The Shires bring the house down at Ipswich Regent

The Shires. Picture: SELA SHILONI

The Shires. Picture: SELA SHILONI - Credit: SELA SHILONI

Over the last two decades there has been a revolution in Country Music – and now some of the freshest new sounds of the genre are coming not from the US, but from England’s Home Counties.

The Shires – duo Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes – have had a stellar rise over the last three years, and almost filled the Ipswich Regent on their return to the town to promote their third album.

The days of Country being the preserve of Rhinestone-encrusted crooners or divas from the Mid-West are well and truly over – and The Shires show how the music can crossover with rock and pop to become a really great modern format.

Almost all their material is self-written – the exception being Islands in the Stream – and is really high-quality music.

Their breakthrough was only three years ago but already their early material like Nashville Grey Skies and State Lines feel like real classics – and brought the house down.

Crissie’s emotional “Daddy’s Little Girl” really tugs at the heartstrings and shows a different element to this talented duo – and their new album Accidentally on Purpose also has some great numbers that will become standards in their own right in a short time.

What is impressive about The Shires is their down-to-earth attitude and their connection with the audience. When they say they’re delighted to be back in Ipswich, you feel they really mean it.

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They’ve got another link with this part of the world – one of the tracks from their new album Stay the Night was written by a certain Ed Sheeran and they’re clearly fans of each other!

A great night of music at the Regent. The Shires really are a breath of fresh air!

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