The Shires Enter The ‘Good Years’ With The Release Of New Album

"Country for us is honesty and storytelling.”

The Shires Enter The ‘Good Years’ With The Release Of New Album
The Shires; Photo credit: Pip/BMG UK

UK-based country duo, The Shires, released their fourth official album, Good Years, on Friday, March 13th. The project blends a modern acoustic country sound with the duo’s captivating harmonies. The album features 12 tracks, 10 of which were written by the duo’s Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes. Much of the album was written by the duo back home in the UK, which was an important process for them.

“I think that the overall theme of the album is that it’s quite reflective,” says Crissie Rhodes. “Being our fourth album, the others came out quite quickly after each other, so we had about five or six years on the road and just being everywhere — caught up in that whirlwind that is being out on the road. For this album, we actually took a break. We were still performing, we were still writing and recording the album, but we definitely took a bit of a step away from all the craziness and got to spend some time with our friends and family.”

The writing process took the duo about 18 months, and in the end, they had 50 to 60 songs to choose from for the final product. The reflective way that the songs were written also impacted the musical style the duo showcases on the album, which is a bit of return to their earlier projects.

“I think we were really inspired on the last album to have some bigger, more uptempo, and just songs that work live, whereas this one, like Crissie said, we took the reflective time we had,” says the band’s Ben Earle. “These songs are a bit more organic almost, a bit more acoustic. It’s got some big numbers definitely to play live, but it’s closer, sonically and lyrically I think, to the first and second album.”

the shires
The Shires; Cover art courtesy of BBR Music Group

The album’s title track, “Good Years,” acts as a bit of a window into where the band is right now and where they’re going. In the song, Earle and Rhodes sing about soaking in every little moment of the ‘good years’ before they’re gone.

The good years roll by so much faster than you know / Don’t take your time, they’ll pass you by, like all the white lines on the road,” the duo sings.

Other tracks on the album include the romantic “New Year” and the lighthearted “People Like Us.” The album closes with “Crazy Days,” a heartfelt song written solely by Earle that was inspired by their years on the road. The two outside songs on the project are “Lightning Strikes,” written by Cam, Josh Williams and Evan Bogart, and “About Last Night,” written by Katya Edwards and Rachel Furner.

The Shires have already crossed over to United States by winning a CMA Award and playing the Grand Ole Opry, and they hope to make more connections in the states with this new project. And while they admittedly don’t sing about every “traditional country” subject, their unique brand showcases the heart of country music — which is honest songwriting.

“[Our music] is definitely a UK take on country music,” says Earle. “We made a pact to only sing about things that we knew about. I think when we first got together, we googled ‘UK country music.’ A lot of the acts were kind of imitating the US and talking about going down to Georgia or something, and we were just like, that’s not what country is for us. Country for us is honesty and storytelling.”