Within the days earlier than switching its focus to making ready for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, Fort Myers Florida welcomed music lovers from around the globe for its famed annual 10-day Island Hopper Songwriter Pageant. And along with featured performances from a few of the biggest out of Nashville, Charleston, and even native notables from the Fort Myers Seashore space, competition goers have been handled to unique tunes from a trio that did some island hopping themselves — all the best way from the U.Ok.
Straight off the stage after their set opening for competition headliner Gary LeVox (previously of Rascal Flatts), Pursuitist caught up with Essex County, a rustic band named for his or her house county in japanese England, made up of brothers Keiran (bass), Nate (drums), and Mark (guitar) that has been rocking the style with a British bent.
“We love touring around the globe and seeing the completely different cultures and simply feeling out completely different crowds — and this crowd is superior,” Keiran advised us.
He and his bothers have been taking part in collectively since adolescence once they fashioned their first pop band, Subsequent of Kin, signed to Common Data. Now, climbing the nation charts as Essex County, the household band is definitely taking influences from music they used to take heed to with their mother and father alongside recent takes gleaned from attendance at festivals like Island Hopper.
“We’re positively coming again subsequent yr. 2023, we’re already booked in,” Nate mentioned from the stage.
“The gang and the tradition right here is a lot completely different [than other festivals we have played]… in a great way,” Keiran mentioned.
“Intimate gigs [like this], you may make the group snicker like as if you happen to have been at house. You’ll be able to simply sing your track and speak garbage or no matter. On a giant stage you’re simply type of taking part in to the group. You’ll be able to’t speak to individuals once they’re so distant, and it’s good to be intimate, you understand?” he mentioned.
Along with the principle stage for the culminating efficiency occasion of the competition, Essex County additionally graced smaller phases the place they made much more private connections with an Island Hopper viewers and venues that made them really feel proper at house.
“We performed the Yucatan [Beach Stand],” Kieran advised us, considering again to the good crowd and an apparently memorable meal of Mama’s Pot Roast.
“They do an superior beef roast dinner you may’t discover wherever in America. It’s the closest factor to a roast dinner again house,” he mentioned.
(He additionally divulged that he couldn’t be discovered sipping margaritas — and even mocktails — on the seashore throughout his time within the Florida solar. “I don’t drink,” he mentioned. “Simply hydrate with water.” This will have one thing to do along with his passions and pursuits when not taking part in, which he advised us would come with racing bikes.)
Headed again to London instantly after the competition, each to flee the hurricane and to do some songwriting, American audiences can relaxation assured that Essex County has plans to return to the states, Nashville particularly, to play the Rhyman Auditorium as quickly as November 2022.
“It’s thrilling,” Keiran advised Pursuitist, about acting at what’s extensively thought to be the most effective nation music venue in Nashville. “We’ve performed there twice earlier than, however we’re taking part in with Chris Younger this time,” in a live performance and charitable occasion, Christmas 4 Children, that additionally options Phil Vassar and The Frontmen.