Morgan Wallen Hits BST Hyde Park – Is The UK Ready To Fall In Love With Country…?

BST Hyde Park lasso an Americana icon...

July 4th is a pretty appropriate time for a celebration of Americana in the middle of London. It’s a little more than four score and seven years ago, granted, and it’s slightly out-with the point Abe Lincoln was originally making, but Independence Day serves as a chance to sample the other, real America – and by that, we meant country.

The genre is one of America’s true folk music forms, and has risen to become one of its most successful. Enjoying a century of headline-making prowess, the streaming revolution has allowed country to locate an entirely new audience, reaching fresh commercial peaks in the process. Right here in the UK, we’ve remained slightly out-with the reach of country – aside from some notable hotspots, it hasn’t become an everyday, chart-busting concern like it has in the United States.

That seems to be changing, however. Streaming has removed the stigma associated with country, and the clubs, dance classes, and more that have served as the genre’s traditional UK backbone are thriving. Between 2020 and 2022, streaming of country stars rose by almost 50 per cent in the UK, according to data released by the Country Music Association.

With Beyonce sharing her own country-leaning record in the form of ‘Cowboy Carter’, pop’s upper echelons is set to don the Stars and Stripes once more. Lana Del Rey’s ‘Lasso’ is slated to land in September, while even genre polymath Ed Sheeran has gone country – linking with Luke Combs for ‘Life Goes On’. Who knew he could be tempted to swap Salibury, England for Saulsbury, Tennessee eh…?

“I would love to transition into country,” Ed Sheeran told Billboard at the time. “I love the culture of it – I love the songwriting. It’s just like, brilliant songs.”

Morgan Wallen hits London on July 4th, transforming BST Hyde Park into an Independence Day cookout. A singer with deep roots – he auditioned for the Voice in America over a decade ago – his 2021 song ‘7 Sevens’ became a breakout commercial moment.

Indeed, it’s worth taking stock of how big this guy actually is. At the end of 2021 his album ‘Dangerous’ was the third-most streamed album in the United States – ahead of Taylor Swift, even – and it was the year’s most commercially successful release. In country terms, he’s the top of the top tier, and he’s only just getting started.

Yes, his album title should be taken seriously. Back in 2020 he was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct at a Nashville bar – since apologising, we can’t avoid mentioning the bar was owned by Kid Rock, and is called the Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse.

Joined by a stellar support cast, fans at BST Hyde Park can soak up virtuoso songwriter Ella Langley, the remarkable Riley Green, and Rainbow Stage acts like Zandi Holup, Alexandra Kay, and Alana Springsteen.

This is Americana undimmed, a show that doesn’t hold back on the sawdust ‘n’ whiskey. With streaming records tumbling time after time, Morgan Wallen’s trip to British soil couldn’t be more appropriate.

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