Sam Morrow and his band played a blistering set recently as part of his UK tour in the sleepy little Northamptonshire village of Great Cransley, near Kettering. Where, I hear you all ask? Great Cransley is located near the town of Kettering in Northamptonshire and the Little Country Smokehouse has been borne out of the ashes of a garden centre located in approximately 7 acres of land. An authentic, Texan-style smokehouse in a building complete with wooden wagon wheels on the exterior, and a front porch straight out of the Deep South – which wouldn’t be complete without the Stars & Stripes of the American flag flying boldly in the UK breeze. Blink and you’d think you had been transported 4,000 miles into a slice of Americana heaven. To top this unique setting, the Little Country Smokehouse has added live Country/Americana music into the mix and created a ‘must have’ experience for the country music loving folk among us to satisfy our craving for all things Southern. Plus the ribs (so I’ve been told and will try next time) are to die for. You can find the restaurant menus, opening times and general information over on https://www.greentrunks.co.uk/smokehouse.php
The incredibly understated Ned Roberts supported. A successful singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice, lyrical poetry akin to Bob Dylan and armed with an acoustic guitar and just his voice as his weapon. Ned performed with the confident ease of a true professional, an emotional and powerful set, scattered with good humour and great rapport with an eager audience. Ned is one to watch and you can find out more over on Ned’s website: www.nedroberts.co.uk & via his social media channels (@NedRobertsMusic).
Sam Morrow & his band shook the Smokehouse to its core with their outstanding performance. Sam was named as one of Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” back in January 2018. Described as ‘California classic rock mixed with Texas honkytonk’, I’d say this is a pretty good description of an artist that has had his own share of ups and downs and is now totally comfortable in his own skin. He’s making the kind of country music he wants to with no apologies to the purists. Sam can deliver a thigh slapping slice of classic country and then shake the pop socks off your Grandma. His delivery of tracks from his latest album ‘Concrete and Mud’ was gritty, rocky, bluesy and with a good measure of funk thrown in. If it wasn’t for the tables still set out in restaurant formation, I’m sure that quite a few of the appreciative crowd would be up on their feet, throwing around a few appreciative shapes and an air guitar or two. An amazing cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ was a real highlight of the night, along with “Heartbreak Man'”, “Skinny Elvis”, “Cigarettes”, the stomping “Good Ole’ Days” funky ‘Paid by the Mile”, and the slick ‘Quick Fix’, which especially wowed my converted friends – two Sam Morrow virgins – one of which left clutching a signed vinyl copy of the album (and a Ned Roberts CD as a bonus, although she realised she had no CD player when she got home!).
We bumped into the band earlier in the night, enthralled by a rainbow in the sky and taking selfies with it in the background. There was no twister to follow, but once inside the Little Country Smokehouse we were transported to a world over that rainbow, where I had a feeling we weren’t in Kettering anymore.
For more information on Sam’s music and upcoming tours, head over to http://sammorrowmusic.com and follow him on Facebook (@SamMorrow). I can’t wait for Sam to come back over to the UK and wow us all over again.