Country music’s biggest stars have been gracing Royal Albert Hall’s iconic stage at the Highways Festival for decades.
And this year, London’s very own Country and Americana gig returned bigger and better than ever before.
With the likes of Kip Moore, Morgan Wade, Jackson Dean and Stephen Wilson Jr. taking to the stage, the show was packed with hits from Wade’s “Wilder Days” to Moore’s brand new single “Damn Love.”
“This has been my all time bucket list play for 15 years, so that tells you what this means to me,” Moore, 43, exclusively told Page Six ahead of his set on May 20.
For the “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” hitmaker, the gig served as a poignant reminder of how far he’s come.
“I think back on living in that garage apartment that I lived in for quite some time and how desperate I was for so many years just to get a chance to get heard,” he shared. “I remember writing so much music in that place, and I my comfort at night time, and the thing that kept me dreaming, was watching people perform at the Royal Albert Hall and I would just envision myself playing that room. That kind of stuff just kept me moving.”
The crooner, who recently released his fifth studio album “Damn Love” on April 28, said he’s most recent record reflects his struggles of feeling like an outsider.
“I wanted people to feel like a little bit of an outsider in life,” he tells us. “People might look at me and think, ‘Oh, he’s got everything.’ But I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider. I think it’s my introverted nature.”
“Even though I have the most extroverted job in the world, but when I’m not doing this, I go to the movies by myself, I go to dinner by myself, I take trips around the world by myself. I’m very much an introvert,” he added.
Proving he’s quite the introvert, Moore admits that “the minute” he’s done with his international “Damn Love” tour, he “will be alone for a month.”
“I crave that,” he shared. “When life gives you this picture of how to do things, I want people to feel a sense of peace that you don’t have to fit into that mold, there are still ways to find love in your own life. That’s what I was experiencing during the making of this record. There’s a lot of vulnerability and fear in things I’m writing about on this record but it’s also about finding peace.”
But he won’t be taking too much time off after his tour.
“I’ve already made a whole other record,” he revealed. “I think I’ll start working on that late summer. For me, there’s a lot of mission work I’m looking forward to tackling. At some point in the future I’ll probably take off to focus on that. But right now, I’m just hyper focused on making the best records I can and expanding this international touring thing.”
A similar sentiment was echoed by singer Morgan Wade, who recently announced that her second studio album “Psychopath” will hit streaming platforms August 25.
The album follows hot on the heels of her debut album “Reckless,” released in 2021, a record that notably topped Rolling Stone’s Best Country Albums of the year list.
“With ‘Psychopath,’ we’ve done a really good job of moving on from ‘Reckless,’ to the next stage without it being so crazy different,” Wade exclusively told Page Six. “I’m excited, every song on there has its own sound and is completely different.”
Revealing that the album will boast 13 tracks, Wade says the record will paint a picture of her life since the release of “Reckless.”
“[The album] goes into where I’m at in life right now. Which is so busy. It’s about growing up and being older, and starting to feel like, ‘Is it time to settle down?’ I think you’ll see a lot of that on the record.”
For Wade, 28, gracing the iconic stage at the Royal Albert Hall is no mean feat.
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“I’ve seen photos of the Royal Albert Hall, but I’ve never been in here before,” she shared. “It’s just so beautiful, it’s amazing. The acoustics in here are great. It’s so exciting.”
“You know it’s an iconic place when everybody in America knows what you’re talking about too. People back home, they know what the Royal Albert Hall is,” the “Wilder Days” hitmaker added.
The Royal Albert Hall has been the backdrop for some of the biggest gigs for the last 152 years.
Exactly 55 years ago, country music legends like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and June Carter graced the stage for Cash’s hit Country and Western Show.
Since then, some of the biggest names in Country and Americana have followed suit, including Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, and Glen Campbell, to name a few.
The spectacle has since evolved into Highways Festival, which celebrates the stars of today.