A star-studded line-up coming to Dublin; MUSIC; Popularity of C2C has been recognised by some of the best artists of the genre.
Country music has captured the public's attention more than usual in recent weeks after Kacey Musgraves took home 2019's top Grammy gong.
Her most recent record, Golden Hour, was awarded Album of the Year, managing to break out of country music's bubble and capture the mainstream's attention.
While unexpected to some, her dominance at the Grammys came as no surprise to the dedicated community of country music fans in Ireland, who have long championed Kacey and her Nashville counterparts.
Since 2014, Irish audiences have been treated to performances by America's biggest country music acts under one roof at the annual Country to Country music festival.
Held in Dublin's 3Arena, it's grown over the last five years into a multiact celebration of all that modern country music has to offer.
Kacey Musgraves was one of the headliners last year - and this time around Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Chris Stapleton take the top slots on March 8, 9 and 10. They're joined on the line-up by nine other US acts, who all come under the vast country music roof but each offer different variations of the genre.
Outside of the main venue, a number of Irish country stars will keep revellers entertained during intervals, ensuring the music is nonstop from doors open in the afternoon until the curtain falls.
One of the acts with the biggest buzz over the weekend is arguably Lady Antebellum, who are no strangers to Ireland or the C2C festival - having headlined it previously in 2015 to much acclaim.
The trio are one of country music's most successful acts and their success has reached out into mainstream music thanks to worldwide hits like Need You Now, I Run To You and Just A Kiss.
Recalling previous performances in Ireland, Charles Kelley said: "I remember Dublin being pretty energetic. It's interesting to see different cultures how they consume music and how they want to enjoy a live show. What I love over here is being able to pull out some of our songs like Hurt and introspective ballads and people really engage. Y 'all dig into the record more than they do in the States."
Hillary Scott added: "When we started as a band, this was something we only dreamed of, being able to travel so far away from the place we call home and our music being known."
Looking back at their headlining slot at C2C in 2015, Charles laughed as he remembered how roles were reversed.
He said: "In the States we would be opening for Jason Aldeen so it was odd having him play before is. It was kind of funny in that regard but I think C2C is really cool because it shows a lot of the different flavours of country music. There is a lot of different styles going on within the genre.
"We've been telling our country friends and other artists that they need to be coming over here for the last five or six years and finally C2C has come about and really started opening their eyes to the possibilities, because when you grow up in Georgia like we did, you just don't think that country music is going to travel the globe like this."
Also speaking to The Beat ahead of C2C was up-and-coming act Chase Rice, who just last week released a worldwide deluxe version of his most recent record Lambs & Lions.
It features a stripped-back version of On Tonight, which he was inspired to record by the reaction it had with Irish audiences during pervious concerts here, and a brand new song titled 25 Wexford Street, which he penned in memory of playing to a sold-out Whelans in Dublin.
"I wasn't even planning on playing On Tonight and it was one of my most popular songs. That's why we recorded it specifically for that part of the world. That's what it means to me to be coming over there.
"I also just came out with an entire song about the memory of it. We had a hell of a night in Dublin, just me and the guitar. It was sold out, unbelievable."
He hinted that Irish C2C attendees could witness the first live performance of it on March 10.
"I don't know if I'll play 25 Wexford Street in England or Scotland, so the first time playing it might be in Ireland. I think it'll be cool the first time we ever play that song live will be in Dublin and then maybe after we could take a trip to Whelans - why not!" Chase (right) said he's "very excited" to return, adding: "In a weird way it kind of feels like home over there, maybe that's why I love coming over so much."
Giving his thoughts on C2C, he said: "It's huge. I've seen it myself where I started with just me and the guitar and then the venues got a little bigger and I think Country to Country gives me a huge platform as an artist to get over there and continue to grow my music and get in front of a ton of people. And at the same time it gives fans an opportunity to see their favourite country artists come over in a big setting."
Looking ahead to the gig, he said he's most excited to see the fan's reaction to his first performance here alongside a full band - but promised to include some acoustic songs too.
"I've never played a full band show there before so it's a completely different thing and I'm looking forward to seeing how they take it. But I come from an acoustic background so actually during the C2C shows we're going to break it down with just me and a guitar at one point. I'm excited to show them that as well."
Country to Country takes place in Dublin's 3Arena on March 8, 9 and 10. Tickets are available now from Ticketmaster.
'"I also just came out with an entire song about the memory of it. We had a hell of a night in Dublin, just me and the guitar. It was sold out, unbelievable.
STAGE PRESENCE: Kacey Musgraves performing at C2C Dublin in 2018
WHO'S THAT LADY: Anita McSorley with Lady Antebellum
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Mar 8, 2019|
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