘In A Heartbeat’, and ‘Remedy’ rounded off the evening perfectly.
If you didn’t manage to make it down to Honey Ryder’s gig, never fear, they have been announced on the Pop Up Stages of Country 2 Country 2016 but before then they have two gigs in February:
February 12th – The Zed Music Cafe
February 27th – Little Rabbit Barn
Be sure to listen out for ‘What If We’ve Only Got Tonight’ on National radio and you can purchase Born In A Bottle on their website.
Just Zoe x