Fans of country and roots music descend on Newark Showground this weekend for three days of live music. FSA Fest starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs until Sunday.
Organisers FSA Presents have lined-up more than 40 live acts for the event.
They include Jess And The Bandits, fronted by Texan vocalist Jessica Clemmons; Frankie Davis, Laura Oakes, Dexeter, Journey Home and Gary Quinn.
Taking to the stage on Saturday lunchtime are alt-country duo Two Ways Home at the start of a busy summer of live performances for them.
They are Isabella Mariee, orginially from Vienna, and Lewis Fowler, from Gloucestershire, who are now based in London.
Their latest EP, Closest Stranger, has just been released and is attracting plenty of attention.
“It is going to be a lot of fun,” said Isabella.
“It is always a fun atmosphere. I love the community feel. We get to see other bands, meet our friends and meet our fans.”
Lewis said: “It is always nice to play in the day and in the sunshine — hopefully.
“At something like FSA there are a lot of acts supporting each other and we get to hang out with our friends and fans so it’s quite cool.
“With festivals we often try new songs so it’s good to get instant feedback.”
The duo will be playing tracks from their new EP as well as old favourites.
“I definitely get nervous before singing live, but it gives me incentive to perform well,” said Isabella.
“For me it is the first couple of lines I am so nervous but I get over it pretty quick.”
Two Ways Home — named after a combination of the Kimba Two Way Street song and their own influences of home in their writing — met and started playing together at university, originally in a band playing rock-pop covers. They have been together now for five years.
'There’s a lot of rocky guitars and vocals in our music'
As a duo, they discovered the country sound suited their style.
“We both didn’t necessarily grow up listening to country,” Lewis said.
“I was raised on classic rock and at university I was into R&B and hip-hop. I first got an acoustic guitar and that instrument lent itself to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours era and then started leaning into country music — but we draw a lot of inspiration from what we grew up listening to.”
Isabella said: “The first couple of years were spent finding out what kind of music we wanted to make and what would work with UK and US audiences.
“There’s a lot of rocky guitars and vocals in our music, but how we play and the vocals also makes for a country sound and that is what people hear and now we have fallen in love with that genre.”
A visit to the home of country music, Nashville in the US, in 2013 sealed their musical direction.
“The first time we went to the US is when we decided really what we wanted to do and since then we have been back and hopefully we will go back again to do some more songwriting and more songs as well as doing shows and meet up with friends,” said Lewis.
“Nashville was about the sounds and beats. Just the people we met and have written with, and producers have taken songs in a little bit of a different direction.”
Closest Stranger, which features four new songs, is a true UK-US collaboration, having been written with US writers and mixed by friends in Nashville.
“We are so pleased with it and we have been getting a lot of coverage” said Isabella.
That coverage includes their first four-star review from The Sun newspaper and the single, Best Part Of Me, played on BBC Introducing.
“When producing an EP we are our own worst critics. With previous stuff there could have been changes but this one we spent time tweaking parts to make sure it was perfect and spent more time in the studio and working with great people,” said Lewis.
“This time I am totally happy with it.”
For details of FSA Fest visit its Facebook page or www.fsapresents.com