12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A polished country pop bombardment from the home counties awaits on this breakthrough from British duo The Shires. Building on their debut Brave, Chrissie Rhodes and Ben Earle’s second record goes all in on firecracker choruses and yearningly tender duets. “Naked” is a fittingly unvarnished ballad and in the face of “Not Even Drunk Right Now”—an 80 proof whirl of half-yodelled harmonies and intoxicating Nashville melodies—resistance is utterly futile.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A polished country pop bombardment from the home counties awaits on this breakthrough from British duo The Shires. Building on their debut Brave, Chrissie Rhodes and Ben Earle’s second record goes all in on firecracker choruses and yearningly tender duets. “Naked” is a fittingly unvarnished ballad and in the face of “Not Even Drunk Right Now”—an 80 proof whirl of half-yodelled harmonies and intoxicating Nashville melodies—resistance is utterly futile.

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About The Shires

An English duo with a knack for crafting pitch-perfect American country-pop in the vein of Lady Antebellum, Kacey Musgraves, and Florida Georgia Line, the Shires came into existence in 2013 after Hertfordshire guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Ben Earle, a struggling solo artist who had toured with KT Tunstall, posted "there must be a country singer somewhere" on his Facebook page. The response to his question came from nearby Bedfordshire in the form of Crissie Rhodes, a talented vocalist who had been honing her craft at weddings, pubs, and clubs. The pair bonded over their mutual love for artists like Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, and Alison Krauss, and began writing and performing together; they eventually inked a deal with Decca Records in the U.K. and Universal Music Group Nashville across the pond. Their first single, the aptly named "Nashville Skies," debuted in 2014 in anticipation of their full-length studio album, Brave, which followed in February 2015. The duo went on to promote the record with a nationwide tour and returned in 2016 with their second album, My Universe. ~ James Christopher Monger

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