A personal message from me...
I hope you're all keeping well and keeping yourself busy during lockdown. I've been quiet on my blog and social channels for a few weeks now and like many I've been struggling to find my voice during this time. I didn't want to express any of the negativity I was feeling as I didn't want to appear selfish when the news is full of hard stories and people are going through a lot worse at the moment.
The first few weeks pre-lockdown were quite manic as I was excited to go on my first trip to Nashville, something I'd been looking forward to for a long time and spent weeks planning. I went to London on 12th March for the Country to Country festival and as you know, this was cancelled at short notice. The following day my trip to Nashville was also cancelled.
After that it was a mad few weeks working in my main job as a marketing and communications manager for a charity when I was meant to be away. I'm not sure if you're the same but I hadn't taken a break since Christmas so I had been really looking forward to getting away. I really want to be honest in this blog and I admit to you, it was also a trip to deal with some delayed grief I have been feeling since the loss of my aunt suddenly in January and my Grandad was also admitted to hospital at the same time. I've been strong for my family and cried many tears but I think sub-consciously I'd put my own thoughts on hold and would deal with it on my time away in Nashville as I craved a change of scenery and the needed to process the last few months.
Two long weeks passed and I was then furloughed from my job from 1st April indefinitely and here we are two weeks on. I've learnt to finally slow down since I've been furloughed and found the first week very hard to adjust and I worried about the money shortage. However, this last week I've felt more positive than I have done in a really long time. For anyone struggling at this time, I've found great solace from limiting my consumption of the news to once a day for essential information, limiting my time on social media (especially Facebook and Twitter) and focusing on more practical tasks; PE with Joe (my thighs are killing), cooking, baking (so many easy recipes), doing a jigsaw puzzle (this will last me months) listening to podcasts (Happy Place, anything with Aisling Bea in it and Katherine Ryan's new one) and reading bookings with positive stories (I've just started Happy by Fearne Cotton). I'm sure you know what lifts you up but of course our common interest is our shared love of music.
Music has been key to keeping my spirits up and it's been a sad time that we have lots some musical greats in recent weeks including Kenny Rogers, Joe Diffie and John Prine. I have been listening to their back catalogue as I'm more familiar with modern country music. I've known Kenny's works but the others less so.
I've also been listening to my favourite tracks and this has really helped, I've been listening to a lot of Lady Antebellum in particular as I find their music really moving and uplifting and the merge of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood's vocals are perfect. So many artists are putting out new music, streaming live shows and chats on social media I couldn't stay sad about Nashville for long. I will get to go one of these days but for now Nashville is in my heart and home.
5 exciting things happening this week:
1. Twinnie's debut album 'Hollywood Gypsy' is out on Friday 17th April. She also dropped her new single 'Chasing' this week.
Filmed last Autumn from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is now on BBC iPlayer.
3. Lady Antebellum's new single 'Champagne Night' is out now. This was co-written on NBC's Songland by new songwriter Madeline Merlo with her mentor Shane McAnally and Lady Antebellum who feature in the first episode of Season 2. If anyone knows where to stream the full show, do let me know!
Here is the homemade music video from the band which is good for a laugh;
4. Kenny Rogers: Cards on the Table
This documentary follows Kenny's rise to fame from growing up in Houston, Texas all the way to his retirement in Georgia. It's a fascinating watch as he definitely lived a very full life but what a talented man!
5. Bluebird (2019), the full documentary about the history of the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville is now available to download. This is a fascinating insight into this famous live music venue and what makes it so special.
So from lockdown with love, have a great week everyone. As I'm out of my slump I have some fantastic interviews and articles to share with you and introduce you to some of the amazing UK artists as well as sharing my love of all things country with you.