Singer-songwriter Brett Eldredge was last in the UK for C2C: Country to Country in March 2019.
Performing on the Main Stage, he was one of the highlights of the festival, and he’s wasted no time plotting his return. Later this month he kicks off a headline European show with a string of dates in the UK.
I caught up with Brett recently to talk about the tour, discuss the incredible reaction he received at C2C and to find out more about the personal deep dive he’s done for his forthcoming album…
The last time you were in the UK was for C2C, which was such an incredible show. What was that experience like for you?
It was awesome. At that point I really dove deep with my band and started connecting with them on another level playing live and that tour really brought my music to another level because everybody was just jamming and enjoying themselves, and everybody was feeding off each other. That excitement was something that on that tour really fuelled into my incredible year last year of making music. I really do attribute that to some of that touring and just playing those shows. The energy was just incredible. I’m ready to bring that back again on another level. so I can’t wait.
It was a step up in venue size for you here in the UK too to go from Koko in Camden to The O2 Arena. What was it like to make that leap?
It was crazy. The Koko show was such a great show. By the venue is (the venue) OK? I saw something about it being on fire…
Yes there was a fire there recently but I think it’s going to be OK…
Oh good! I really was heartbroken when I heard the news. I loved that show so much. It was my first big giant packed show in Europe and in the UK. I saw that headline on one of the major news networks and I was like, ‘oh, man’. The energy I felt the first time I played the Koko, it was on Valentine’s Day, someone got engaged on stage. It was an experience I’ll never forget. To come back and play The O2 and feel that energy times ten was wild. I mean it’s that connection. Both shows are were unforgettable honestly, for me. To make that kind of leap, it’s so cool, and I love to see our fan base has grown over there and also the country music fan base is growing. That’s inspiring to continue to come back over and over and to continue to grow it and to realise that there are people out there that want to hear these stories be told, and we’ve got a lot of stories to tell. I love the appreciation for the music there. It’s quite intriguing.
I’m glad we don’t have to wait too long for you to come back this time. It’s going to be less than a year since your last visit and you have your headline tour kicking off this month. How are you feeling about it?
I feel real good. It’s very fun to look back at the kid version of myself, which I still feel like I’m a kid, and imagining one day, ‘what if I’m able to play my music in so faraway place and sing these songs?’ When I was a kid I was just thinking about playing and singing in my local cafes in my little town of 8,000 people. That was like the Super Bowl to me. That was an arena to me. Then all of a sudden my career took off in the states and I was singing all around the US and these giant stages and then to take it over to (the UK), that’s a major dream to be able to take it to a whole other level, a whole other stage and a whole other Country… it’s amazing! That appreciation I have everybody in the UK and Europe is incredible and it’s definitely a dream.
You must be getting quite a good handle on your UK fans now that you’ve been over twice. What have you noticed about UK audiences that’s different to audiences in other parts of the world?
I started out my career in Nashville playing songwriter nights. I would play these little dive songwriter bars and sometimes there’d be like two people or even nobody in the crowd (laughs). I cut my teeth and would tell these stories to whoever I could get to listen to them. I’ve never lost that part of me of. The vulnerability of telling these stories can be scary, but when you know that there’s someone out there that wants to hear it, it’s empowering. The thing I’ve learned about touring the UK is that appreciation for that. It takes me back to being that kid with the fire in my eyes, playing any song that anybody will listen to. Everyone over there is ready to listen and has so much passion and appreciation for these stories and for this music and for the melodies and the sound, and just the whole thing. It’s an experience that’s hard to find. That keeps me coming back for more and more and definitely makes it an experience unlike any other.
Last time we chatted you were in the process of disconnecting from social media and the Internet as you went in to the studio to work on the new album. How’s the album coming along?
I am deep into the album making right now. It’s kind of crazy to look back on the last year. I started the whole year with the C2C tour and that was the launch off into my year of really taking time to focus on myself honestly, and what I want to say with this album and with my new music. I had to really get away from the noise, I guess I would say, for a little while and find what I wanted to say. When I come back on this next record I want it to be something important that I want to say and it’s not just going to be another record. It’s going to be a next level for me and my music. Now I can say on the other side of that year diving deep, playing fewer shows and isolating myself in mountains, different places, different beaches and different little towns writing these songs, it was the best thing I’ve ever done personally, professionally and musically. It’s going to show big time with this next album. I’m so glad I did it. It was scary at times and it was also empowering. I grew more than I’ve ever grown in my life over the last year so I’m excited for it.
Was it an opportunity for you to reconnect with yourself and to learn something new about yourself?
Yeah. It did a lot for me I guess learning about myself, which also made me learn about my music. It did a lot for growth. If you get away from all the things, you know… I don’t want to know what this person is doing or this person – it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I don’t want to make songs that someone else is trying to make or try to do a record that (sounds) like this. I want to not worry about any of that and just go and listen to what my heart needs to say. That’s what makes you an artist but sometimes you get caught up in the world seeing all these different things of what others are doing, that you forget to care and worry about yourself, and take care of yourself. Not that I didn’t before but I wanted to do it to a level that I felt I needed to in order to have the love and the music that I now have by getting away from it all and not look at my phone all the time. I had a flip phone and I really connected profoundly and it’s going to really show on this next record. I think it’s going to surprise people in a really big way of just how far and deep I went. It was an amazing journey.
Can you tease anything about the themes that are coming out in the songwriting?
I can’t say a lot but I would say it really gets down to the the essentials of life and the nostalgia of who you are and where you come from. Musically it’s more organic and it just really lets me sing and let’s my vocal shine and tell these stories. It’s another level of depth. I feel like I’ve grown up and become a man on this record. This is my fourth record, or fifth record if you count the Christmas record. I feel like my whole journey from my first record to here, I’ve grown up on this record and I think it really shows. I’m proud of all my records but this feels like it’s the deep place I’ve always wanted to go on and now I have the courage to do it.
You mentioned the Christmas record Glow. You know I’m a big fan of that record. It gets a lot of air time in my house in November and December. You toured the record back in December. How did that go?
It was incredible. I got to start it out with two sold-out shows at the Ryman. It was a hometown show so I got to sleep in my own bed. There’s a picture of my buddy and I and we were drinking on the steps of the Ryman. I was a 21-year-old in Nashville wondering what it would be like to play there one day. I couldn’t even get in there at point, I probably couldn’t even afford a ticket but my appreciation of that place… then to be playing two big sold-out shows there was just incredible. Then two big shows at The Beacon in New York and in Chicago Theatre. The warmth of these shows and the nostalgia of it and the heart of it, you can just feel it in every person that walks in. For me, I could feel it from all of them. It was just incredible experience. I can’t believe we did it and I can’t wait to do it again this year.
I think you need to get over here and put it out at the Royal Albert Hall, even for one night. There has to be a way of making it happen and it would be incredible…
Oh man, that would be awesome! That would be a dream to be able to do that as well. Hopefully we can make that happen!
Much of this year will be focused on the new album but what else will you be doing over the course of 2020?
Finishing the record. I think this whole year is going to be focussed around this album. It’s all being drawn up right now. The thing I’ve had on my mind fully is getting over to Europe and the U.K. and doing this tour because it launches off my year and gets me in the right space, that I want to be to take my crew next level. You always want to grow but I know what I have in the hopper as they say, getting ready to launch this album and I know it’s something very special. To be able to go over there and to ignite that flame on this tour and feel these fans and really connect with them is going to be, I think, the perfect start to a career changing year for me. I’m going all in and this is going to be a great way to start it.
Brett’s latest album Brett Eldredge is available now. You can catch him live at the following dates:
24/1 – Cologne, DE – Carlswerk
25/1 – Hamburg, DE – Docks
29/1 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
31/1 – Cambridge, UK – Junction
1/2 – Birmingham, ENG – Institute
3/2 – Manchester, ENG – Ritz
4/2 – Glasgow, SCT – Old Fruitmarket
7/2 – London, ENG – Shepherd’s Bush Empire