FRI 23rd July 2021 : The 7th Jumpin Hot Country Cantina
The Barn in Easington, Thorpe Lea East Farm, Easington Colliery, County Durham, SR8 3UT
Words & Photos above – Juan Fitzgerald
As the sun beat down on the Cantina in Easington Co Durham, the stage at the back of the old barn looked like somewhere you would tie up your horse. Just the perfect place to be & luckily the sun did shine all day /night for Jumpin Hot Club’s 7th all day Festival
The Country Cantina kicked off in the early afternoon with a laid back set from, who else but Shipcote and Friends (the Cantina being Graham’s little baby) Playing new tracks from their “Local Stars album ,the trio invited a few special guests up for the occasion with Jaene Fitzgerald helping out on BV’s with the jaunty ‘Oh To Be Singing” and Gem Andrews for the lonesome EmmyLou country styled ditty “Sweet Sorrow. Gem stayed on stage for the brilliant “two hour” songwriters circle alongside Vera Van Heeringen & Lady Nade. Three lady songstress yet three different styles. We had the hot bluegrass/folk songs & excellent finger picking guitar of Vera including the song “Never Enough Time ‘which was my favourite. Then those familiar with J’Hot Club will already know Gem’s country music leanings but the “Two lighthouses’ song inspired by Julia Darling local poet and author was a total Festival highlight. Lady Nade drove up from Bristol & was rewarded with a rapturous reception & deserved it with her lovely soulful folk music. What a find & what a voice.’ Heart Of Mine” being my go to tune of her six song set . With no let up we then moved onto the sheer energy of youth and the Beatles/CSNY like harmonies of Liverpool’s very own Goat Roper Rodeo band. Probably as they were totally new to most people, they could well have stole the Cantina No 1 act spot !
Following on, we had a teatime respite for people to have some grub from La Fiesta or have a pint in the barn bar or even wander to their tents or even the beach. Just normal things we have not had the pleasure to do over the last year or so. Then we eased into the night with some cool & mellow Cowboy Jazz instrumentals from Glasgow’s new Chet Atkins styled quartet the Wholly Cats lead by Tim on pedal steel & Martin on guitar. They were not just hot players but had matching yellow hawaiian shirts, an excellent choice just before the grand finale. After two earlier Cantina appearances Big Red and the Grinners were moved up to headline the re-scheduled all dayer. AND how tight they sounded, even with a full year or so without playing gigs, it just shows how good a band these local troupe are.
With a bluegrass & country folk style past down from their Granpappy ???, that have made any tune become a modern Grinner classic , Big Red and his band had everybody laughing and dancing & making hay to songs from Norah Jones to Backstreet & Dr Dre. With the Grinners we felt as if we where coming of the most surreal and horrendous year and found a little family Community of musicians and friends to help us out. Then we had the legendary campfire as the encore. I heard Big Red didn’t get to bed til 2am !!!
Lets not forget the day was abetted by the humour of compere Steve Drayton. A star himself.
Big thanks to jumpin hot club & all the backstage team who made this happen & the sound pa people too