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Home-Grown Tour: The Shires + Ward Thomas
Two fast-rising acts, The Shires & Ward Thomas, head out on a joint tour that is set to be a landmark moment for the UK scene. The bands will take it in turns to headline on a series of dates around the UK. This is the moment fans of fresh and exciting country music have been waiting for!
Country music in the UK has been having a renaissance in recent times, what with the success of the television series ‘Nashville’ and of the huge Country 2 Country event in London, which saw some of the biggest US names playing the UK. It isn’t just American talent that’s enjoying this resurgence though: The UK has produced a new wave of talent who are putting a British spin on the down south sounds of Nashville.
Chief among this new wave are The Shires and Ward Thomas, two bands from the Home Counties who have taken inspiration from the sounds of Nashville legends such as Johnny Cash and Dixie Chicks. Not content to merely copy the US acts though, these bands are flying the flag for a British Country music that reflects the lives of young people living in the UK. This shared vision has led the bands to team up and take their music on the road for the nationwide ‘Home-grown tour’.
This event takes place at O2 Academy Oxford, which has achieved Bronze Status for disabled access from Attitude Is Everything.
Hertfordshire based country duo The Shires – Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes – play Country music as if they came from South of the US, rather than the South East of the UK, they are that good.
After playing hardly half a dozen shows together The Shires caught the attention of Decca Records who signed them in the UK and they secured a contract with American based record label Universal Music Group Nashville thus becoming the first ever UK country act to be signed to a major Nashville label.
The Shires tour dates
Hampshire and Country music may not be obvious bed fellows but twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas (who have been singing harmonies together since childhood) have had Country music in their blood ever since they were introduced to the sounds of Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss by a Canadian cousin in their early teens. One listen to the vocal cadences and close harmonies on their debut album ‘From Where We Stand’ and Nashville and Hampshire suddenly don’t seem all that far apart.
Ward Thomas tour dates