Music review: Lainey Wilson, Academy, Glasgow

US country star Lainey Wilson exudes some of the genial homespun star quality of her idol Dolly Parton, writes Paul Whitelaw

Lainey Wilson, Academy, Glasgow ***

Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, has always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with country music. That’s why artists such as Lainey Wilson, a huge country star at home in the States, but hardly a household name over here, can fill sizeable Scottish venues with raucous devotees.

And boy, were they raucous. “Y’all must be the loudest audience we’ve ever had!” grinned Wilson during this good old‐fashioned blast of slick country showbiz entertainment. In all my many years of gig‐going, I’ve never witnessed someone receive a wild foot‐stomping, minute‐long ovation in the middle of a show. It happened after Wilson performed Watermelon Moonshine, a perfectly pleasant bittersweet country ballad, but not the sort of thing that would normally make a crowd go bananas.

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Lainey Wilson PIC: Hubert Vestil/Getty ImagesLainey Wilson PIC: Hubert Vestil/Getty Images
Lainey Wilson PIC: Hubert Vestil/Getty Images

Wilson was clearly overwhelmed and perhaps a little perplexed. “Thank y’all for making us feel so welcome,” she choked, with genuine emotion. “This is all I can do... this is all I ever wanted to do.” It was quite a moment.

A Louisiana farmer’s daughter, Wilson is as country as they come. She has a strong, pure voice and a knack for co-writing straightforward weepers and muscular Southern rockers. The slowies are fine, but the faster tunes are a whole lotta fun. Accompanied by a hirsute band – “my boys” – consisting of various imperial phase Doobie Brothers lookalikes, Wilson cooked up some honest‐to‐goodness Louisiana boogie while attired in a knowingly kitsch/cool fringed ‘n’ flared cowgirl outfit.

She exudes some of the genial homespun star quality of her idol Dolly Parton, to whom she paid tribute with WWDD (aka What Would Dolly Do?). A maxim for life. I wouldn’t be surprised if she attracts an even bigger – and, if possible, rowdier – crowd during her next visit to Scotland.