1939631_10208737952955329_8967126589546251145_nThe third and final day of the C2C, begins with a welcome and unexpected surprise. The Texan singer-songwriter, Andrew Combs, who has the task of opening the final night at the Arena in London, turns out to be a great artist. Having grown up listening to the music of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, the feelings expressed in his songs are evidence of his songwriting skills. He leads off with “Foolin’”, one of the hits from his 2015 album, “All These Dreams”. The band supports him perfectly, never overwhelming the tone of his clean, crystal clear and sober voice. He’s definitely one of the lesser-known artists of the 2016 lineup, but will be remembered for his distinguished performance, by the more traditional audience as well as the younger fans. After a short break with the Striking Marches, it is Chris Stapleton’s turn, the real revelation of this festival. An artist who, having remained lately out of the public eye, because he is busy writing hit songs for people like George Strait, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Adele, and Dierks Bentley, just to name a few, is surely the protagonist of the 2016 edition of the C2C. Chris comes to the O2 Arena with a very simple style. He doesn’t need any special effects, stroboscopic lights or a band with too many members. With him, on stage, three other musicians, but when the music starts, the audience is literally left speechless, enchanted by a majestic and powerful voice, almost like a gospel singer. By his side, his wife Morgane, herself a professional singer. Unfortunately, his show is over after only 7 songs, among which “Whiskey and You” and “Tennessee Whiskey”, the song which rocketed him to the top of the American charts. Stapleton has an innate talent, and it is safe to say that Country music has found, once again, a leading character.
Following Franke Ballard, on stage, as if from a fairy tale, one of the stars of the moment, Kacey Musgraves, who opens her concert with “Pageant Material”, from her latest album. Nice but extravagant look, a band (finally with cowboy hats) all wearing identical clothes, and a way of approaching the stage, that distinguishes her from all other female stars present in London. “Pageant Material” is followed by “Biscuits”, then “Silver Lining”, but one of the most intense moments remains definitely “Merry Go Round”, which Kacey plays divinely, accompanied only by acoustic guitar. The magic continues with ‘With a Spoonful of Sugar’ taken from “Mary Poppins” that Kacey sings in an idyllic way, almost like a lullaby. Her concert ends with the cover of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. To bring the third and final night of the C2C 2016 to an end, it is up to one of the “Bad Boys” of Country music, made in Nashville, namely Eric Church. With his skull-shaped backgrounds, his skull branded amplifiers and with his jacket and skull patch, he bursts out on stage of the O2 Arena with “Knives of New Orleans”, taken from his latest album “Mr.Misunderstood”. An hour and a half of great music, with a series of famous tracks like “Talladega” from the album “The Outsiders”, “Like a Wrecking Ball”, the legendary “Boots”, during which, as is always the case now during Eric’s concerts, the audience actively participates, launching boots on stage or wandering around barefoot. A very Bruce Springsteen like sound, but with a subtle country sound that makes Erich Church, in his own unique way, definitely a worthy musician to close a truly spectacular festival such as the 2016 Edition of the Country To Country. See y’all next year. (Fulvia Foresti. Gianluca Sitta)