LIVE REVIEW: Ward Thomas at GLive in Guildford

Last night (December 6th) saw the British country music duo Ward Thomas play a home gig in front of a packed GLive in Guildford. The twin sisters grew up in Hampshire which is situated 37 miles from Guildford so last night’s show was a special one for the twins.

Before they hit the stage for the first of two special Christmas shows, US country sensation Sarah Darling arrived with a selection of old, new and Christmas tracks.

She wowed the crowd with her honey sweet vocals and performed hits such as ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ and ‘Halley’s Comet’ and also Christmas classics from her new festive LP ‘Winter Wonderland‘. The Guildford audience lapped up her stunning renditions of ‘Santa Baby’ and ‘White Christmas’ and she had them in the palm of her hand when she premiered new tracks including the gorgeous ‘Shimmer Like Gold’ and the outstanding ‘Wasted’.

‘Wasted’ was written by Darling 10 years ago, after a family member called her late at night to talk about the breakdown of their marriage. It’s a really powerful song with emotive lyrics and will no doubt resonate with many listeners. For me it’s Sarah’s best ever song.

The audience was a little quiet during her set as they appreciated her stunning vocals but she was met with rapturous applause at the end of her note perfect performance.

After a short interval it was time for the main event and as the auditorium was plunged into darkness the capacity crowd welcomed Ward Thomas onto the stage with deafening cheers.

They kicked off their sublime set with an A Capella rendition of the Christmas classic ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ which showcased their spine tingling harmonies before breaking into the massive crowd pleaser ‘Boomerang’.

Their hit filled set featured fan favourites from their record breaking number 1 album ‘Cartwheels‘ such as ‘Lose Me’ and ‘Guilty Flowers’ and during the night they also premiered four new tracks much to the crowds delight. Along with old and new favourites they also delivered a divine rendition of the Joni Mitchell classic ‘River’ which added a touch of festive cheer to the magical evening.

The new songs are some of the best tracks I have ever heard. Lyrically they are up there with classic Shania Twain and the strong melodies stand them apart from the rest.

The new tracks were ‘Same Love’ which is a powerful pop/reggae infused country track with strong lyrics about inclusion and a message of unity and a total ear-worm of a chorus. Although Catherine did laughingly admit that they “screwed up” slightly during their debut live performance of the track which made the audience giggle. Next of the new material was the outstanding ‘It’s Not Just Me’ which is another song about not being alone. It’s a truly gorgeous song with a magical arrangement and touching lyrics with a strong country beat. Catherine told the crowd that it was written for anyone who is suffering with “anxiety” or is feeling “alone”. Another new song premiered was the insanely catchy ‘One More Goodbye’. This is probably the best song lyrically they have ever written and recorded and it’s going to be a real highlight on the new record which is due for release next year.

The last of the new songs was premiered during the second song of the encore which happened after the girls had left the stage to roaring cheers after a sensational performance of the fan fave ‘Carry You Home’. The girls welcomed Sarah Darling back on stage and surprised the crowd with the news that while in Nashville they had visited Sarah’s house in a huge 4×4 Hummer truck (which Lizzy found hard to park) and wrote a collaboration titled ‘Our Own Song’.

This was a really special way to end the fun filled night which saw the crowd joining in throughout and having a friendly competition during ‘I Believe In You’ which has become an instant classic since being premiered earlier this year during the girls’ UK tour, and will feature on their new album.   The mix of Ward Thomas’ sublime harmonies and Darling’s angel like vocals made this a pin drop moment and ‘Our Own Song’ is a truly sensational ballad.

The new songs proved the immense writing talent that Ward Thomas possess and their stage presence and banter gets better, and better with each live gig.

It was a sensational evening and The GLive audience fell in love with Catherine and Lizzy all over again as they were welcomed home, and they wowed their adoring fans with their divine harmonies and vocals, while Sarah Darling gained many new fans with her stunning set.

Rating 5/5

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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