With her debut at the SummerTyne Americana Festival, the rising star of the British country music scene made a welcome return to the UK.
Since moving to the U.S. five years ago, Callaghan has been recording with the likes of the Grammy Nominated Shawn Mullins, as well as undertaking ambitious coast-to-coast tours playing house concerts. With a new album titled A History of Now out earlier this year, she found herself back in blighty for an early afternoon show at The Sage Gateshead.
Callaghan took the stage with her trusty acoustic guitar and was accompanied by Okorie Johnson who demonstrated wonderful cello playing throughout the show. Taking the crowd through “Crazy Beautiful Life,” she sang through her smile and her happiness was infectious. Callaghan informed the audience she was all too familiar with ‘The Toon’ as locals put it, having had many nights out in Newcastle visiting her sister who studied there.
During beautiful ballads like “When You Loved Me,” the audience was respectful with complete silence. Callaghan changed the pace of the show with an incredible cover of “Folson Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. With everyone clapping along and accompanying her with some backing vocals, she genuinely enjoyed herself almost as much as the fans and was rewarded with rapturous applause.
A noticeable element about Callaghan was her great ability to tell stories throughout the show. Each number was accompanied by a tale. Taking a seat behind her keyboard she walked the crowd through the amusing story behind the love song “Green Eyes” which she wrote for her husband, who after five weeks of marriage followed her to the U.S. to pursue her music career. The song was originally titled “Blue Eyes,” only for her to find out during the first time she played him the song he, in fact, had green eyes.
Callaghan closed out her set with the happy anthem, “Best Year,” from her debut album, Life In Full Colour, before a sublime cover of Otis Redding’s “Stand By Me.” The proceedings were brought to a close with “We Don’t Have To Change The World,” which had been receiving airplay from Bob Harris on Radio 2. The crowd hung on every word as she left the stage to huge cheers.