Chart-topping British country duo Ward Thomas make a welcome return to the North East for an exclusive show at the Sage Gateshead.
Ward Thomas has been garnering critical acclaim both at home as well as in the US with many regarding the group as ‘Britain’s first country stars’. Following on from their BCMA award-winning debut album this incredibly talented home-grown duo went out to Nashville to record the follow-up album as part of a joint deal with Sony Music. The pair broke new ground last year by becoming the first British country act to top the UK album chart with their sophomore record Cartwheels.
In recent years Ward Thomas have become regular visitors to Tyneside having been championed by the SummerTyne Americana Festival since their debut at the event back in 2015. Tonight’s eagerly anticipated concert in the North East is one of only two UK shows during their Christmas run and the group’s second appearance at the Sage Gateshead inside of twelve months.
As the house lights dim twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas emerge onstage in front of a four-piece band and set the tone for the evening ahead with a beautiful festive rendition of “In The Bleak Midwinter”.
With Cartwheels the duo’s sound has matured somewhat since the release of their pop-tinged debut album From Where We Stand. Subsequently, it seems that the band choose to concentrate on their latest offering during tonight’s concert.
Over the course of their hour-long performance, Ward Thomas deliver the lion’s share of the Cartwheels record with eight tracks from the album featuring in the show. The likes of the incredibly infectious “Guilty Flowers” and the deeply heartfelt title track itself really stand out in the set.
As a special treat to their loyal fans, Ward Thomas takes the opportunity to road test several brand new tracks. These songs are so fresh that Catherine and Lizzy kindly ask the audience to refrain from recording the numbers in order to prevent them being leaked online.
The duo showcase four of their newest compositions throughout the set including “Same Love”, “One More Goodbye”, “It’s Not Just Me” and “Our Own Song”. The latter of which was written alongside US country star Sarah Darling during a recent trip to Nashville. Judging by the strength of these numbers alone the group’s future release will certainly be one to watch out for.
All night long Ward Thomas simply dazzles the Sage Gateshead with their sublime vocal harmonies. Song after song is greeted with rapturous applause. Throughout an up-tempo rendition of “I Believe In You” the crowd gets involved with some rather competitive call and response.
With huge numbers like “Lose Me” and the group’s anthemic set closer “Carry Me Home” it is easy to understand why many regard Ward Thomas as one of the finest contemporary country acts to emerge from the UK in recent times.
Following a brief interlude, Catherine and Lizzy return to the stage and are accompanied only on keys as they harmoniously deliver a stunning cover of Joni Mitchell’s Christmas classic “River”. The track truly showcases the Ward Thomas sister’s stunning vocal range. The pair exit the stage to a duly deserved ovation from the Gateshead faithful.
Ward Thomas continues to fly the flag high for British country music; a bright future beckons for Hampshire’s finest country duo.
Event Date: 07-Dec-2017