February 2024

Club Reports

This is where you can read about clubs from their members or club promoters to see what is happening on the Country music circuit. It is updated as and when we receive reports and get the time to include them.

Saddle Tramps C&W, Carlisle, Cumbria

Artist-images - Side Saddle

Side Saddle

by Liz

24th February 2024

We held our first club night in our new venue on Saturday 24th when, I have to say, the turn out was fantastic.
Side Saddle played great tunes, lots that we used to dance to years ago and the floor was full. They are really a lovely couple and so obliging.
We had the usual raffle and so many prizes donated we had to save some for next month.
As most folks know, we are a charity club and all our profits go to Eden Valley Hospice. Thank you to everyone who came along to support us and donated prizes and thanks to Side Saddle duo who played well all night although there was a little sound problem at the start but it soon got sorted.
We are looking forward to next month when we will have Cactus Jack to provide our entertainment.
Take care out there.

Denver Junction, Kidbrooke, London

Artist-images - Chris Johnson 52

Chris Johno Johnson

23rd February 2024

by Nick Catford

Weekly clubs are now few and far between but I am pleased to say the Denver Junction CMC, (one of only two surviving clubs within the M25: in 1990 there were 26 clubs!) is still going strong with top quality Country acts every week. On the 23rd February, Chris ‘Johno’ Johnson made his debut at the club with a long journey south from Bridlington in East Yorkshire.
Johno will be a new name to many having only been playing on the club circuit since the end of lockdown but already he has made a huge impression on clubs in the north of England and with so many bookings coming in for this year and next year he gave up his day job to go fully pro last summer. On tonight’s performance it was quickly clear just why he has become so popular so quickly.
Johno has been playing guitar since he was 14 and although he has always been a Country fan he ‘discovered’ new country when he heard Garth Brooks while in the army in Canada in the late 1990s. With a rich Country voice and a cheeky sence of humour, he had little problem filling the dance floor from the start kicking proceedings off with Little Texas’s God Blessed Texas followed by Cody Johnson’s Til You Can’t and John Michael Montgomery’s Sold. Throughout the evening there was a well chosen mix of old and new and slow and fast and Johno always had the dancers in mind and although not a dancer himself he had no problem keeping the toes tapping.
There were a couple from Luke Combs, The Kind of Love We Make and Brand New Man and three from Midland, Drinking Problem, Running Wild, Playboys.  Marty Stuart’s Tempted soon meant it was time for a barn dance With lots of chatty banter, Johno isn’t just a singer but he is also an entertainer, something that many good singers fail to achieve.
A few other songs that stood out for me through the evening included Drake Milligan’s Save It For A Sunny Day, Jaden Hamilton’s Heaven’s Jukebox, Josh Mirenda’s Til the Neon’s Gone,  Gord Bamford’s Diamonds In A Whiskey Glass and Montgomery Gentry’s Hillbilly Shoes. There was of course a Garth Brooks song, Papa Loved Mama, as it was Garth who first inspired him to become a Country singer in the late 1990s. There were two from Brooks & Dunn’s My Next Broken Heart and You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone which meant it was time for another barn dance.
As the evening progressed Johno’s infectious bonhomie rubbed off on everyone as he brought the evening to a close with Old Dominion’s Memory Lane and Cole Swindell’s Drinkaby. The applause and cheering was loud and well deserved and comments on social media the next day confirmed my view that Johno had gone down a bomb. He will be back at Denver Junction in October and I for one can’t wait.

Red Wolf, Alton, Hampshire

Artist-images - Theresa Coupland 1

Theresa Coupland

by Nick Catford

17th February 2024

Theresa Coupland or Theresa C as she is often known will be a new name to many people. Having been brought up on rock ‘n’ roll,  it wasn’t until the turn of the 21st century that she realised she wanted to be a Country singer and it would be another 14 years before she thought about launching a career as a solo artist. Initially this involved guest appearances with established artists like Henry Smith’s Country Dreams, The Ian Highland Band and Glenn Rogers.
She has recently started taking solo bookings on the club circuit and having seen here as a guest with Henry Smith in 2022, I was keen to see her in full flow.
I made my first visit to the Red Wolf CMC in Alton on 17th February and was quickly made welcome by Gary and Anna who run the club.
Theresa has a very wide repertoire and is happy to cater for all styles of dancing. What quickly struck me was that almost all of her songs were girls’ songs. With 90 percent of Country artists being male this at least guaranteed a good selection of songs that are heard less frequently. She kicked off with The Mavericks’ Back In Your Arms Again and quickly made friends with an ability to communicate and create a rapport with her audience. We heard a couple from Lorrie Morgan – Except For Monday and I Just Might Be, a trio of songs by Jill King – It’s Me Again, 98.6 Degrees and the inevitable Can’t Let Go because Train Wreck is still popular with the line dancers. Slowing things down there were four from Patsy Cline. You can’t go wrong with Patsy and tonight these included Crazy, I Fall To Pieces and my all time favourite, She’s Got You.
Theresa took us out of the first set with Suzy Bogguss’ Someday Soon followed by Gary who kept the music playing as he entertained us during the two breaks with his Country disco.
A few other songs that stood out for me during the evening were Lainey Wilson’s Heart Like A Truck, Kacey Musgraves’ Follow Your Arrow, Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s Die Of A Broken Heart, Mindy McCready’s Guys Do It All the Time, Ashley McBryde’s Girl Goin’ Nowhere and Nanci Griffith’s Lone Star State Of Mind, another favourite.
As we got to the end of the final set we had a few blokes’ songs including, Ty England ‘s Should’ve Asked Her Faster. Theresa finished the evening with George Jones’s Love Bug.
I had a great evening of Country music with many songs I haven’t heard in a long time. Theresa C was a breath of fresh air, has a good Country voice, a bubbly personality and there was plenty of good music.
Theresa will be back at Gary & Anna’s other club, The Spirit Eagle CMC in Chawton, Hampshire in December.

Ollie's Opry, Staverton, Gloucester

by Tim Adams

14th February 2024

Dave & Olive started Ollie’s Opry in 2011 and despite the challenges of recent years the club is in a good position. Some events are better attended than others but overall things are healthy with an average attendance of 70 during 2023.
For those of us who just turn up on the night, do we realise just how much work goes on between gigs and on the night to make it a success?
It seems a fact of life that when things go wrong in our lives we are often quick to complain. but when things go well, are we as quick to say thank you?
Recently a couple came to the club for the first time and enjoyed themselves to the point that the lady felt the need to compliment Dave & Olive by writing them a card. She wrote … ‘It was a lovely evening last night and the hall was lovely. How the seating was arranged too was good with plenty of room for dancing. It is nearly as good as Cheltenham Town Hall ballroom. The evening was a total success, so Dave, not so stressed now (hopefully). Congratulations both.’
Something like this is so rewarding and an incentive to keep going. So, Dave & Olive, keep up the good work. You’re doing a grand job.

Smokey2 CMC, Withall, West Midlands

John Doherty

Images - cake

by Ray Packham

10th February 2024

Well, we made it. On the tenth of February the club celebrated its 50th Anniversary, this after being rescued by Johnny B and myself from a disastrous spell eight years ago.
Thankfully the club has gone from strength to strength and there were over 100 supporters in to welcome John Doherty on to our stage for this special show. Prior to his opening number I had the pleasure of welcoming everyone and overseeing the lighting of our anniversary cake.
John performed two, one hour sets in his own special way. Latest dance numbers were interspersed with some older favourites and barn dance tunes.
Johnny B chose well for his DJ spots, choosing tracks not on John Doherty’s list and organising a big raffle. Everyone enjoyed their slice of cake and showed their appreciation of the music by calling for not one but two encores.
The organisers would like to thank everyone for all their support over the years and for creating that special atmosphere and the acts who have entertained us for over half a century!
Long may the club continue.

Silver Churn, nr Totnes, Devon

Poncho &Lefty

by Phil Jenkins

3rd February 2024

It was music as it should be tonight from Poncho and Lofty, Pete Allen ( Poncho), on vocals and guitar, joined by Mike Loft, of Capricorn fame, on bass, as Pete The Bear, Blackler has retired.
It’s always nice to hear something different and this duo do a great job in searching out golden oldies from way back, making for an interesting evening of pure Country.
We had numbers from Ed Bruce,  Stonewall Jackson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Randy Travis, George Strait, Dave Sheriff, Don Williams, Dale Watson, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Great stuff! The Party’s Over from Willie Nelson and My first Taste Of Texas from Ed Bruce being examples of numbers we don’t often hear.
Poncho and Lofty take a lot of  trouble to get everything spot on, volume and presentation wise. It was nice to have a healthy crowd in tonight, enjoying themselves on the dance floor and all going home happy.

Wraysbury CMC, Berkshire

Artist-images - John Permenter Band

John Permenter Band

by Nick Catford

2nd February 2024

I visited the Wraysbury CMC in Berkshire for the first time on 2nd January to see the fabulous John Permenter Band. John has been very popular on the club circuit as a soloist for a number of years but he also fronts a five-piece band which is generally only seen at festivals and holiday camps but occasionally they do take club bookings. They first played at the Wraysbury CMC last year and proved so popular that Colin and Ann brought them back for the club’s first Country dance of 2024.
John Permenter took up the fiddle in 1973 and, in 1977 he quit his job in the construction industry to become a full time musician. He played his first UK gig in 1996 and was backed by top British band, Memphis Roots. In 2008 he came back to England and later became a UK citizen. Joining John in his band are four very experienced musicians including two members of his former backing from Memphis Roots, Lee J Hodgson on lead guitar and Jon Keys on drums. On bass guitar the ‘Outrageous’ (his nickname in the 70s when he was a comedian) Glenn Rogers has been entertaining all his life forming his first band, The Glenn Rogers Experience in 1985.  The final member of the band is Darren Binns on keyboard.  Darren joined the Don Allan family band when he was 10 and continued working with his dad Don in Clear Cut duo until Don retired from singing during covid. Darren next teamed up with his father in law to form the Darren Busby duo in 2021.
The Wraysbury CMC prefers traditional Country and the bands programme stretched back to the 30s and included some of the great names of Country music spanning the next 60 years. John sung most of the lead vocals with the other four providing excellent harmonies with Lee, Jon and Glenn also singing lead from time to time.  The evening opened with John’s signature song, Asleep At The Wheel’s Texas Fiddle Man which quickly got the dancers onto the floor and the large dance floor remained busy all evening.
We had a good selection of George Strait songs including I Just Want To Dance With You, The Fireman, The Cowboy Rides Away and Amarillo By Morning which is one of George Strait’s personal favourites. Early on, there were a couple of great Bob Wills Texas swingers, Take Me Back To Tulsa and Bring It On Down To My House with John Keys on lead vocal. John took us out of the first set in fine style with songs that included the great fiddle classic ,Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down To Georgia.
The band opened up the second set with another Bob Wills/Asleep At The Wheel Texas swinger, Miles And Miles Of Texas. You can’t go wrong with a Merle Haggard song and I was pleased to hear a good selection which included Running Kind, Okie From Muskogee, Mama Tried, Working Man Blues, Today I Started Loving You Again and Sing Me Back Home. Ballads always filled the dance floor; these included two beautiful songs from Keith Whitley, When You Say Nothing At All and Don’t Close Your Eyes.
A few other songs that stood out during the evening were Dwight Yoakam’s Fast As You, George Jones’ Choices and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Sixteen Tons. John and the band took us out with another Country classic, Johnny Cash’s Orange Blossom Special which brought very loud and well deserved applause and cheering. For an encore there was one final chance for John to show what a great fiddle player he is with John Anderson’s Seminole Wind. Traditional Country music at its very best all evening. It was good to see the club so full with over 100 people including one couple travelling from Ipswich.
Glenn Rogers will be back at the club on 1st of March as part of G-Force duo with drummer Glynn Long who was also in the audience tonight.

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