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The Shires and Beth Nielsen Chapman among host of acts for Americana music series at Sunderland's Fire Station Auditorium

American roots and country music will be celebrated in the heart of Sunderland city centre with a series of concerts.

Thursday, 20th January 2022, 2:39 pm

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Sunderland’s new £11million Fire Station Auditorium will be playing host to a number of stars from the popular genre in the coming weeks.

The upcoming series will feature national and international names including smash hit country singer-songwriter Beth Neilsen Chapman, Grammy nominee Gregory Alan Isakov, best-selling UK Country duo The Shires and American hot jazz virtuosos The Hot Club of Cowtown.

Kicking off the series of concerts in January 2022 is acclaimed singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, who will bring a solo performance of his latest album, Heartbreaker Please, to The Fire Station on Thursday, January 20.

A host of roots and country stars are heading to Sunderland

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Teddy is the son of legendary folk-rock pioneers, Richard and Linda Thompson. After he emigrated to the United States at the tender age of 18, he embarked on a career of his own which led to a string of successful solo albums, collaborations with Martha and Rufus Wainwright and production credits on albums by some of the biggest names in Americana, such as Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynn, Dori Freeman, Roseanne Reid as well as his mother, Linda Thompson.

Heavily influenced not only by folk music but by artists such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers, Thompson’s music fuses elements of 60s doo-wop and 80s synth sounds with rock ‘n’ roll, country and pop.

Support comes from special guest Roseanne Reid, the daughter of Proclaimers’ Craig Reid, who is being touted as a major new voice in folk-roots music. Her debut album was produced by Teddy and features other special guest appearances including Steve Earle.

On Thursday, January 27, the award-winning British country duo The Shires will arrive in Sunderland for an intimate acoustic show featuring their greatest hits and personal favourites.

The Shires

The Shires’ Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have made huge waves both on home soil and in the US where they became the first UK artists to win ‘Best International Act’ at the prestigious Country Music Awards.

The duo released their debut album Brave in 2015 which reached gold-certified status and topped the UK country charts. A further two gold-

certified albums and three Top 10 singles followed, firmly cementing their status as two of country music’s most prominent voices.

The following Thursday, March 3, will see Grammy nominee Gregory Alan Isakov take a break from supporting The Lumineers on their arena tour for a special show at The Fire Station.

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now calling Colorado home, the horticulturist-turned-musician has cast an impressive presence on the indie-rock and folk worlds with his five full-length studio albums including Evening Machines, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album in 2018.

On Thursday, March 10, the critically acclaimed contemporary folk artist This Is The Kit will hit the stage. The quintet is the musical project of Paris-based British musician Kate Stables who has toured and collaborated with New York based The National and Iron & Wine and earned the support of major music publications and BBC DJs such as Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe & Maconie, Mary Ann Hobbes and Huw Stephens.

Since their debut album, Krulle Bol in 2008, This Is The Kit have unpicked emotional knots and woven remarkable stories through their music, which can be heard on the band’s latest album, ‘Off Off On’ which received widespread acclaim from the likes of Mojo, Uncut and The Independent.

April 2022 will see two major US Americana acts head to The Fire Station. The internationally-renowned hot jazz trio The Hot Club of Cowtown will perform on Wednesday, April 20, followed by the twice Grammy-nominated country star Beth Nielsen Chapman on Friday, April.

This is the kit © Ph. Lebruman

Formed over two decades ago, The Hot Club of Cowtown is the ear-catching result of marrying the sultry sounds of hot jazz, made famous by Django Reinhardt, with the hard-driving sound of Western swing pioneered by Bob Wills.

The Austin-based band is renowned for its jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows that weave together a combination of seemingly disparate styles. The band’s unique sound has earned them fans worldwide with an impressive list of support slots for music legends like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry.

Closing the programme is Beth Nielsen Chapman who will be stopping off in Sunderland on her ‘All Around The World Tour’. Based in the global centre for country music, Nashville, where the Sunderland legend that is Dave Stewart now has a studio, Chapman is a twice-nominated songwriter known for penning several number one hits for the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Elton John and Neil Diamond. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2016.

For her show at The Fire Station, Chapman is set to reclaim some of her biggest songwriting hits as well as perform songs from her latest album Hearts Of Glass. Riveting and sparse, Chapman describes the 2018 record as a powerful collection of songs that reach into the place where vulnerability meets strength.

The upcoming Americana programme is part of Firestarters, an ambitious season of live music, dance, comedy and theatre set to take place at the brand new £18 million venue over the next six months.

The opening programme was commissioned by Sunderland Music Arts and Culture Trust, delivered by Sunderland Culture and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Hot Club of Cowtown

Tickets are available to buy from www.thefirestation.org.uk

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