The Shires on what it’s like to be the UK’s biggest-selling country music act ever

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The Shires NC

CLASS ACT: The Shires are the UK’s biggest selling country music band in history

Pals Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have racked up three Top 10 albums and are officially the UK’s biggest-selling country act in history.

They recently finished their UK tour, which saw them perform tracks from their latest album, Accidentally On Purpose.

But they’ve still got plenty of gigs coming up, including arena dates where they’ll be special guests for country megastar Shania Twain.

We sat them down for a chat…

The Shires album cover The Shires

NERVOUS: Ben and Crissie were nervous to perform their new songs on tour

How has it been touring the UK?

Ben: It’s amazing. When you’re sitting in a room writing the songs, you dream of moments like the ones you later have on stage.

You imagine what it will be like and that’s exciting. But you still have those nerves.

You get nervous when there are new songs.

We stepped it up massively for this tour and people were loving it. They were dancing and they were really happy.

Crissie: We changed the look of what we do so now everything is a lot brighter. We had a lighting show and reflected the fun of the album in our costumes.

What was it like playing the Royal Albert Hall?

Ben: It’s unmistakable where you are when you’re on stage there.

We always used to come past it when we were kids and dream of one day playing there.

Even just doing the soundcheck was amazing. Walking out on stage was just incredible.

How did you feel when you were asked to perform as part of the BBC’s coverage of the royal wedding?

Crissie: It was really exciting to be there on the big day. We sang two songs of our own and then two songs with Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs.

Ben: I grew up in Windsor and I was a chorister there so it was really special to go back and play there.

When I go there it’s like walking down memory lane.

“we had a really fun night out with Ed in Nashville and we said we’d love to work together”

Bean Earle

You’re good friends with Ed Sheeran. Do you think you’ll work on songs with him in the future?

Ben: We had a really fun night out with Ed in Nashville and we said we’d love to work together.

But he’s obviously so busy. But he did send us a song called Stay The Night, which is on our latest album.

We just love that song. That’s enough for us. But we’d love to work with him on something.

Crissie: I think if we got in a writing session with him it would be really fun.

I feel like we’d write a great song with him. We all share a love for honesty and storytelling. We’d be a good combo.

Ben: He’s just lovely. It’s really heartwarming that someone on that level can be so normal.

I met him at an after-party and pretty soon I felt like I’d known him my whole life. He’s just really warm.

Ed Sheeran GETTY

CELEB PALS: Ed Sheehan sent the pair a song which is on their new album

You’ve brought country music to the UK in a big way. Which country artists inspire you?

Ben: Little Big Town are a big inspiration. We did some shows with them and then suddenly they went from big stars to just being huge.

It was stratospheric.

They had a massive hit and then they won a Grammy.

They’ve been grafting away for years and then they hit it.

That has really inspired us to do things like our tour.

Accidentally On Purpose is out now.

The Shires have gigs lined up until October.

For dates, visit theshiresmusic.com

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