Tomorrow (April 20th) The Shires drop their eagerly anticipated third studio album ‘Accidentally On Purpose‘. We reviewed the LP earlier this month and can honestly say it is the British country duo’s best body of work to date.
Ahead of the album’s release, we caught up with Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes – AKA The Shires to speak all things ‘Accidentally On Purpose’, Ward Thomas collaboration, new tour and much, much more;
Your new single ‘Guilty’ is out now, can you talk us through how the song title came about?
This song encapsulates our writing trip to Nashville back in October. Nashville really is a party town and there were parties almost every night, it was hard to turn down the invites. We were certainly Guilty of having a good time out there!!
Did you feel it was a natural choice for the first single off the new album, or did you have to whittle it down from all the tracks?
As soon as we received the demo back from our co-writer & producer Lindsay, Crissie played it as her warm up track while she got ready to go out! It always got her in the mood for a night of partying! We knew it was such a fun track, our manager and label loved it so it just seemed so obvious to be the first single on this new album.
You filmed the ‘Guilty’ video in LA, how much fun was that?
Oh we loved it, we had sooo much fun! It has a guilty theme to it (see what we did there), so we got to play petty criminals hanging out in some proper cool sets – like a launderette and a diner. The most fun part was handcuffing a cop to a police car. The video is full of bright colours and it’s the first video that we got to show that side of our personalities off in.
‘Guilty’ is taken off your new album ‘Accidentally On Purpose’, how would you describe the overall sound of the record?
‘Accidentally on Purpose’ is full of personal songs that really sum up the whirlwind journey we’ve been on together. From the first day we met, we’ve been crazy dreamers with big plans, who really believed that Country could break into the UK mainstream. For all those dreams, we never imagined it would all happen so quickly and we’re so proud and excited to be releasing our third album. This album has some really lovely love songs and ballads, but also some really up tempo pop songs – so it’s quite different to our previous albums!
Speaking about the UK Country scene, along with Ward Thomas you are pioneers of that, can we expect to see you guys collaborating soon?
We love Ward Thomas and everything that they’re doing in the UK country scene. Hopefully we can collaborate soon, that would be a lot of fun.
The new LP’s name is a fun tongue in cheek title, can you tell us about the inspiration behind the song of the same name?
Crissie met a boy in Nashville while we were recording, she came into the session one day just before we were leaving and talked about how she might ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ miss her flight… Ben was sat making notes on his phone and the song came from that! We’ve had a lot of fun with the ‘Accidentally on Purpose’, but the song itself is a really great love song.
This is your third album, how would you say your sound has evolved over the course of your musical journey so far?
This album has definitely got more pop crossover and we feel like it kind of charts our journey. It’s exciting how much our music has documented over the years, from Crissie’s love life to Ben becoming a father, with another on the way! A lot has changed for us personally and I think our music reflects that.
When it comes to recording new tracks, do you find it easy to decide on who sings which parts of a song?
It works out pretty naturally once we’re in the studio. It’s all quite organic, throwing around ideas and vocals. It’s all a process and we love just having fun and playing around.
Along with the new album, you’re also touring this year, what can fans expect from the shows?
We are doing a bigger tour than ever before, which means bigger tour bus woo! We’ve got an amazing lighting director on board, so the stage is going to look beautiful. We are so excited and can’t wait to get back on the road, there’s honestly no better feeling than hearing hundreds of people singing your songs back at you.
Do you have any pre-stage rituals?
We do – we don’t want to say too much because we don’t want to jinx it! Before every show we do a chant with the band and our team, it’s worked pretty well for us so far…
Back to your new LP, the song ‘Stay The Night’ was written by Ed Sheeran, how did that come about?
We met Ed at his after show party in Nashville. It was his penultimate US show so he threw a party to celebrate. We were very excited to meet him but it turned out he already knew who we were. He told Ben that he had pre-ordered our album and even told him his favourite song from the album. It was some hours later, after one-too many drinks when Ed helped Crissie onto the beer keg. We would have liked to have written with Ed, but he’s kind of a busy guy so instead he sent us his song ‘Stay the Night.’ We loved it and loved recording it in the studio in Nashville!
Can we expect any other exciting writing credits on the new record?
The Ed Sheeran track, ‘Stay The Night’, also has writing credits to John Newman and James Newman – which is pretty cool!
A lot of the album was recorded in Nashville, how do you manage to keep that British Country sound evident whilst working over there?
We’re really confident in our sound and what our sound is, but what makes Nashville so special is that we’re in the heart of Country music which proper Country legends have recorded in. We would spend our days recording and spend our nights soaking everything up in the local bars, restaurants, music scenes – we had such an incredible time. It’s so cool that Nashville is enjoying our music too, so it’s pretty special to be accepted by them.
With a new album and tour this year what else can we expect from you guys in 2018?
A whole load of new songs and a big new stage show. Go get the album, get yourself a ticket to one of our shows so you can come sing our songs with us and get lost in the music!
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