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SummerTyne 2017: An interview with The Shires

Posted on 7 August 2017

Review and interview carried out by Peter Mann BSc

The Shires went down a storm in their sold out, Sage One, opening night headline spot at SummerTyne 2017! Peter Mann BSc caught up with the Crissie Rhodes from the British country duo. Read what she to say about their third year at SummerTyne, and the making of their second album My Universe

The UK’s biggest country act, Crissie Rhodes (from Bedfordshire) and Ben Earle (from Hertfordshire) of The Shires, wowed fans on opening night at this year’s SummerTyne Americana Festival, appearing for the third year in succession.

Performing tracks from both the debut offering, Brave, and their latest release My Universe, the duo have defied all odds since blasting onto the scene a few years ago.

With a cover from U2, With or Without You amongst their own classics of Daddy’s Little Girl, Made in England and A Thousand Hallelujahs, the pair generated a spine-tingling encore response for a wanton crowd which they were happy to oblige.

Speaking after yet another mesmerising Sage performance, Crissie said: We are very proud to be at the forefront of UK country music.

It was always our dream to build our own Nashville over here and that is definitely happening.

There are many bands forming in the UK and festivals such as Country 2 Country and SummerTyne are giving these acts the chance to perform in front of big crowds

This was our third year performing up at the SummerTyne having been first offered a short slot there three years ago [on the then Café Stage]. Around 20-25 people stopped to listen to us then and now we’ve headlined the main stage so for those still there supporting us, it really does mean so much.

Photography by Adam Kennedy

Recent outings have seen The Shires perform at Wembley, in support of E.L.O, at the Isle of Wight Festival, and, much to the pairs delight, on Radio Two with a cover of Robbie Williams’ Angels, in front of the international superstar himself.

We actually had another cover planned but found out two days before that Robbie Williams would be there, continued Crissie. For some crazy reason we decided to cover his song right in front of him. We were so nervous but it worked out really well when he shouted, ‘It’s too good’ halfway through.

We had such a great response online about our cover so we incorporated it into our tour (hopefully the other cover will as well after that Sage performance!)

Photography by Alan Nichol

Energetic, brilliant, beautiful, harmonised are just several ways of describing the performance they portrayed where, from start to finish, they gave their everything and more – Daddy’s Little Girl written and performed in memory of Crissie’s father whom she lost some twenty years ago; All Over Again the first track they wrote, in Ben’s lounge in St Albans; as well as that of Made in England and A Thousand Hallelujahs, the sell-out crowd very much on their feet and dancing in unison as the show comes to a dramatic conclusion.

Photography by Adam Kennedy

Retaining their unique, signature style portrayed in Brave, and the follow-up, My Universe was just as sensational, Crissie explaining: Creating My Universe seemed like the easiest process. There were a lot of nerves for our first album Brave because we didn’t know if anyone would like us or our music. We spent so long trying to promote our first album but following up with My Universe came very organically for us. We wrote it on the road as well as in Nashville and recorded everything the same we did Brave but this time we were more confident in the studio when it came to the sound we wanted.

My favourite moment though was when we were on tour in Bristol at Colston Hotel; we had only done a handful of shows but the crowd erupted into the dance move that I had made up for this song. Everyone had their hands in the air, it was such a cool moment.

Crissie Rhodes of The Shires was interviewed at the SummerTyne Americana Festival 2017 and you can follow their progress via social media FACEBOOK and TWITTER.