Country Life

To south west London for a taste of Country . . . or is it Western?

In any other scene someone with Rachael Warwick’s skills would have filled the Half Moon’s dingy back room, alas Country doesn’t have the same pull in Putney as in Nashville. Still, a half-empty venue doesn’t stop the iron-lunged Miss Warwick from launching out her tunes with the kind of verve that has seen her rated highly where stetsons and drummers called Billy Bob really do matter, south of Dixie, USA (she really does have a drummer called Billy Bob).

Most of Country music’s bases are well-covered: cowboys, farewells and rodeos are all sweetly treated by the Warrington-born Warwick whose tremendous voice works well in the range marked ‘belting’. She can be tender too – the slow version of Dolly Parton’s Jolene was especially appreciated.

These days it’s customary for almost anything uncool to be reinvigorated with the simple ‘alt’ prefix. Think of the likes of Brendan Benson snarfling the lion’s share of the headlines with his alt-country tag. Rachael Warwick strips away such notions with her proud display of core Country values delivered with technical prowess and stunning good looks. I’m not sure if the UK will ever take Country to heart but if we’re ever to make even a tiny dent across the pond in this most insular of genres then I can’t think of a better ambassador.

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