On Wednesday I had the absolute pleasure of attending the first Liver Girls “in the round” songwriters session at Studio2 on Parr Street, Liverpool.
Hosted by Siobhan Maher Kennedy, and despite the incredible heat, the venue was absolutely packed out to the point people were standing in the doorway!
Siobhan, who like all the girls on the lineup, is Liverpudlian and has lived in Nashville for 25 years with her music producer husband, Ray Kennedy. Siobhan is hoping to create a music community like they have in Nashville in Liverpool.
Siobhan, accompanied by her guitarist, sang her own songs, “When you go away” and “You’re still standing there” during which she played harmonica beautifully. She also sang a
cover of a song written by Richard Thompson. called “Bright lights tonight”.
Next on the line up was the amazingly talented Laura Oakes. Laura fell in love with country music at the tender age of 14 after watching Carrie Underwood on American Idol and fell headlong for the music and first went to Nashville at 17. Laura met Siobhan at Belcourt Taps listening room and said she was loving being able to enjoy singing country music at “home” in Liverpool.
Laura started with singing “Glitter”… a song about social media and it’s trappings, followed by one of my personal favourites of hers, “Nashville stole your girl” She then sang a song she wrote in November last year in the highlands of Scotland…taking inspiration from driving through the hills, and quipped, “they’re probably called mountains actually” which had everyone laughing! “How big is your world” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard and could easily fit into a movie soundtrack.
Laura’s final song was one she wrote when her Dad was ill last year…a real tear jerker called
“Learn to be lonely again”.
Eleanor Nelly is a little bundle of energy with an amazing scouse sense of humour! She had the audience in fits of laughter time after time and opened with a song called “Polaroid”.
She talked about photos of her bouncing around in cowboy hats as a child and how she didn’t “fit in” at school, which lead on to her next song “Eventually”…
Eleanor talked about recently losing everything she’d worked for and having to start over again…“The best is yet to come” (the worst has been and gone)
The most recent song she’s written was written in the upstairs studio at Parr Street about a “divvy” who didn’t follow girl code…great song with funny lyrics – but unfortunately I missed title because everyone was laughing at her jokes!
Next up was Katie Nicholas. I’ve been following Katie for a number of years now but this was the first time I’ve seen her play live! She opened with “Chemistry” a song from her first independent album, “Dizzy”, which was well received by the audience.
She then sang “In your shadow” and followed that with a song called “Ladybird” which is about holding on too tightly to someone you love and learning to let go a little.
Katie amused everyone with her tale of how she was once totally obsessed with Mindy Smith and how she chased her down in Nashville at a show. Katie slipped security and got into Mindy’s dressing room and embarrassed herself by fangirling!
She then talked about her final song “feathers” which was written when she was grieving a relationship and missing her old life. She had stopped singing and writing and being creative and then suddenly realised she was wasting her life, had lost herself and needed to come back to what she loves doing most. I have to add here that Katie’s guitar playing is just amazing. She has a real talent!
Last on the lineup was 16 year old Megan Louise. Megan has a beautiful tone to her voice which is perfectly suited to singing Country! She opened with a song called “Take your mask off” and followed with a song about the refugee crisis which was inspired after she saw the boy on the news who was washed up on the beach in a red shirt…”Guide me home”.
Megan then talked about not fitting in and how loving country music doesn’t buy you many friends at school! This led on to her song “Voicemail” about a boy she used to like who has now finally messaged her once she had some success and he saw her on TV on the local news…”too late now” she joked!
Megan then talked about her first release…”Train Song”. Released on her 16th birthday, it’s all about a series of events that lead to her life changing and leading her to where she is today.
To close the evening, Siobhan talked about how overwhelmed she was at the success of the Liver Girls first event and announced that it would be a regular gig. She’s hoping to hold 4 songwriter sessions a year in Liverpool and wants female artists from Liverpool to get in touch to join the lineup.
The night ended with all five girls singing a rendition of “Islands in the stream” which had the entire audience joining in…and finished with a standing ovation!
To sum up, It was an amazing evening packed with talent and I can’t wait for the next one!
Review written by Mel Osten (twitter.com/melosten)