I had the honour of going to see The Shires at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It was the final gig of the ‘My Universe’ tour. They saved the best for last. The atmosphere was electric and full of excitement. The very talented and engaging Cannan Smith was one of the best support acts I’ve seen at the Empire. It set the tone for a night.
The Shires opened with ‘Nashville Grey Skies’. It was delivered with such joie de vivre and energy. The audience loved ‘My Universe’. It showcased how well Ben Earle and Chrissie Rhodes voices blend together and how much they love music. Their radio hit ‘Friday Night’ was a definite crowd pleaser. There was such warmth between the band and crowd, especially when they played the first song they wrote together – ‘All Over Again’.
Ben Earle and Chrissie Rhodes really are excellent songwriters and performers. Like all good country bands, they can write you a love song – ‘Not Even Drunk Right Now’ captures the first flush of true love well. If things progress and you need a wedding song, ‘’I just want to love you’ is for you. Naturally, we also had the heartbreak songs. ‘Other Peoples Things’ and ‘Daddy’s Girl’ were performed with such pathos – we were visibly moved. When they sang ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, for just a moment, felt I was in Nashville. That, alongside ‘A Thousand Hallelujahs’ were the highlights of the set for me. ‘Tonight’ was the perfect finale.
It’s not surprising The Shires became one of the most popular acts in the UK. It felt like we were invited into their world for the night. The Shires seem to have caught the zeitgeist in their songs. Their record label, Decca, has done well to invest in the duo. theshiresmusic and canaansmith