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Nathan Carter brings his country-esque sound to Cambridge

Nathan Carter and Tom Sheerin at the 3Arena in Dublin in April, 2017. Picture: Kyran OBrien
Nathan Carter and Tom Sheerin at the 3Arena in Dublin in April, 2017. Picture: Kyran OBrien

The Irish star performed in the city for the first time on Saturday, September 22.

Nathan Carter at the 3Arena in Dublin in April, 2017. Picture: Kyran OBrien
Nathan Carter at the 3Arena in Dublin in April, 2017. Picture: Kyran OBrien

Listening to the likes of country icons George Strait and Martina McBride being played over the speakers before the gig started, I was feeling optimistic that I would soon be hearing that classic country sound live on stage, courtesy of the undoubtedly talented 28-year-old.

Sadly, it was not quite to be. While there were some country moments – enjoyable covers of Roger Miller’s King of the Road and Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, for example – there was no pedal steel guitar on stage, and I’d been led to believe that this most wonderful of instruments – an essential ingredient of country music as far as I’m concerned – would feature.

The accomplished entertainer, born in Liverpool to Northern Irish parentage, says that he likes to mix American country music with traditional Irish music and, for me, the setlist lent slightly too heavily towards the latter.

I think I must have been very much in a minority in my disappointment, however, as the audience – made up of people of varying ages – loved it, clapping along, dancing and generally showing their enthusiasm.

Nathan Carter. Picture: Paul Canning
Nathan Carter. Picture: Paul Canning

The musicianship was certainly impressive, with Carter demonstrating his skill on the accordian and piano and the six-piece band providing very able support.

Highlights of the set included energtic opening track Wanna Dance, the lovely Caledonia, The Dubliners’ The Rare Ould Times, the fun Skinny Dippin’ – which incorporated Joe Nichols’ Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off – and Carter’s solid version of Wagon Wheel, the song which launched his career back in 2012.

At one point, the singer spoke of his love for country music – a love instilled in him by his grandfather – and said that his favourite country star was Glen Campbell. He then did a three-song Glen Campbell medley, which ended with the classic Rhinestone Cowboy.

This wasn’t a bad gig; for me it just would have been nice to have heard Nathan Carter demonstrate that love of American country music more emphatically than the traditional Irish elements of his sound.

It’s not that I dislike traditional Irish music, I was just hoping for something a bit more country. Maybe I need to go and live in Texas?


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