WITH the sounds of country music permeating in the UK after the success here of the hit television series Nashville, people both within and outside the music business have been asking – where are Britain's home-grown country stars?
Ward Thomas may well be providing some of the answers. They are on the threshold of becoming one of the first genuine major British country acts.
Ward Thomas are 20-year old twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas from Hampshire. While at sixth form, a rough demo of the Ward Thomas track Footnotes found its way into the hands of two respected Nashville session musicians, leading to the recording of a debut album From Where We Stand (out last month) which could spearhead a UK country sound.
Hampshire and country music may not be obvious bed fellows but these girls, brought up on a rural livestock farm from a family line that included artists and authors, have had country music in their blood ever since they were introduced to the music of Carrie Underwood, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss by a cousin in their early teens.
Written in its entirety in the UK, without the help of A-list songwriters, yet recorded in Nashville with some of country music's finest including Bobby Blazier, Dan Dugmore and Chris Rodriquez, From Where We Stand retains a certain Englishness which, combined with the Nashville production, gives us Ward Thomas' own individual UK take on country music.
Terry Wogan has interviewed the twins on his popular Radio 2 show and they were also featured in a special Radio 2 documentary on country music broadcast in March. That same month they appeared at the Country2Country Festival at London's O2 Arena.
You can see them tonight at The Taphouse, St Agnes.