Not 1, not 2 but all 3 of these modern country music artists played at Country 2 Country earlier this year, and here they all were, back together again to play the very prestigious Borderline in London. It was my first time at The Borderline, which is just a short walk from Tottenham Court Road, and had a great vibe. It was a four date mini-tour of the UK for Jill & Kate, who specifically chose Jeannine and Hannah after seeing them perform at Country 2 Country in March.
Hannah Jane Lewis
Read through previous articles about Hannah and you’ll see an EP review and interview amongst other things, and she was the act I was most familiar with. She was on stage with her full band, and as always looked thrilled to be there, the place she feels most at home. Tonight’s set was actually different to the two I saw her play in The O2, as she played some new material that I’d not heard before. Stuck On You is a very upbeat song that had the crowd singing so loud at one point, that I’m certain Hannah had to sing louder!
The other new song was called Part Of My Heart, though that may change, and is a story of first loves. I had it in mind that this would make a great single, something Hannah confirmed as a plan of hers in the sit down video interview we did – coming soon! It has a fantastic hook and as popular as 17 Again has become (over 10,000 views on YouTube), I think Part Of My Heart could be a really big breakout song for Hannah. It was a great 7 song set, which also included songs from her EP and a cover of Hey Ho, which she sings with her sister Grace. Hannah just keeps getting better, both as a singer/songwriter and as a performer.
I learned a big lesson during Jeannine’s set – don’t go to the loo right before someone starts playing if you intend to take photos of an act on stage. You got it, I lost my spot, and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to get into a good position to get some good snaps of Jeannine and band! Luckily I had seen Jeannine play just 6 days earlier at The Garage in Highbury, so I knew she could sing, and the acoustics in The Borderline are even better.
I wasn’t that familiar with Jeannine’s music before these two gigs, but I found myself singing along to What I Long For at The Borderline, and it’s been in my head ever since – that’s the mark of a great song. I’m not sure during which song it was, but at one point the mic failed – such is the power of Jeannine’s voice! A new mic was soon brought out and it was back to business! Jeannine is a class act on stage, but I feel sure there’s a sassy side just waiting to burst out, and I want to be there when that happens!
Jill & Kate
In case you didn’t know, Jill & Kate spent 6 years as backing singers for Kelly Clarkson, so they should be able to sing live, and boy can they ever. They also had quite the rabid pack of fans, who cheered their every word, something Kate both cottoned onto and played on, to the delight of that very crowd. Charming and funny, with Jill on guitar and piano, and Kate on lead vocals and mandolin, this is one very talented duo that seem to have made the right decision to go it alone.
They played hits from their catalogue, as well as from their new acoustic covers album. One such number was ROAR by Katy Perry, which is a song I don’t mind, but every time I’ve seen Katy sing live it’s been somewhat of a disaster. To that end it was quite refreshing to hear a Katy Perry song performed live, and sound good, really good! The crowd went bonkers for Since You Were Gone and I was delighted they played my own personal favourite: Skinny Jeans. They sang for over an hour and when they went off I actually thought that was that, but they came back on for a two song encore, including the very moving Hey Bartender.
Hannah, Jeannine, Jill and Kate, aside from sounding like the register at a girl’s school, all sounded fantastic and put on a great show to entertain all of us in attendance. I’d be very surprised if the audience didn’t go away both bigger fans of everyone’s music and keen to see them all live again soon. The Borderline is a venue rich in musical history, and all three acts did it proud. CMAFest may be going on in Nashville right now, but on Wednesday we had our own mini version right here in London.