Today we’re chatting to Northern Souvenirs. Alex and Lisa met in the North, live in the South, and have travelled and played everywhere in between. Their debut single My Page was released back in May, and they’re gearing up for their second single now – so amidst the madness of coordinating a release, we asked them to take a trip down memory lane and tell us all about #whatmadeyoucountry.
Alex tells us: I grew up with country music, especially the legendary Glen Campbell. My dad had his best-of albums in the car, and I remember countless journeys to the soundtrack of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, ‘Country Boy’ and ‘Galveston’. But my favourite song of Glen’s, and my favourite song of all-time, is ‘Wichita Lineman’. It’s incredibly beautiful and reminiscent; “And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all-time”. What a lyric from Jimmy Webb!
Lisa explains: In complete contrast, I grew up with a strange hybrid mixture of musical theatre and pop music. But I started listening to country music at University. The song that springs to mind as my first would be Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Our friends were in an all-female folk group called The Fables, and they covered it in three-part harmony during one of their gigs, it was gorgeous!
Our first country gig together was Darius Rucker at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, supported by Patrick Davis. Both were absolutely incredible. It was such an intimate gig, and you could feel the love for the music radiate from the stage. The energy was awesome! We also met both of them after the show and chatted all things country and music – it was very cool.
The first country song we heard together, and which inspired us to play and write country music together, was Darius Rucker’s cover of ‘Wagon Wheel’. It’s a real feel-good country song that really tells a story and makes you wanna pick up your guitar and travel and make music. Darius brings so much soul and truth to it. The whole ‘True Believers’ album really spoke to us as performers and songwriters. We discovered it at a time when we were living at opposite ends of the country, and it became the soundtrack to travelling up and down the country to be together. It’s probably the album that made us realise that country music was the genre that really resonated with us as artists – we wanted to tell stories through music.
‘True Believers’ was certainly the album that influenced and inspired us to play country music but, if we had to choose another to listen to for the next ten years, it would have to be Mo Pitney’s debut album ‘Behind This Guitar’. It’s a beautifully raw and truthful album, with such honest and relatable storytelling. It’s a real ‘back to your roots’ album, wherever they might be.
And if we got a wildcard, as there’s two of us, we’d have to throw in ‘Come On Over’. It’s a faultless album. Back-to-back iconic tracks. And, because, well… Shania! Am I right?!