EXCLUSIVE: Matt Spracklen Discusses Country Hits UK Radio Role

Matt Spracklen is one of leading hosts on Britain’s very first radio station dedicated to playing Country Music; Country Hits UK. His show CountryHitsBrits is dedicated to spinning records from homegrown talent and also gives a platform to rising UK Country acts.

Along with presenting on the radio Matt is also a well known face to viewers of BBC1’s All Together Now on which is he is a judge. Here we speak exclusively to Matt Spracklen to discuss his role on Country Hits UK, his love of Country and more:

Growing up who/what inspired your love of Country music?
Country music was always playing in the car as a kid. Lots of Emmylou Harris and Garth Brooks. My parents saw Emmylou in Bournemouth before I was even born and I was lucky enough to take them back to see her for the first time since at C2C last year! My Grandad is a big Johnny Cash fan and even my Nan’s love for Daniel O’Donnell would have played a part!

How does it feel to be working on the UK’s very first Country Music national radio?
I feel very lucky. Particularly as I have the #CountryHitsBrits hour where I play nothing but the best of British country music. This allows me to shine a bit of a light on lesser known artists here in the UK that I know the listeners will love but have maybe not heard yet.

The British scene is growing at a rapid pace, how excited are you about that growth?
Very. I’ve been excited for a long time, if only to prove the doubters wrong! Ha. Every now and then a country/rootsy artist would put a single or EP out but there hasn’t been the scene to support them until recent times. The last 3 years has been amazing but we’re nowhere near peaking yet. It’s going to continue to grow.

Which UK acts in particular are you most excited about?
Ah there are a lot. Right now, I’m very excited to see what happens with Remember Monday. They’re so early on in the grand scheme of things but these guys have totally got it. One of the best vocal groups in the scene for sure and songwriting too. Really into Jake Morrell at the moment. Robert Vincent is awesome. I also say that the Wild Silence album by The Wandering Hearts is one of the best albums in any genre in the last 10 years. It’s stunning.

Along with playing established acts, you’re also championing new talent, are there any rising acts your listeners should be keeping a ear out for?
Absolutely. Foreign Affairs are great. Amazing voices. Cool songs. Also Emma Jade. Real authentic country sound. Kinda like Margo Price. Also The Adelaides whose single I premiered on Country Hits Radio. Playing CMA in Nashville is huge for them.

Along with your work on Country Hits UK, what else can we expect from you this year?
Well I’ve just launched my podcast, Mainly Music. I sit down with a different friend from the scene each week and have the sort of conversations I’d have on a night out with them. About music, mainly, but also stories on how they got into what they do. So it could be a producer, singer, presenter, photographer etc… So far there are episodes with Newton Faulkner, comedian Matt Richardson, DJ Katie Owen and fellow Country Hits Radio presenter Baylen Leonard.

Don’t miss Matt Spracklen’s CountryHitsBrits weekdays from 7pm on Country Hits UK!

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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