The Shires, the English duo of Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle, are set to fly the flag for British country music in the UK charts soon. On March 2, they will release their debut album ‘Brave,’ on the reactivated Decca Nashville label.
The duo take their name from the fact that Rhodes comes from Bedfordshire and Earle from Hertfordshire, in the English home counties. But they derive much of the inspiration for their music from Nashville, which gives the ‘Brave’ album a strong and credible country flavour.
The Shires have already had extensive support from national network BBC Radio 2 in the UK, where their current single ‘Friday Night’ is currently on the station’s A-list. After supporting American country favourites Little Big Town on tour this week (February 10-12), including a London date at Shepherds Bush Empire, the duo will be out on their own headlining, 12-date British tour from April 8. Last year, they went out on a co-headlining tour with another much-admired, country-flavoured English duo, Ward Thomas.
Next month, the Shires and Ward Thomas will both be returning to the Country2Country Festival, where they attracted considerable attention last year. They’ll play the pop-up, daytime stages at the London event, which takes place at both The 02 in the capital and the 3Arena in Dublin on March 7 and 8.