Having been snowed in and unable to attend the opening night of the pantomime Peter Pan, I thought I’d take the opportunity to cover myself in a bit of fairy dust, and fly off to the deep South for some country music instead. But in these economically-troubled times, where the cost of inflation rises faster than the average wage, even fairy dust will only take you so far these days. Liverpool, in my case. This is no bad thing, however. For here you will find someone who manages to evoke the landscape of Tennessee with ease. Her name is Laura Oakes. And her new EP “Nashville Stole Your Girl” is the perfect antidote for those longing for a taste of that Southern sun. The title song supplants you right into the heart of America. It is a magical sound that truly evokes the area about which she sings. I especially like the line, ‘It’s the Cumberland river that sweeps her and keeps her away’. Beautiful. This continues on “Cage the Songbird”, whose opening riff is so evocative that it transports you directly onto the front porch of a ranch house at dawn. It real is a world away from the Merseyside docks. Yet even as she muses, there are times when she belts out lyrics (at the end of “Nashville Stole Your Girl“, for example) and you hear a little bit of that tough Northern grit. For the most part though, her voice is easy on the ear, a gorgeously whipped, vanilla-flavoured sound. It really comes through on this EP – the result of her decision to perform all these songs acoustically. As a bonus, it also allows full access to her songwriting skills. And boy, there are some fantastic lyrics here. Such a variety too: sarcastic, humorous, touching, ironic, heartfelt. They are all here. How she packs them all into this five-song collection is anyone’s guess. That she manages to do so highlights her immense ability. It is no wonder she is a two-time winner of ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ at the British Country Music Awards.
“Nashville Stole Your Girl” is definitely worth a listen – an early Christmas present for me, a nice little stocking filler for any country music fan. There is no fairy dust in sight here. No need for any. For judging by the charming quality of this EP, Laura Oakes has already learned to fly.
Featured Image (C) Laura Oakes