Monday sees the return of Coffee House Sessions! This dynamic initiative that exposes the best in upcoming UK music talent to the student market via acoustic daytime performances in university coffee shops. Launched by Coalition Talent in 2013 this innovative platform injects life back into the live music scene across universities. The sessions kick off with The Shires.

 

The Shires are helping to make country music cooler than ever. They look and sound great, and they’re all set to take their country-influenced music to the world.

Duo Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have swiftly become one of the buzz bands of 2014. Getting together May of last year, and with only a handful of live dates under their belt, The Shires have secured the support of a host of industry tastemakers in no time. Decca won the hot contest for their signatures just before they made their official live London debut at the second annual Country 2 Country Festival at London’s 02 Arena. This event confirmed the huge wave of interest in the country genre.

24 hours later, they were performing at a prestigious London reception held jointly by BBC Radio 2 (who’ve declared their enthusiastic early support for the duo), and the Country Music Association. The following morning, they were on a plane heading for their first song writing sessions in Nashville. Two days on, Ben and Crissie were featured in the Radio 2 documentary ‘Nashville UK,’ celebrating the continuing rise of country on these shores.

The thoroughly refreshing debut single ‘Nashville Grey Skies’ is just the first taster of the album they will record. Both Ben and Crissie are self-declared admirers of the craftsmanship of country song writing, but don’t be deceived – they’re as far from some twangy tribute act as you could get.

Powered by Crissie’s powerful but subtle and supple vocals and Ben’s perfectly complementary tones and acoustic guitar, The Shires have found a piece of country to call their own. They love American music, but are proudly British and intensely keen to add some real indigenous flavour to the pot. The song ‘Made In England’ is a perfect example – a real celebration of all things British. Now The Shires are ready to bring that album home from Nashville. “At the end of the day, all we want to do is write songs and sing them,” says Earle. People will be more than ready to listen, in their country and far beyond.

 

Listings information

Monday 29 September 2014

The Bridge – 2pm