London, London, England
Working their way from being 'The X Factor' rejects to become headliners at the Grand Ole Opry, country singer-songwriter duo The Shires were the first British group to sign with a major Nashville label and the only UK country act to ever score a top ten album.
Ben Earle began singing at the age of seven and was a chorister at Windsor Castle and even performed at Prince Edward's wedding, before discovering country music after hearing Lady Antebellum and strumming his way around pubs and onto auditions for 'The X Factor' in 2012. Wedding singer Crissie Rhodes followed a year later, and made it to the boot camp stage where she was mentored by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, but after their rejection they both faced the familiar struggles of young, aspirational musicians. An appeal on Facebook by Earle to find a female partner to sing country songs in London united the pair in 2013, and their instant rapport and chemistry led them to pen a string of heartfelt, acoustic ballads and start gigging together. It turned into a big success when debut album 'Brave' reached number ten in the UK Album Charts in 2015, and they supported The Corrs and Tom Jones on big arena tours and found an enthusiastic audience in America, where their British take on country and lyrics about village greens, fish and chips and drinking gin and tonic rather than moonshine proved a popular novelty.
They chose the name The Shires as a nod to their home counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and went on to play an emotional set at Glastonbury Festival hours after Earle's fiancee had given birth to his first son and they polished their rootsy, country lullabies into twanging pop anthems on their second album 'My Universe' which reached number three in UK charts in 2016. They also won the noted Country Music Association Jeff Walker Global Artist Award and became firm favourites on BBC Radio 2, before returning in 2018 with third album 'Actually On Purpose'.
Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved