The English sisters, who are taking country music by storm, are set to play the iconic Dublin venue on Sunday...
Meet double act Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas; the twin country music outfit making their mark on the international country music scene. Ward Thomas have been described as “ Britain’s first country singers” with their debut 2014 album From Where We Stand winning UK album of the year at The British Country Music Awards. Not too shabby for the twenty year old songstress siblings from Hampshire, England.
I caught up with one half of Ward Thomas, Catherine, to chat about twindom and music and all that is in between.
We began with a mutual compliment of each other’s’ accents and that was a nice way to kick off the interview. They offer country music with an English twist, and I asked if the girls’ British accent enhanced the popularity of their music, both nationally and internationally.
“We get so much attention for the accent,” said Catherine. “
It’s an interesting story that we are from England and we are doing country. The first place to do country music was Nashville and they say [in Nashville] ‘you guys have your own version of country music’. We tried to make it our own and not copy the American but because we sing about stuff we love it makes a difference. The thing about country music is that it is authentic and it wouldn’t be authentic to sing as if we grew up in Texas,” she explained.
Ward Thomas spent the last two years recording in Tennessee, with top country music players such as Bobby Blazier and Chris Rodriquez.
“It has been so good we have always been doing stuff and we have learnt so much on the way. We got to see some really remote areas on our travels, even if nothing comes from it in the end it has been so worth it,” said Catherine.
“We work hard as much as we can. It quite scary being young in the industry also and people can sometimes take advantage but we have has really good responses from everyone and we are in good hands, I think.”
However, sometimes siblings in bands can be a disaster.
“We have done everything together all our lives and I think people find that more interesting than if we were just regular friends that met.
“We have arguments like everyone. Living and being in each other’s pockets; every so often we will take time out and we have our own rooms but we are together so much we have got used to it really. How are the family taking your career choice, I elaborated,” she said.
“They are so supportive. Our mum comes to every one of our gigs that she can and our dad has been so supportive and he is really good friends with our manager so everyone is in it as a family.”
Last year, the band played at the County to County Festival at London’s O2 Arena, and Catherine believes that performing there was a major kick-start to their career.
“Last year, it was definitely our favourite weekend of the year and it kind of kicked everything off for us. It gave us a lot of inspiration because we thought we were the only people in the UK that wanted to do country music and everyone thought we were mad.
“Then we walk into the O2 and we see that everyone in there is from the UK and well, we found our peers our fellow country music lovers. It was really refreshing and it’s so popular. We walked into the stadium and we were like, who says country music is not popular over here.
“This is a full stadium it was very comforting for us and it helped kick everything off,” she enthused.
As mentioned, being an English group, country music wouldn’t be the most popular genre to get involved in, but relatives from other parts of the world had an obvious influence.
“Our Canadian cousin who is living here but from Canada originally. Her brother married an Irish lady and settled in county Laois so they move over to this side of the world from Canada and they brought it with them .
“We loved country music it was perfect for us and we thought we love this, we want to do this music. It was definitely Olivia our cousin who brought and then when we went to our sixth form school we started writing and it all glued together.
What is most noticeable when listening to Ward Thomas, is the energy and vibrancy that exudes from their music and music videos in particular. Surely, a future in acting could be a possibility?
“Funny you say that, our brother is an actor. He’s a very good one and has just written a play that is due to be played in The West End on the first weekend on March. His last show is on the first day of C2C festival.
“Me and Lizzy are the most unnatural actors, they edited it very careful, she stated with a laugh, because we are very unnatural,” she explains.
“I get very uncomfortable if I am told to do something I can’t do it in a natural way I am not as comfortable as I am with a microphone and as I am on stage. We will see, we might develop a like for it later on, but for now we are going to stick with the singing.”
The current album saw the pair spending two years recording in Nashville with names like Bobby Blazier and Chris Rodriquez, so what did it all bring to finished product, the album, which was released last month?
“We are planning on recording more and more. We had twenty songs that we had to pick from and we picked twelve.
“It is an album that we have taken such a long time over so we can’t wait for it to be out here in Ireland. We have been writing a lot of new stuff as well and when we play Whelan’s we will be playing the album as well as the new songs too, just to see how they come out which is really cool because you get to see what goes down well.
“It’s a great way to go it as we didn’t get to do it with the first album as we were writing and recording the songs so quickly.
Ward Thomas play Whelans, this weekend, Sunday, March 22nd.