Iconic North American songwriters heading to The Fire Station

TWO of America’s most successful and influential singer songwriters are to perform at Sunderland’s newest arts and culture venue.

Brandy Clark and Beth Nielsen Chapman are two of their generation’s most respected songwriters and musicians. And both are to appear at The Fire Station in Sunderland in an Autumn Americana season that will also feature Canadian singer-songwriter and actress Frazey Ford, and country and folk rock band The Cowboy Junkies.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have both Brandy and Beth coming to Sunderland – they’re both hugely successful songwriters and performers in their own right and it’s a real coup to have them as part of our Americana season. It’s so wonderful to have international artists back performing in the UK and both artists are the real deal and genuine stars of the genre,” said Tamsin Austin, Venue Director at The Fire Station.

Country Music Association (CMA) award winner Brandy Clark is also a multiple Grammy nominee who has written for the likes of Sheryl Crow, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes and Kacey Musgraves. Her third studio album, Your Life is a Record, was released to critical acclaim in 2020, with a deluxe edition of the album, with six new songs, released last year.

Clark is nominated in two categories for this year’s 64th Grammy Awards: Song of the Year (A Beautiful Noise performed by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile) and Best American Roots Performance (Same Devil featuring Carlile). 

She and her producer Jay Joyce used strings and experimental musicians to give Your Life as a Record a sound different to her previous work. The album, which includes a duet with Randy Newman on Bigger Boat, peaked at number two in 2020’s UK Country Album chart, and number three in the UK Americana Album chart – it also reached the top ten in US Folk Albums (Billboard) chart.

Clark will be appearing at The Fire Station on Tuesday, September 6, when she will be supported by up-and-coming songwriter and guitar player Alex Hall.

Originally from Gainesville, Georgia, Hall is influenced by his heroes Elvis Presley, Keith Urban and Bruce Springsteen and released his debut EP, Six Strings, last year.

Tickets are selling fast for the gig, as they are for Beth Nielsen Chapman’s show on Sunday, November 13, which is part of her Fall Uk Tour.

Twice Grammy-nominated Chapman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2016 and has released 13 solo albums. She has also written several number one hits and had songs recorded by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Elton John and Neil Diamond, as well as the smash hit This Kiss made famous by Faith Hill.

Recently, she was one of many artists paying tribute to her great friend Olivia Newton-John, who died earlier this month of breast cancer. In 2016, Chapman, Olivia Newton-John and Amy Sky created and toured an inspiring project called Liv On – an album to aid and comfort those experiencing grief and loss while using the power of music to heal. 

Nashville-based Chapman is herself a cancer survivor and said of her friend: “I will never forget that year and a half when I was going through treatment … she was always so inspiring and so helpful.

“I was diagnosed in 2000 with stage two breast cancer. I remember getting a phone call from Olivia on the day that I was diagnosed. I was a single mom and my son was about 19 going into college. I was just reeling and she called me up and she said, ‘I’m gonna put you in touch with my oncologist, he’s gonna call you.’ She gave me his home phone number and she was right there — incredibly helpful.

“I went into a full remission but I counted her friendship and her guidance as one of the main things that really helped me.”

Chapman will be supported by singer songwriter and upright bassist Scott Mulvahill. Raised in Houston, Mulvahill cut his teeth as a member of Ricky Skaggs’ acclaimed band, Kentucky Thunder and for the past decade has forged a reputation on the intersecting worlds of Americana, bluegrass, folk, jazz, rock & roll and roots music.

Later in November (22nd) Vancouver-based singer songwriter Frazey Ford will appear at The Fire Station for one of only three UK shows on the back of her latest album, U Kin B the Sun, releases in 2020.

Tamsin said: “We’re excited to be welcoming Frazey to The Fire Station. Her work is a deeply funky mix of folk, funk, soul and psychedelia – and she has such an amazing voice.”

Frazey was a founding member of The Be Good Tanyas, and she released her first solo album, Obadiah (Frazey’s middle name) in 2010. Her second album, Indian Ocean, came four years later.

The last act in The Fire Station’s Americana programme is alternative Americana legends Cowboy Junkies.

The Canadian band, long admired for their carefully-chosen cover versions of songs, including their million selling 1998 album The Trinity Session, will be at The Fire Station on Wednesday, November 23 as part of a tour promoting their critically-acclaimed new album, Songs of the Recollection.

The new album features nine covers, both newly recorded and curated from previous album projects, and includes tracks from David Bowie, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Vic Chesnutt and The Cure.

For further information or to book tickets for any of the artists, please go to www.thefirestation.org.uk.


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