The Shires – Headline 2015 UK Tour Announced

Matthew News, Tour Dates

The Shires announce a new 2015 UK Tour, the duo will be touring across the UK. The dates are listed below with links to the individual events. Check out our Events page for other gigs.

Wednesday 8th April – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Thursday 9th April – Sage 2, Gateshead
Friday 10th April – Oran mor, Glasgow
Sunday 12th April – Manchester Academy 3, Manchester
Monday 13th April – The Stables, Milton Keynes
Tuesday 14th April – Union Chapel, Islington, London
Wednesday 15th April – Bierkeller, Bristol
Friday 17th April – The Library at The Institute, Birmingham
Saturday 18th April – O2 Academy2, Oxford
Sunday 19th April – Concorde 2, Brighton
Tuesday 21st April – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Wednesday 22nd April – Pocklington Arts Centre, York

Tickets for the tour are available from See Tickets, Ticketmaster, Gigs & Tours and Gigs in Scotland.

New Video – Friday Night

Ben & Crissie flew out to Los Angeles to shoot the video to their latest single ‘Friday Night’ just before Christmas. The video is set alongside a freeway around a food truck, the finished cut is outstanding and will hopefully get some airplay stateside.

Brave – Debut Album

The Shires debut album ‘Brave’ will be released on 23rd February 2015. Pre-order is available via the link below.

‘Brave’ Tracklisting:
1. Tonight
2. Nashville Grey Skies
3. Brave
4. Friday Night
5. I Just Wanna Love You
6. All Over Again
7. Jekyll and Hyde
8. State Lines
9. Black and White
10. Made In England
11. How Many Love Songs

Additional Deluxe Edition Tracks
12. Only Midnight
13. Islands In The Stream
14. Drink You Away
15. Young Hearts (iTunes Exclusive)

The Shires Pre-Order Here
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The groundswell of interest in country music in the UK is now officially unstoppable. But one of the acts helping to make country cooler than ever on this side of the Atlantic aren’t from Tennessee or Texas, they’re from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. They look and sound great, and they’re all set to take their country-influenced music to the world. Step forward, The Shires.

The duo of Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have swiftly become one of the real buzz bands of 2014. Getting together as recently as May of last year, and with only a handful of live dates under their belt, The Shires have secured the support of a host of industry tastemakers in no time. Decca won the hot contest for their signatures just before they made their official live London debut at the event that confirmed the wave of interest in the country genre, the second annual Country 2 Country Festival at London’s 02 Arena.
24 hours later, they were performing at a prestigious London reception held jointly by BBC Radio 2 (who’ve declared their enthusiastic early support for the duo), and the Country Music Association. The following morning, they were on a plane heading for their first songwriting sessions in Music City USA itself, Nashville. Two days further on, Ben and Crissie were featured in the Radio 2 documentary ‘Nashville UK,’ celebrating the rise and rise of country on these shores.

So things have been moving very fast indeed in the world of the Shires, and the thoroughly refreshing debut single ‘Nashville Grey Skies’ is just the first taster of the album they will record in the capital of country music. Both Ben and Crissie are self-declared admirers of the craftsmanship of country songwriting, but they’re as far from some twangy tribute act as you could get.

Powered by Crissie’s powerful but subtle and supple vocals and Ben’s perfectly complementary tones and acoustic guitar, The Shires have literally found a piece of country to call their own. They love American music, but they’re proudly British and intensely keen to add some real indigenous flavour to the pot. The song ‘Made In England’ is a perfect example, a real celebration of all things British.

On the surface, then, The Shires have raced from 0 to 100mph in seconds flat. Ask them about any London dates in their first months together and they’ll ask you back whether Watford, St. Albans and Biggleswade count. But behind that first impression lies the story of two musicians who’ve been working towards this moment for a long time.

The Shires

“We don’t want to be known as just springing out of nowhere, because behind the scenes, we’ve worked really hard,” says Crissie. “We’ve done our legwork, and and the two of us finding each other has just worked.” Adds Ben: “I hate this word, but it was just serendipity.”

Earle isn’t shy of describing his years of dues-paying as a solo singer-songwriter, nor does Rhodes deny her time of working the covers circuit as a vocalist, after she finished music college in Surrey and returned to her countryside roots. “I was singing ‘9 To 5’ just as a fun song for people to dance to,” she says, “and there were a lot of people coming up to me saying ‘You sing that song really well, you really suit country.’ I didn’t realise how much I listened to it.”

“I’d been writing for nine, ten years, with a bit of minor success,” says Ben, who was born in London and raised in Berkshire and then Somerset for a few years. In the early stages of his evolution, he had supported K.T. Tunstall on one of her first tours.
“I’d reached the point where I was literally broke, and I put a thing on Facebook saying ‘There must be a country singer somewhere.’ But then a friend of a friend mentioned Crissie, she came round the next day, we recorded some songs and and it’s been so easy since then.”

Crissie remembers that Facebook message. “I was like ‘Yeah, send me some stuff, I really like country music.’ He saw my videos that I’d put up online of me singing just generic country songs, Faith Hill, Martina McBride. Ben was so quick sending songs, I literally listened to half of one of them, and emailed straight back. I was sold straight away.” Once they found out that instead of being at opposite ends of the country, they were close by in the ’shires that would give them their name, it was impossible to avoid that word serendipity.

The Shires

At one local gig, one well-connected observer spread the word to another, and the ball was rolling. “We played this little local festival, and we only had five or six songs,” remembers Ben. “So we did them all, and everyone was like ‘More, more.’ We were like, ‘We haven’t got any more!’ So we played one again, and it went on. We literally played the whole set twice and a half.”

Both are inspired by the old-school workmanship of the best modern country songwriters. “When I was growing up, I loved big songs,” says Ben. “Generally ballads, but quite structured, really well-written songs with that big payoff line at the end of the chorus. I never really realised that was country.” Crissie agrees: “I love the simplicity of the lyrics, the stories that they tell, and the fact you get that progression throughout the song.”

Now The Shires are ready to gig, and to bring that album home from Nashville. “At the end of the day, all we want to do is write songs and sing them,” says Earle. People will be more than ready to listen, in their country and far beyond.

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