Royal South feature some southern twang, a British accent and soaring three part harmonies.
The country trio comprised of lead singer SaraBeth, guitarist Glen Mitchell, and bassist Vickie Vaughn, may be a new act, but they have years of experience between them to draw on.
Individual artists in their own right, with chart topping songs, Grand Ole Opry performances, industry awards, a fiercely loyal social media following, and world tours, Royal South are poised to become a Nashville-based powerhouse.
Texas-born SaraBeth had been performing as a solo act for the past six years, and for most of that time, Glen has been her right-hand man. When Vickie came on board they were briefly The SaraBeth Trio as they fished around for a more permanent name.
‘Obviously I’ve never played by myself,’ says SaraBeth, ‘I’ve always had other people there with me. So it was a really easy transition to being in “a band” – it was very natural. I’m still the lead singer, but we’ve always been very harmony-heavy, so you’re always going to get that same thing.
‘It made more sense that it was the three of us together all the time.’
And it turned out Vickie, from Kentucky, was the missing piece of the puzzle.
‘Whenever you become a band, you have to make sure it’s not just about the music – it’s about the travel and the personalities as well. It’s such a big thing – these are the people who are going to see you at your best, and see you at your worst. You’re going to see each other when you haven’t slept, or you’re not feeling well. It’s very much a family dynamic.’
When they held auditions after the bassist’s role became available, Vickie ‘seamlessly filled that spot.’
With Glen hailing from London, and SaraBeth a confirmed Anglophile since she spent a year here as a student, it’s no surprise they have cultivated a fervent fanbase on this side of the Atlantic.
The current tour is their third trip here this year – and they headlined the first ever Country on The Coast festival on South Parade Pier back in April. When asked about it SaraBeth gushes: ‘Oh my gosh! That was so much fun, we had a blast. The crowd was amazing and it’s a great venue – it was a really pro set up and an amazing first year for that festival.
‘I was really impressed how it was all put together.’
And they might yet be back one more time after this tour.
‘It’s been a really crazy year. Yesterday, actually, we found out that we’re nominated for two British Country Music Awards – best international touring act and best international song (for debut single Cry, Cry) – and as an independent artist, that was amazing because pretty much everyone in the category apart from us is on a major label.
‘It’s absolutely amazing to get the recognition, we don’t expect it, but to get it is incredible.
‘The awards show is in November, so we might be back for that…’
The band has also been working in the studio with producer Paul Worley, the man behind the Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, The Band Perry and many more.
SaraBeth explains how they met with Paul after a label they were considering working with put them together.
‘After those meetings it seemed like Paul was the best fit for the direction we saw ourselves going, and the direction he saw us going.
‘He’s produced all of the artists we absolutely love and we wanted that more traditional country feel and sound.
‘He’s just a great person – the talent goes without saying, you can look at his resume and see that! But it’s not just about working together, it’s that personal aspect, he’s really cool, and to have that cheerleader in your corner it’s a great thing to have.
‘Some people, they just do it for the pay cheque and maybe they don’t believe in what they’re working on, but to have someone who’s only going to work on projects they believe in, and they feel they believe in you, that’s a very special thing.’
And for fans of their old material, don’t despair, it’s not all been abandoned: ‘We do a mixture. It’s mainly Royal South, but there’s a couple of songs from our catalogues we throw in there. too.’
The Chapel Sessions, Netley
Friday, September 27