We travelled to the White Lodge Hotel in Filey for a Country music weekend put on by Darren & Elaine Gibson who run the excellent Vaquero’s Club in Bradford. This was a new venture for them and what a feast of the top talents in British Country music it was. The weekend featured nine bands and two top solo artists starting on Friday night with the brilliant Little Rock who are Steve Place on lead guitar and vocals and Chris Ringer on bass and harmony vocals. These two guys never fail to provide top class entertainment with superb guitar skills.
The second act of the night was the truly outstanding Haleys, Jo-Ann and Becky - and for my money the best guitar player in any genre of music, Brian Smith. I have had the pleasure of knowing and listening to these three superb musicians for many years now and the amazing harmonies of these two ladies is beyond description and still makes the hair on the back of my neck tingle.
The third act on stage was the Picasso Brothers who came on stage to give a superb performance. All the members of the band are top class musicians and their brilliant performance showed this with great vocals, harmonies and excellent instrumental skills. There could not have been a better way to round off this excellent first night at this lovely hotel venue.
Saturday afternoon’s show was opened by the young singer/songwriter, Jade Halliwell giving an excellent performance of some well known songs and some of her self penned songs with good guitar accompaniment.
After the sedate music of Jade we were then treated to the crazy performance of Mick Sagar and Dillinger. Anyone who has seen Dillinger will know what I mean about Mick’s madcap banter which tends to hide what great musicians they are. Any show containing Dillinger is always one of great all round entertainment and if they are in your area go to see them and you will have a brilliant night.
The final band of the afternoon was New England who carried on in the same top class form of the previous acts with again fabulous instrumental and vocal skills with superb four part harmonies.
Each of the band members are individually brilliant and when you put a group of musicians of this standard together you can’t fail to end up with perfection and another fine choice of material had something for everyone.
After a lovely evening meal we went into the music room to a great beginning to the evening session with the superb little lady, Kezia Gill, who is a singer/songwriter and also performs classic Country music. She has a fabulous voice and is a very accomplished guitar player and covers songs by Patsy Cline, Kacey Musgraves and many other artists and she also performs some of her own excellent songs. My favourite of these was her tribute to Johnny Cash called Mr Cash, for which she won an award in America and is relaunching it again next year. Kezia also sang a song dedicated to her husband Lloyd, You’re My Best Friend, because it was their wedding anniversary.
The second act of the evening was the Gary Quinn Band. Gary is another new artist who is rising fast and also writes much of his own material. He has a great voice. Their selection of music was performed very well.
After such an abundance of top class talent it seemed impossible to carry on in the same vein but the final band of the evening went one better with the appearance on stage of Jon J Paul & The Pickers. Anyone who knows the Country music scene will know Jon and Derek Thurlby were members of the brilliant C’est La Vie band who backed stars like Gene Watson, Moe Bandy and Larry Gatlin when they toured Britain in the last couple of years. Jon plays rhythm guitar, harmonica and keyboards and has a superb deep voice with a lovely silky quality, along with Adrian Fountain on guitar and vocals and the engine room of Tony Kaempf on bass and Barry Cooper on drums.
Unfortunately, due to ill health, we had to leave the venue on Sunday morning and miss the final session on Sunday afternoon when three more bands were on the agenda, although we were told by people who stayed they were also top class and maintained the terrifically high standard set by all the previous artists at this superb weekend.
I would like, on behalf of all who attended, to thank Darren and Elaine and all the artists and not forgetting the excellent hotel staff. This was their first weekend event and it went off faultlessly. All I can say is roll on next year when they have already got a fabulous line-up arranged.

Brian Thornton, http://www.crosscountrymagazine.co.uk