Breland at Country Music Week

‘Praise the Lord for southern women, Hemi engines, crispy chicken!’

Breland; the 27-year-old New Jersey Native who has taken genre fluidity to the ultimate heights. Just as his ‘Cross Country’ album suggests, he has given Country, Soul, R&B and Gospel a shake up and thrown them all into his mix and created his own brand of music. He hit us like a ton of bricks with his debut single ‘My Truck’ in 2019,and has had collaborations with the entire who’s who of not only the US Country crowd but across the music industry. There isn’t anyone quite like him on the scene and after his ‘Breland and Friends’ gig at the Garage in Islington, North London; I am at liberty to suggest very few could emulate and bring the sheer energy he displayed.

The friends who joined him onstage each brought their own style, and the duets and collaborations were well thought out. The timing and staging was impeccable; Una Healy brought a fantastic rock edge to the hit ‘Throw It Back’, whilst we heard classic country tones from the ladies of UK Country; Ward Thomas.
Matt Stell charmed the crowd with ‘One Of Us’ and his version of ‘Strawberry Wine’, joined by Breland and the cover I was hoping to hear.

Our very own Laura Oakes set the bar from the start with ‘Here For It’ and was a delightful introduction to the calibre of guest artists were were treated to through the night.

Ben Earle of The Shires had us all rocking to ‘Praise The Lord’; the place was packed to the rafters. You could barely move; but this one took the roof off, it was utterly electric.  Caitlin Smith’s stunning tones complimented his beautifully when duetting Breland’s Album title track ‘Cross Country’ and she showed us her incredible vocal ability when showcasing her hit ‘High’.

We were treated to a truly varied selection of Breland’s own hits, those of his guests, covers and most excitingly, audience participation in the form of line dancing queens on stage and shotgunning drinkers; the fun just kept on coming.

Whether it was reciting an impromptu rap about London which he penned on the tube,or silencing the vibrant crowd with his note perfect ballads ‘Good For You’ and ‘For What It’s Worth’, Breland has broken barriers and remains on his mission to enlighten the crowds who feel Country Music fits into a box. It is impossible to not pick up on his infectious happy nature and genuine talent and to stand back and appreciate and respect the message he is bringing. Music, regardless of genre is there to revive feelings of nostalgia and a good rush of dopamine and above all, tell a tale and have a damn good time.

Breland; you and your band and your friends did that in abundance. Thank you and come back soon.

Review written by Jess T (twitter.com/jesstcountry)

Photos by Philippa Myall-Chance (Photos by Philippa)

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