Monday, 24 November 2014

Ones to Watch 2015 #6 - The Shires

Most of the acts listed on Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list have already featured on the site at some point over the last year or so, many of them a number of times, the list effectively being a summary of some of the best acts we’ve featured who we think are going to go on to a prosperous 2015 either creatively, commercially or both. A large number of the acts featured were originally introduced under our New Waves feature.

However today’s pick is the exception to the rule. With a debut single titled Nashville Grey Skies it probably doesn’t take much brain power to deduce that The Shires play country music. However, the spelling of grey should also give a big clue to the nationality of this duo. They don’t come from Tenessee or Texas but from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in the UK, hence the name. The Shires music is rooted in the traditional sounds of country, but they give it their own UK twist as they sing of gin and tonic and village greens.

With a groundswell of popularity for country music over the last few years in the UK with acts like First Aid Kit and Caitlin Rose finding sizeable audiences and with Taylor Swift becoming one of the most talked about stars worldwide (albeit now with a move to pop) The Shires could be next in line. This is a band with an ability to connect to trad-country fans with those simple old fashioned virtues of strong songs and an ability to play live. They have a chance of not only finding a loving in audience in their homeland, but in the same way that the UK took black r’n’b and rock n roll music from America in the 50’s and sold it back to the States with its own UK twist, The Shires could do so with country in 2015. 

The Shires are Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes and signed to Decca Records early in 2014. They have so far released 2 singles and The Green Note EP, which got to number 1 in the iTunes Country charts. The EP includes a cover of Reef’s Place Your Hands that transforms that beast of a song into a thing of pristine beauty. They won’t be lighting up the blogosphere, getting approval from Zane Lowe, and the so called tastemakers will probably sneer at their ‘uncoolness’, but for those who like country music, aren’t concerned with trends or fashion and just like good songs (Nashville Grey Skies is a real earworm - you've been warned) whatever the genre, keep an ear out for The Shires.

The Shires - Nashville Grey Skies (Video)

The Shires - Young Hearts (Cover)

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