Lindsay Ell at Bush Hall, London, for Country Music Week, 2nd Oct 2017 – by Lesley Hastings

Over in the UK for the first time since the recent release of her album “The Project” I was determined to catch this amazing artist during Country Music Week having never seen her live before. Sadly I was unable to make her headline show this week so even though it meant I would see a shorter set, I headed to Bush Hall at the start of the week where she was opening for Randy Hauser.
I managed to chat to Lindsay before she played ( not all music related, we share a love of dogs and showed one another photos of our rescue pooches!) and she really is one of the most unassuming and natural artists on the country music scene.
Anyway, back to the concert, and her very suave manager took to the stage to introduce his artist, while the tiny framed Lindsay (dressed casually all in black) fine tuned one of her custom painted electric guitars ( further investigation revealed it was her “Waiting On You” guitar, named after the lead single from her album and on which you can see her playing here:

Well, I had heard what an incredible live performer and guitar player Lindsay was, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to see in the all-too-short set, the album tracks she showcased sounding just electric (no pun intended!) in this raw and stripped back format. Lindsay totally lived every single lyric, her emotional connection with them just incredible, and her playing was beyond impressive, with jaw dropping solos and the loop pedal used with great skill on many of the songs. Working the stage throughout and connecting with the crowd she had so much energy it was as if there were springs in her trainers!

After a “Hello London….Happy to be here!” she opened with one of my album favourites, “Wildfire” which she co-wrote with her producer Kristian Bush (as I’m sure you know, of Sugarland fame) explaining afterwards that it was he who helped her “figure out the whole thing and find my sound” …..more about that later in this review! Her current single, the aforementioned “ Waiting on You” followed, and then it was straight into creating a loop for my total favourite of hers, “Castles”. This is a song about being content with who you are and what you’ve got, and not always striving for the next best thing…….” there’s always gonna be something better “cause the top is never high enough to reach” . I love the groove on this one as well as its message:

Switching to acoustic guitar, Lindsay then elaborated on how Kristian Bush helped her find the sound she wanted for The Project, and what an interesting way it was! On their first meeting he asked her to go away and re-record a favourite album of hers, putting her own mark on it, in just a week! The album she chose was the one she listens to the most,  John Mayer’s “Continuum” , and she ended up including the track “ Stop This Train” on her EP “ Worth the Wait” released earlier this year which was also produced by Bush. She hopes to release her version of Continuum in its entirety in the near future, she told us, before performing this intense song which showed a different side to her, she’s such a versatile artist for sure.

Returning to her electric guitar and current album, the slower paced and bluesy “Space” was the penultimate in the set ( one of just three album tracks Lindsay didn’t co-write, and incidentally the only all-female write) , a real heartfelt break up song “ you just keep living your life without me, and baby I hate this space”. Closing with the funky, pop-infused love song “Criminal”, delivered with appropriate attitude, Lindsay left the stage to huge and totally deserved applause from the audience, many I’m sure were as stunned as I was by her performance. Definitely an artist on my bucket list to see as a headliner, I’m hoping she will be back here soon.

Review written by Lesley Hastings

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