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Canaan Cox

The Barrel, Banham

What a superb venue for music – plenty of space for a decent sized crowd and yet still feels intimate. Good sound too, proper mixing desk and stage set-up. Brian, the owner, is obviously serious about his music and making sure the visiting bands & musicians have nothing to complain about.

Tonight it was a country night and I was looking forward to hearing US singer Canaan Cox – he’s only doing 3 dates in the UK and one was in deepest Norfolk….well done Brian for getting him to come to Norfolk over all the other choices there could have been!

Canaan Cox and his American charm already had some hard core fans in the audience patiently waiting for his arrival. He describes himself as ‘if Ed Sheeran did Country’ ……which is exactly what you would say to sum him up. Man with a guitar who knows how to use it.

Lots of different sounds coming out of that guitar which was pretty impressive, he did use a loop track but not as often as you’d think and there was only a slight effect on the mic – but it only added to his sound. He didn’t have the best voice in the world (nor do a lot of singers) however his guitar playing and song & lyric writing were engaging and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote for other artists in his future (if not already).

Canaan came across engaging and he looked as though he enjoyed the Norfolk crowd. I think he’d do pretty well in the UK country scene and could easily move onto the pop circuit.  The songs were good, and he had a voice that sat pretty well on the ears, however the passion and talent behind his good looks was certainly there. He wasn’t just strumming some chords he used it as an instrument and produced a lot of different sounds from it to add decent variety to his hour and a half set.

His songs had unsophisticated lyrics but that didn’t matter, they told a story and were the type of songs you’d listen to over and over trying to get over a heartache. There were the classic lines “is it greener?’, ‘Want to love somebody like you’, ‘drinking to forget’, ‘giving up’ but who cares as it’s all words and stories we can make a connection with and that’s what music is about. He had personality, passion and humbleness that packaged together for a great set.

Foot tapping and head swaying all from a handsome young man and a guitar….what’s not to like?

Supporting Canaan were Sam Coe and The Long Shadows a five-piece British country band and have just been nominated for Best Album and Best Group for the People’s Choice Award by the BCMA British Country Music Association, and by golly I can see why. They were fantastic. You know how fussy I am with my female leads, and female leads with a guitar no less …… I need to be impressed. And impressed I was. They played their own tracks – bonus point to begin with, no need to bother with covers to gain favour here.

Sam engaged the audience from the off with her easy, natural charm and the foot tapping songs were enjoyable. Superb drum sound and each instrument added to their unique sound – bass guitar you’d see with any pop band but played properly, a Hammond, an electric acoustic guitar and the lap steel guitar – great combination. You felt you had heard the tracks before they were so easy on the ears. A good variety of tracks with the country feel, but not so hard core you feel as though you need to be wearing cowboy boots and a hat. Sam had a very natural voice and she didn’t try to be American or add in the country back throat twang, she didn’t need to add anything – it fitted, it worked. Two male backing singers which complemented her and the tracks.

A cracking Sunday night in Norfolk.