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Tales from Nashville - Eloise Rees & The Giants

Eloise Rees


The chance to go Nashville and play The Hard Rock Café as part of Bob Harris’s BBC Introducing showcase; a dream come true? Well, almost a year ago, I did an interview with Elexu PR in London and when asked what would be the absolute zenith of my ambition as a young singer/songwriter, I replied ‘to play live in Nashville’. This was truly a dream come true. I felt like the luckiest person alive.

Eloise Rees - Stop The Clocks (Live in Nashville)

So why would a 22 year-old from rural Oxfordshire want this more than anything else? Like many musicians it starts with the sights and sounds when I was growing up. Dad and his banjo mates playing Cash, Dylan and Glen Campbell, a home full of the sounds of Nanci Griffith and Joni Mitchell, a trip to the Calgary Folk Festival aged 14 to see Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and Thea Gilmore and, more recently, meeting Lissie after her stunning performance at The Cambridge Folk festival. Thanks to one very patient guitar tutor and a melting pot of these influences, out came this folky/country sound and a girl who longed to play in the country music capital.

Having recently worked with a new band we called The Dukes, I was amazed and overwhelmed when the BBC said they could come too. However, there was one small problem in that Steve Earle’s band had also been called The Dukes, so my Dukes became The Giants.

The Hard Rock Café Nashville has played host to many legends of country music including Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins and Dolly Parton. We were truly thrilled that Eloise Rees & The Giants were to be stepping in their footsteps.

It’s the most difficult decision choosing a set for your most important performance ever. Some months before I had written a song called Tennessee but decided it might sound just a bit too ‘twee’ for the occasion, but felt it fitted well for this short biopic of our trip I've posted on YouTube.

Eloise Rees - Fragments (Live in Nashville)

So was I awestruck by my experience? You bet your life I was. I saw Willy Mason in the most beautiful and acoustically spiritual venue and Holly Williams made me cry with her intimate performance at the BBQ.  Most of all, it was a thrill to play on the same bill as Blue Rose Code and Emily Barker and meet the eminent Bob Harris and the wonderful BBC team.  

I was definitely the minnow in a pond of big fish, but the big fish were a shoal of kind, talented, benevolent inclusive big fish, whose support and warmth I will never forget.  So finally, it was goodbye to Nashville and hello to Oxford. Looking forward to playing at the forthcoming OXJAM fest and The Gathering.  I really love Oxford, but I sure do love Nashville and the next dream go back!

Eloise Rees x

You can listen to Bob Harris' Nashville special including interviews and performances by Eloise, Emily Barker and Blue Rose Code this Sunday at 00:00.

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