By Aaron Wagner
Back with their best music of their careers with a new album Good Years, The Shires are poised to continue their dominance in country music across the pond while looking to make a splash here in America.
The duo, Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, has a sound to them that translates so well commercially. They’ve had success in Europe as they’ve become one of the leading faces of country music as the industry continues to grow their audience overseas.
The duo lists Lady Antebellum as one of their main influences and it’s easy to see why as most of the songs on their new album Good Years could’ve been performed by Lady A themselves. Having recently signed to a new label based in Nashville, there’s a good chance you’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot more from them in the states.
The album kicks off with an infectious anthem in “Lightning Strikes” that gets you pumped up for the rest of the album. “On the Day I Die” is a unique song for the duo as Crissie takes the lead and carries the entire song, compared to the usual back and forth we’re use to.
“The demo was initially the two of us, so it was written with me singing the first verse and then Ben singing the next verse. Usually we always share songs, but on this one occasion, it didn’t make as much sense when it sounded like a conversation. So it needed to be just one of us singing it instead.” – Crissie Rhodes to Apple Music.
“Good Years” is a feel good song that was cleverly penned by Cannan Smith when he was linked up with the duo on a tour. Then there’s “No Secrets” a fun back-and-forth between Ben and Crissie as they sing about the success to a good, long relationship.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “About Last Night.” Singing about a night that started with drinks, move to the dance floor and eventually to the bathroom, the duo’s harmonies make this song shine. “New Year” is a mid-tempo, somewhat stripped down song about that feeling of the clock hitting midnight but that person you want isn’t there to share the night with you. There’s an eery feeling to the song that is so beautiful.
The Shires go down memory lane as they share that they still think about that former love all the time in “Only Always” which is simply a catchy song especially in the chorus run.
We then get a patriotic themed song from the UK duo in “Independence Day.” Well, not quite. The song is more about how you can find your independence and inner strength to move forward after a hard breakup. Then there are the moments when a little liquid courage can pay off like “Thank You Whiskey” and how a drink can lead to something great.
They then give us fans an atypical message than we’re use to with “People Like Us,” a groovy, no care in the world type of jam.
Who doesn’t like a love ballad from the Shires? They made sure they included one on this project with “Better Place.” Co-written with Kara DioGuardi, the lyrics paint a picture in your mind and I love that about a country song.
The two end the album with a piano ballad in “Crazy Days” and I think it’s the perfect metaphor for The Shires’ career and how their life has drastically changed in the last few years with their rise to popularity. They’re jet setting all across the map but they are still people who have their own families and friends that mean the world to them.
And after listening to this album from start to finish, I don’t think their crazy days are going to be ending anytime soon. But I think they’re more than okay with that.
And so are we.