British country duo Ward Thomas, compromised of twins Catherine & Lizzie Ward Thomas, have been taking the UK by storm. With their 2016 sophomore release ‘Cartwheels’ reaching unprecedented success for a UK country act; achieving the #1 spot on the charts.
Since their inception in 2014 the duo has gone from strength to strength, rivalling the success of their American counterparts, a feat which has only been paralleled by fellow UK act The Shires.
Following the success of their previous sell-out tour, brings their biggest and most promising to date; a mammoth 22 date tour scaling across the breadth of the UK.
Taking to the stage, accompanied by the quartet backing band, sisters Catherine and Lizzy wasted no time delivering impressively crafted numbers with fastidious care.
It’s evident many of their influences stem from their American peers, such as Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, Maddie & Tae to name a few, yet have fashioned their own identity stylistically.
With each track the engrossed audience showed the utmost adulation with complete silence both during and between tracks enabling the duo’s organic harmonies to circulate around the venue effortlessly.
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Primarily the focus undoubtedly is on the sisters, visually the backing band literally reside in the background being as unobtrusive as possible.
During ‘Good On You’ & a brand new track ‘Breathe In’, the sisters, accompanied solely by the Keyboardist and Cello player, unveiled their competence to masterfully execute a fragile ballad so bare and homespun with gentle overtones.
Before taking time out to thank the crowd for all the support and devotion in making Ward Thomas the most successful UK country act in history, the band remarked about being able to hear a pin drop between tracks.
The set list embraced their latest release ‘Cartwheels’ almost in its entirety, integrating a mix of old/new and a cover for healthy measure. A track which has received substantial radio support, ‘Guilty Flowers’; a prime example where the group transcend across styles amalgamating mainstream pop music and their brand of intricate harmonic driven country.
Building on the momentum created ‘Town Called Ugley’ seemed to propel the evenings proceedings into mass hysteria. With the up-tempo and freeflowing groove leaning heavily on old authentic country rock n roll; a sound synonymous with America and honky tonks you’d be forgiven to forget that this was in fact taking place in York and not the deep south.
The fast paced, newly debuted ‘I Believe In You’ encompassed an uplifting sentiment. Towards the mid section posed an opportunity for the duo to divide the crowd to in turn sing a line to a rousing reception, almost as if the audience had restrained their voices to then finally unshackle them.
After a band introduction it was apparent it was the beginning of the end. After a blinding rendition of the lead single and fan favourite ‘Carry You Home’ an encore was inevitable. Concluding the set was the rockabilly ‘Push For The Stride’ ending an impressive, versatile set packed to the rafters with velvet harmonies and stunning musicianship.
Despite country music residing largely in the US, where its popularity is on a colossal scale, Ward Thomas are living proof that there’s hope for a place for country music in the UK.
Set list Dirt & Gold
When It’s Not Me
The Good and The Right
Good On You
Town Called Ugley
Shine (Years & Years cover)
I Believe In You
Who I’m Not
Carry You Home Encore Push For The Stride