WARD THOMAS BRING A LITTLE BIT OF NASHVILLE TO THE SOUTH COAST
Friday night saw Ward Thomas take over the Pyramids on Southsea seafront as part of their Cartwheels Tour.
It was as teens growing up in Hampshire that the siblings Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas discovered the likes of Carrie Underwood, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss. Since the release of their debut album From Where We Stand, the pair have established themselves as Britains leading country music act.
Support on the night came from Wildwood Kin. Like Ward Thomas, Wildwood Kin are a bit of a family affair as they consist of sisters, Beth and Emillie Key and their cousin Meghann Loney. The trio are no strangers to a venue the size of the Pyramids as they have previously supported Seth Lakeman and played numerous festivals including Glastonbury and Cambridge Folk Festival.
Wildwood Kin treated the enthusiastic crowd to a selection of tracks including ‘Salt of the Earth’ which is taken from the EP of the same name.
As 9pm approached, the venue was packed and the crowd were eagerly awaiting the main attraction of the night. Just before that though, I noticed a man sat down to the side of the stage with his sketch book out. After introducing myself, Jonathan confirmed that he was sketching the performance and showed me what he’d been working on previously. He seemed a little embarrassed that someone was taking an interest in his work. He is clearly a very modest person who doesn’t give himself anywhere near the credit he deserves and it is a real shame that he doesn’t share his work online!
As the time came for the band to take to the stage the whole venue was plunged into darkness. The girls entered from either side of the stage and went straight into ‘Dirt and Gold,’ this was followed by their most recent single ‘Boomerang.’ About half way into the set they treated the crowd to a new track which was titled ‘Breathe In’ and after that came the title track of their second album ‘Cartwheels.’
Back in March, the girls released A Shorter Story, the EP features five tracks which are covers of the girl’s favourite pop songs reworked with a country music twist. I would have loved to have heard their rendition of Damien Rice’s ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ but instead they opted for ‘Shine’ which is a cover of the track originally recorded by Years and Years.
As the set went on you could feel the crowd getting more and more into it. Where I was stood, the initial swaying and head bobbing had developed into full on dancing and singing along. Ward Thomas finished the set on a high note with ‘Carry You Home‘ before going full Nashville in their encore with the first single from their debut album ‘Push for the Stride.’