Liv Austen has rapidly become one of the most popular acts on the UK country scene. She’s a regular fixture at events like Nashville Nights, Buck N Bull and Country to Country, and her debut album A Moment Of Your Time was well-received by fans and reviewers alike following its release last year. Next week she’s putting out a double A-side vinyl of two tracks from the record – Whole Heart and Detour – and celebrated the launch with an intimate event at The Library in Covent Garden.
Accompanied by guitarist Jon, Austen kicked off her acoustic set with Window Shopping, the previous single from her album. It’s a fun, uptempo number with some great pop touches that shows off the sweetness and soulful side of her voice really well. I liked that she put a bit of a sassy spin on the song and it was clear the crowd were having fun too – I could see quite a few people dancing along!
One thing which always strikes me when I see Austen perform is just how varied her styles and influences are. She’s able to slip easily from more upbeat tracks to the likes of Whole Heart, which has much more of a rock influence. I loved her harmonies with Jon on the song, but what really struck me about it was the openness and honesty of her lyrics. The situation she sings about – reassuring herself that her partner is over his ex and fully committed to her – is one that’s happened to many of us, but she packs so much detail and storytelling into the song and makes it feel incredibly personal.
For me the standout song was Detour. It’s one of my favourites on the album, but hearing Liv sing it live is absolutely incredible. The sparse arrangement put the emphasis firmly on her vocals, which had a gorgeous tone and clarity whilst being full of passion and raw emotion. It was a subdued yet powerful rendition and drew whoops and cheers from the crowd as she finished. She also gave us a sneak peek of the video for the song she’d shot last week – I won’t say too much for fear of spoilers but suffice to say it’s very intense and dramatic.
Overall Liv Austen delivered an entertaining show that was a great showcase for just how versatile she is as an artist. She also came across as very relaxed and easy-going on stage, chatting with the audience and cracking jokes. Although her set was short, she showed why she’s one of the standout artists on the UK country scene and I’m looking forward to seeing more from her in the future.
Liv Austen’s double A-side, Whole Heart and Detour, is out on 17th May on vinyl and digital download.
See Liv live at The Long Road Festival, Stanford Hall, Lutterworth, Leicestershire from 6th – 8th September 2019. Day and weekend tickets are available from www.thelongroad.com.