The Shires (duo)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Shires
Performing at Towersey Festival, 2018
Performing at Towersey Festival, 2018
Background information
OriginHertfordshire and Bedfordshire, England, UK
GenresCountry, country pop
Years active2013–present
LabelsDecca, Universal Music Group Nashville, Dot, BMG Rights Management
MembersBen Earle
Crissie Rhodes
Websitewww.theshiresmusic.com

The Shires are a British country duo composed of singer-songwriters Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes. Earle sings harmony vocals, plays piano and guitar, and Rhodes is lead singer. The duo formed in 2013 and released their debut album Brave in 2015, becoming the first UK country act to chart in the Top 10 of the UK Albums Chart.[1] The group's second album, My Universe, became the fastest-selling UK country album in history when it was released in October 2016.[2]

They hail from the neighbouring counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in England. "Shire" is the original term for what is usually known as a county in the United Kingdom. The duo took the band name to maintain a British identity and take a small part of Britain to the United States. After playing hardly half a dozen shows together, The Shires caught the attention of Decca Records, who signed them in the United Kingdom, and they secured a contract with American record label Universal Music Group Nashville, thus becoming the first English country act to be signed to a major Nashville label.[3][4][5] They were also the first UK country act to have a top ten album and the first to receive an award from the American Country Music Association.

Earle and Rhodes were awarded Honorary Doctorates of the Arts by the University of Bedfordshire for their services and contributions to music on 25 July 2019.

Career[edit]

2012–2013: Early beginnings[edit]

Crissie Rhodes has performed at weddings, pubs and clubs performing songs by Dolly Parton amongst others. After joining The X Factor in 2013, she was tipped as a winner but failed to qualify out of the early rounds. Her country music influences include Alison Krauss, Martina McBride and Faith Hill. Ben Earle was previously a solo artist and had supported KT Tunstall on tour. Also a failed The X Factor contestant, and a struggling songwriter who had been writing for 10 years, he had tried to get cuts for other artists. He discovered country music in 2012 via Lady Antebellum, the American Grammy Award-winning group. He cites the Kacey Musgraves album Same Trailer Different Park as a major career inspiration.[5] Earle and Rhodes met after Ben, with an aim to become part of a duo, posted a "There must be a country singer somewhere" message on the social media website Facebook, seeking a partner, to which Rhodes responded.[3][4]

As part of BBC Radio 2's coverage of a festival, the Shires were included as a segment in a documentary titled "Nashville UK", which assessed country music's standing in the UK and, as one of its promising artists, their determination to export their British country roots to their American counterparts.[6] The Shires have composed songs with hit Nashville songwriter Steve Mcewan (Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood) and Play Productions an accomplished Swedish writing and production company, who comprise Tim Larsson, Johan Fransson and Tobias Lundgren, who have worked with Rascal Flatts and Celine Dion.[4][7]

2014–2015: Brave[edit]

They were invited to the C2C: Country to Country 2014 Festival and performed at The Town Square Pop Stage on 16 March 2014 outside the London O2 arena.[8] Their first single "Nashville Grey Skies" was released on 4 April 2014 and received its first airplay on the Bob Harris BBC Radio 2 Country show on 3 April 2014. It was added to the BBC Radio 2 "B" Playlist for the week commencing 3 May 2014 and climbed to the "A" playlist the following week.[9][10][11] The song was written by Ben before visiting Music City which is a song about hope with a pipe dream of building, and the UK having, a country music capital of its very own.[12] It takes the musicality influences from America whilst maintaining a Britishness with the song writing. It contains facetious lines such as "Well they say it's way too cold for cut-off jeans and they won't be drinking moonshine but G & T's" and "We can build our own Nashville under these grey skies".

On 21 April 2014 they travelled to Sweden and then headed to Nashville to begin preparations and record their debut album. The duo toured the UK with Ward Thomas[13] and Little Big Town,[14] prior to their own headlining tour in 2015.[15] In March 2015 the duo returned to play C2C and also released their debut studio album Brave on 2 March 2015.[16] The album peaked at number 10 on the UK Albums Chart, making The Shires the first UK country act to have an album in the top 10. In March 2016, as the most successful country music act the UK has ever had, they were invited to C2C as "ambassadors", introducing the acts on the pop-up stages throughout the weekend in London, playing their own sets and appearing in the arena to introduce acts performing on the Yamaha Music Stage. The Shires opened for The Corrs on their comeback tour in 2016 including shows at Birmingham's Genting Arena, Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena, Liverpool's Echo Arena, The O2 Arena London, Manchester Arena, Glasgow's SSE Hydro, Dublin's 3Arena and the SSE Arena Belfast between 19 and 29 January.[17]

2016–2017: My Universe[edit]

In July 2016, The Shires announced their second studio album My Universe would be released on 30 September 2016.[18] They released "Beats to Your Rhythm" on 29 July as the first single from the album. The second single from the album was "My Universe" and was released on 16 September 2016; it charted at 89 in Scotland. Online music news site, Get to the Front, reviewed the album and stated that "musically, lyrically and vocally there is little else you could ask for in a country album."[19] My Universe debuted at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and became the fastest selling UK country album of all time.

In October 2016, The Shires secured a recording contract with American label Big Machine Label Group and its imprint Dot Records. The Shires said : "We are absolutely thrilled to sign with Dot Records in the USA. The UK is our home and we are proud of our success so far, thanks to Decca Records, but it's always been a massive goal for us to build our presence and make a name for ourselves in the USA."[20]

In 2017 their new single "Daddy's Little Girl" was released, joining BBC Radio 2's playlist. It is about Crissie's late father; the video features footage of her and her dad.[21] On 9 March 2017, The Shires were presented with their first CMA Award by Kristian Bush during the songwriters event at the C2C: Country to Country festival.[22]

2018–2020: Accidentally on Purpose[edit]

On 26 January 2018, The Shires announced their third studio album Accidentally on Purpose would be released on 20 April 2018 alongside a UK tour.[23] On 8 March 2018, the first single from the album "Guilty" premiered on BBC Radio 2 before being released that day.[24]

The second single "Accidentally on Purpose" was released on 9 June 2018.[25]

The third single "Echo" was released on 13 July 2018.[26]

In 2019, Earle and Rhodes were awarded Honorary Doctorates of the Arts by the University of Bedfordshire for their services to the Arts.

In March 2020, The Shires were announced to be playing the main stage at the C2C: Country to Country festival, replacing Old Dominion who withdrew due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, making The Shires the first UK country act to perform a set on the main stage.[27]

2021–present: 10 Year Plan[edit]

In January 2022, The Shires announced their lead single from their upcoming fifth album, '10 Year Plan' would be titled 'I See Stars'. The band appeared on the Radio 2 breakfast show with Zoe Ball for the single's debut on the 26th of January, and followed it with the release date for their new album on March 11, 2022.[28][29]
'I See Stars' was Radio 2's song of the week in February, 2022.[30]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK Country UK
[31]
AUS
[32]
NZ
[33]
SCO
[34]
Brave
  • Released: 2 March 2015
  • Label: Decca
  • Formats: CD, digital download
1 10 36 8
My Universe
  • Released: 30 September 2016
  • Label: Decca
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
1 3 63 2
Accidentally on Purpose
  • Released: 20 April 2018
  • Label: Decca
  • Formats: CD, digital download
1 3 2
  • BPI: Silver
Good Years
  • Released: 13 March 2020
  • Label: BMG
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
1 3 2
10 Year Plan
  • Released: 11 March 2022
  • Label: BMG
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
1 5 6

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
UK
[31]
SCO
[34]
Greatest Hits
  • Released: 6 March 2020
  • Label: Decca
  • Formats: CD, Digital download
52 9

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
The Green Note EP
  • Released: 4 November 2014
  • Label: Decca
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Singles[edit]

Year Title SCO Album
2014 "Nashville Grey Skies" Brave
"Tonight"
2015 "Friday Night"
"State Lines"
"All Over Again" 79
"I Just Wanna Love You"
2016 "Beats to Your Rhythm" My Universe
"My Universe" 89
2017 "Daddy's Little Girl"
2018 "Guilty" 77
[36]
Accidentally on Purpose
"Accidentally on Purpose"
"Echo"
2020 "Independence Day" 85
[37]
Good Years
2022 "I See Stars" 10 Year Plan

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
2017 "Daddy's Little Girl" Shaun Silva

Tours[edit]

Headline Tour

Supporting


Live radio appearances[edit]

The Shires made their national radio debut on 1 May 2014 with a recorded live session with Bob Harris OBE on BBC Radio 2. They performed 2 songs "Brave" and "Only Midnight".[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stassen, Murray (9 March 2015). "The Shires become first UK country act to reach Albums Chart Top 10". Music Week. Archived from the original on 21 April 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  2. ^ "The Shires sign US record deal with man who discovered Taylor Swift". Bbc.co.uk. 28 October 2016. Archived from the original on 20 August 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b The Sunday Times: That British twang, Country is being reborn in Bedford, not Nashville Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. The Sunday Times, Retrieved 12 May 2014, published by Paul Sexton, 4 May 2014
  4. ^ a b c Sounds Like Nashville Artist Profile Page Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 12 May 2014
  5. ^ a b Bob Harris BBC Radio 2 Live Session Archived 28 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Bbc.co.uk, Retrieved 12 May 2014
  6. ^ Nashville UK presented by Paul Sexton; first broadcast: Thursday 20 March 2014 Archived 24 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Bbc.co.uk, Retrieved 12 May 2014
  7. ^ Play Productions Homepage Archived 21 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Playproductions.se, Retrieved 12 May 2014
  8. ^ C2C: Country to Country 2014 Festival Profile Page Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. C2c-countrytocountry.com, Retrieved 2014-05-12, published March 2014
  9. ^ BBC Radio 2 Playlist Archived 28 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Bbc.co.uk, Retrieved 2014-05-12, published 9 May 2014
  10. ^ The Shires Twitter Comment Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Twitter.com, Retrieved 12 May 2014, published 30 April 2014
  11. ^ BBC Radio 2 Artist Profile Page Archived 1 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Bbc.co.uk, Retrieved 12 May 2014
  12. ^ Allmusic Artist Credits Archived 2 October 2021 at the Wayback Machine. AllMusic, Retrieved 12 May 2014
  13. ^ "The Shires and Ward Thomas-Tour Dates". Chris Country-The UK's Country Station. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  14. ^ "The Shires". Theshiresmusic.com. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  15. ^ "The Shires". Theshiresmusic.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Music – The Shires". Theshiresmusic.com. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  17. ^ Baines, Huw. "The Shires To Open for the Corrs on Comeback Tour". Stereoboard.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  18. ^ "The Shires | Official Website | Good Years Out Now". Theshiresmusic.com. Archived from the original on 13 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Review: The Shires – 'My Universe' – GetToTheFront". 26 August 2016. Archived from the original on 23 May 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  20. ^ "The Shires make UK country history with Big Machine record deal". Musicweek.com. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Official Charts - Home of the Official UK Top 40 Charts". Officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  22. ^ CMA Country Music [@CountryMusic] (10 March 2017). "Country Music duo @TheShiresUK were surprised with their first CMA 🏆 at the #CMAsongwriters Series show in London!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "The Shires on Twitter". Twitter.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  24. ^ "The Shires on Twitter". Twitter.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  25. ^ "The Shires on Twitter". Twitter.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  26. ^ "The Shires New Single Echo". Yourlifeinasong.com. 25 June 2018. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  27. ^ "THE SHIRES ANNOUNCED TO REPLACE OLD DOMINION…". C2c-countrytocountry.com. 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on 14 August 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  28. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/CZKXg40LINc/
  29. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/CZMv9vdKPl1/
  30. ^ https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=501779127975784&id=100044311035489&refid=17&_ft_=mf_story_key.501779127975784%3Atop_level_post_id.501779127975784%3Atl_objid.501779127975784%3Acontent_owner_id_new.100044311035489%3Athrowback_story_fbid.501779127975784%3Apage_id.580897285277056%3Astory_location.4%3Astory_attachment_style.video_inline%3Aott.AX8Ym71umzot3a_7%3Atds_flgs.3%3Athid.100044311035489%3A306061129499414%3A2%3A0%3A1646121599%3A-3165699792943917578%3A%3A&__tn__=%2AW-R[user-generated source]
  31. ^ a b "Shires | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  32. ^ "ARIA CHART WATCH #414". Auspop.com.au. 1 April 2017. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  33. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 26 October 2015. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  34. ^ a b Peak positions for albums in Scotland:
  35. ^ a b "Certified Awards" (enter "The Shires" into the "Keywords" box, then select "Search"). British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Chart Archive > 27 April 2018". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 17 November 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  37. ^ "Chart Archive > 20 March 2020". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 23 October 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  38. ^ "Tom Chaplin and the Shires To Support Jeff Lynne's ELO on UK Dates". Stereoboard.com. Archived from the original on 17 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  39. ^ Bob Harris Country BBC Radio 2 playlist Archived 10 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2014-05-12, published 3 April 2014

External links[edit]

The Shires at AllMusic