Biddy Ronelle - WMYC

Today’s #WMYC comes from Biddy Ronelle, who is gearing up to release her new single Thrill at the end of the month.

 

For me, country music is definitely always about storytelling first and foremost. Then I think there’s such an array of music especially now that comes under the country umbrella and we can argue all day about what actually makes it country but if someone believes it’s country then let them. The three songs I have/am releasing are wildly different musically from one to the next and my EP did blend genres quite intentionally to try and appeal to more listeners. I grew up listening to country and rock music and there are “country” bands that I love that blend these genres well such as Delta Rae and Zac Brown Band, so I do prefer the heavier stuff in general to listen and play. I think I like the way country music is moving forwards now that we are seeing blends of genres we never thought we’d be hearing such as R’n’B country and country rap. It’s no longer just about the four chords and the truth, but we need to remember what the whole genre was founded on.

 

The first country song I ever heard was “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones and I was really young (about 6/7 years old) and listening to someone sing it on karaoke in Spain. I remember reading the lyrics on the screen and starting to cry. Mother says I was a sensitive child! It’s one of those songs that you need to really sit and listen to the lyrics and it becomes sadder as the song progresses to its resolution. I love the kind of songs that give you a good hard punch in the gut.

 

I was pretty late to the party in terms of recognising the existence of country in the UK so my first real country concert would have been Lady Antebellum in 2018 I think – they were supported by Brett Young and Kelsea Ballerini. I’d always been to rock concerts from a young age with my first being Alanis Morisette in 2004 when I was 14. To be fair to me though, I lived abroad mostly from 2008-16 and I assure you country music is not particularly huge in the likes of Egypt and Finland! I saw a lot of smaller gigs when I lived in Australia but again leaned towards rock and blues out there.

 

Brandi Carlile led the way for me when it came to songwriting – I am constantly in awe of the way she crafts lyrics and once again blends the genres of country, rock and folk together really really well. I do however have a rather eclectic taste in music so I could easily credit a whole load of female writers that would most definitely include Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, Pat Benetar, Missy Higgins and many more.

 

If I could only listen to one country album for the next ten years, it would be The Story by Brandi Carlile, both the original and the covers that include Dolly Parton. It’s a masterclass in songwriting and vocal agility. She’s so quirky and talented, I adore her. Okay, it’s not necessarily completely in the country genre but her storytelling is second to none.

 

Here goes an absolutely eclectic mix off the top of my head that stand out to me, not necessarily reflected in my own songwriter but some of my absolute favourites.

 

 

Biddy Ronelle is a UK country-rock singer-songwriter whose debut EP was released in January to critical acclaim.  Her new single, Thrill, will be released at the end of July and is available to pre-order now.  Follow Biddy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit her website.