For this writer at least, Logan Brill was one of the revelations of the Harvest Country Music Festival which took place in Westport and Enniskillen towards the end of August. I’d heard of Logan before then, but as is nearly always the case with great artists, nothing compares to actually seeing them perform ‘live.’ And this is certainly true of Logan, because, young or not, two albums in or not, she most certainly falls into the great artist category. If you get the chance to catch one of her performances, my advice is to take it. Regardless of what you walk in as you’ll walk away as a new fan.
Logan is due back in the UK again for Country Music Week, but as already mentioned, it was only a few weeks ago that she was in Ireland for Harvest Fest. I had the pleasure of spending a little time chatting to Logan last week, and I began by asking if Logan had enjoyed her Harvest Fest experience?
“I had such a great experience at Harvest Fest. The crowds were amazing, and I really enjoyed spending time in Ireland. I’ve actually been lucky to visit Ireland once before, too.”
Two things, in particular, stood out for me about seeing Logan at Harvest Fest: How easily and how quickly she was able to connect with, what for her, was a brand new audience in probably every sense, and also the fact that she was – as far as I’m aware – the only artist who took the time to go down to the merch tent to meet fans all weekend. Logan has been performing from a very early age (pre-school nap-time was show time if I recall!) but has it always been so natural and effortless for her?
“I’ve never been the type that’s afraid of being in front of a crowd. But at the same time, it hasn’t always been effortless. Performing is something that takes practice. Connecting with my fans, though, that’s the most important thing about what I do. It’s the reason I love being an artist. It means the world to me when I hear someone say that my songs inspired them or comforted them when they were going through a hard time. That type of connection is what it’s all about.”
So what’s going to be happening for Logan while she’s back over here for Country Music Week?
“I’ve actually decided to come over a few days early to write and work on some new songs. I find the U.K. to be a really inspiring place to be. Other than that, I’m looking forward to catching some of the other acts that will be playing during the week!”
We’d already mentioned Harvest Fest and Country Music Week, but Logan has also performed at Nashville Meets London and C2C. What was it, I wondered, that made her decide to have such a clear focus on her career here in Europe as well as at home in the States because she’s certainly been putting in the air-miles!
“[Laughs] Yes I am! You know what, I’ve felt so warmly welcomed in the U.K, that the truth, so I always look forward to coming back [whenever I can]. I’ve been really inspired by the presence of country music fans in the U.K, and after Harvest Fest, in Ireland, too.”
I’ve noticed a couple of things that keep popping up about Logan, namely references to her as being ‘edgy’, and references that specifically mention her lyrics. As an artist, does Logan consider herself to be ‘edgy’, and if so, in what ways?
“Well, I like to be honest and uncensored in my music, so in that way I guess I’m edgy. And lyrics are so important to me, so I definitely concentrate on making sure they’re the best they can be when I write.”
Logan’s latest single is a co-write with Scooter Carusoe. I asked her to share how they came to pen ‘World Still Round’?
“The idea for ‘World Still Round’ came about when I was in my early twenties. I was dating, and I was watching friends of mine fall in and out of relationships, and so I decided it was something I felt compelled to write about. I wanted to write a song that didn’t make break-ups out to be the end of the world, but rather a learning experience. Scooter and I wrote about half the song sitting at a pancake house in Nashville called the Pancake Pantry!”
In 2016 Logan was named as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country class. For anyone who might not be sure exactly what that means, I asked Logan to explain a little bit about how cool that actually was.
“Yeah, I was honored to be included in the class of 2016. CMT has really done a great job of creating a culture of female support with Next Women of Country. It’s an opportunity to get to know other up and coming female artists and really connect within the industry. It’s a pretty cool thing, for sure.”
‘Shuteye’ is Logan’s second album, after ‘Walking Wires’, and it’s certainly got some big-name country contributions on there! With songs from Chris Stapleton, Lori McKenna, Natalie Hemby, and Don Schlitz, and vocals from the likes of David Nail and Charlie Worsham. For what was just her second album, how did Logan manage to get so many of those guys involved in the project?
“Well, Nashville definitely is a small town [laughs]. So I was lucky to benefit from the network here. For those outside songs I cut, I was a fan first. I’ve been following Chris Stapelton and Lori Mckenna for years. So when I had the opportunity to cut their songs, I jumped at it. And with those outside songs, I tend to know who I’m listening to first, rather than listening ‘blind’ or anything. If I know I’m looking for songs to help round out my album, I may try to seek out songwriters that I already know I’ll love.”
I love, and I mean LOVE, the way the ‘ShutEye’ finishes with the gorgeous (heartbreaking, but gorgeous) ‘I Wish You Loved Me’. There’s so much drama, and tension, and longing, and want in how it ends on the word ‘don’t…’, which then just hangs there in the silence. I don’t think any other song could have closed out the album so well, nor do I think that particular song would have fitted in as well anywhere else on the album. So is the actual tracklisting something that Logan put a lot of thought into? Thinking about how most listeners are most likely to experience the album as a whole?
“Oh yeah, absolutely. The tracklisting was definitely something I spent a lot of time planning. Ending the album with’ I Wish You Loved Me’ was really intentional. I wanted to have the last word, in a way. So I loved actually having the very last word hang on without any instrumentation. It felt like my way of signing off.”
Logan has already performed at the Grand Ole Opry, and not only did the amazing Vince Gill introduce her in the loveliest of ways, but he also sang along with her. What were those moments like, to be there on that famous stage with Vince, singing one of Logan’s own songs?
“Singing at the Opry is always an incredible experience, but the night Vince joined me on stage was something special. I’m such a fan of his so when he agreed to sing with me I was pretty blown away. It was a moment I had to pinch myself. Still do!”
As well as singing with Vince, Logan has also opened for some truly awesome artists; Steve Earle, Ashley Monroe, Gary Allan, Josh Turner, and one of my own personal favorites, Todd Snider. How important are those opportunities for new, young artists like Logan?
“I’ve learned so much from touring with such well-established artists. Just watching the way artists like Merle Haggard – Lord rest his soul – Steve Earle and Ashley Monroe conduct themselves on and off stage is inspiring as a young artist. It really is.”
I think ever since I heard Logan’s song ‘Break Each Other’s Hearts’ it’s become, and will remain, one of my favorite country songs. I love the truth in the sadness of this song, and yet the hope and strength, and love, that’s in that sadness, too. But what I wanted to know is does Logan have an all-time favorite country song?
“You know what, I really don’t think I could ever pick just one! A few favorites are ‘Send It On Down’ by Lee Ann Womack, and ‘Ghost In This House’ by Alison Krauss, both of those are just beautiful songs.”
His contribution to the Irish music scene has been recognised by his inclusion in the entertainment industry directory, the Hot Press Yearbook 2017, which is the essential music and media who's-who in Ireland. Anthony was also asked to present John Farry (Nathan Carter's manager) with his award for Best Original Album at the 2017 Hot Country Awards and in 2015 presented Lisa McHugh with her Female Entertainer of the Year award.
In his role with HEM Country, Anthony has interviewed many artists who are well known names on the international stage, among them Clare Bowen, Imelda May, and Una Healy, as well as rising stars like Courtney Marie Andrews. Anthony's features for HEM Country have also helped to shine a spotlight on many of the best Irish country acts like Robert Mizzell, Cliona Hagan, Barry Kirwan, Bernie Heaney, and Hurricane Highway, bringing their talent and achievements to an even wider audience.
During his time writing 'On The Right TRAX', Anthony has interviewed most of the biggest stars on the Irish country scene, including Mike Denver, Nathan Carter, Lisa McHugh, Philomena Begley, Sandy Kelly, and Derek Ryan. He has also chatted with international artists such as Sunny Sweeney, Jim Rooney, Max T. Barnes, the late George Hamilton IV, and Tony Christie.
Anthony's sphere of influence extends well past the boundaries of country music, however, with time spent in conversation with international popstar Kiesza also to his credit. He has also shared time with several other artists from the Emerald Isle whose fame reaches beyond those shores, including Mundy, The Fureys, Frances Black, Pete Kennedy, Rackhouse Pilfer, The 4 of Us, Roisin O, Ham Sandwich and Mick Flannery.
As a writer, lyricist, and poet himself, however, songwriters have a very special place in Anthony's heart and some of his favourite interviews (together with the songwriters already mentioned) include those with Jimmy McCarthy, Johnny McEvoy, Charlie McGettigan, Kieran Goss, and Niall Toner.
Other household names whom Anthony has interviewed for 'On The Right TRAX' are the famous comedians Tommy Tiernan, Des Bishop, Neil Delamere, Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell, and Brendan Grace, as well as celebrity chef Rachel Allen, and television presenter Kathryn Thomas.
Anthony also does some artist representation and PR work, and has successfully secured national television and radio appearances for Irish and American artists.
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