A duo composed of twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas, they are known for their harmonies and contemporary country-pop sound. They have released four albums and became the first UK country act to top the UK Albums Chart with their second album Cartwheels. The band has been called “Britain’s first country stars”.
Country music is often associated with American culture, rural themes, and conservative values. However, Ward Thomas, a British country-pop duo composed of twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas from Hampshire, challenges these stereotypes by blending traditional and modern elements, by addressing diverse and relevant topics, and by representing a British perspective on the genre.
Ward Thomas’s early life and influences
Ward Thomas were born in 1994 as twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas. They grew up on a farm in rural Hampshire, England, where they developed a love for horses and music. They attended a local convent school, where they were nicknamed “Scruff 1” and “Scruff 2” for being messy and untidy. They started writing songs together while in the sixth form, bringing a uniquely British perspective to the country genre.
Their musical influences included the Dixie Chicks, who introduced them to country music when they were teenagers, as well as Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, and Kacey Musgraves. They also admired their father Anthony Ward-Thomas, who was a successful businessman, an amateur jockey and racehorse owner, and the eldest son of the novelist Evelyn Anthony. Their mother Amanda Ward Thomas was an artist who encouraged their creativity.
They got their break when one of their teachers, who had been a backup singer in Nashville, forwarded their demos to some contacts in the country music industry. They were invited to record their debut album in Nashville with the help of producer Bobby Blazier. They also met some of their idols, such as Vince Gill and Alison Krauss, who gave them advice and support.
They have said that growing up on a farm and being close to nature has influenced their songwriting and their appreciation for life. They have also said that being twins has given them a special bond and a natural harmony that comes across in their music.
Rise to fame and success
Ward Thomas’s debut album, From Where We Stand, was released in 2014 and received critical acclaim and commercial success. It won UK Album of the Year at the British Country Music Awards and sold over 25,000 copies. It peaked at number 41 on the UK Albums Chart, number 1 on the UK Country Chart, number 7 on the UK Indie Chart and number 36 in Scotland. The album showcased their distinctive style of country pop and Americana, and their beautiful close-harmony vocals.
Ward Thomas toured extensively to promote their album, performing at various venues and festivals across the UK. In 2014, they performed on the BBC Introducing stage at the BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park festival, returning to the festival in 2015 to perform on the main stage alongside The Shires. Their performance was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2. They also gained media attention and recognition for being Britain’s first country stars.
In 2016, Ward Thomas signed a joint venture with Sony Music and released their second album, Cartwheels, which became the first album by a UK country act to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart. The album demonstrated their growth and maturity as artists, and explored themes such as love, loss, and identity. It also blended traditional and modern elements of country music, and featured some influences from pop and rock. The album has since gone gold in the UK.
Ward Thomas released three singles from Cartwheels: “Carry You Home”, “Guilty Flowers”, and “Cartwheels”. All of them were added to the Radio 2 playlist and received positive reviews. “Carry You Home” was described by The Times as “chirpy country pop”, while “Cartwheels” was praised for its emotional depth and stunning vocals.
In 2021, Ward Thomas released their third album, Music In The Madness, which featured collaborations with other artists such as James Blunt and Jack Savoretti. The album captured their response to the challenges and changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and showcased their versatility and creativity. It also moved further away from traditional country music toward electro-pop-rock.
Ward Thomas have sold over 100,000 albums in the UK and have amassed a loyal fan base. They have also been praised for their unique and innovative approach to country music and its cultural implications. They have been nominated for several mainstream awards, including Best British Group at the Brit Awards in 2017.
Impact on British Country Music
Ward Thomas have been called “Britain’s first country stars” and have been praised for their unique and innovative approach to the genre. They have challenged the stereotypes and expectations of country music, which is often associated with American culture, rural themes, and conservative values. They have brought a fresh and modern perspective to country music, blending traditional and contemporary elements, addressing diverse and relevant topics, and representing a British voice on the genre.
Ward Thomas have also contributed to the growth and popularity of country music in the UK, which has reached its highest level in nine years. They have topped the UK Albums Chart, the UK Country Chart, and the UK Indie Chart with their albums, and have sold over 100,000 albums in the UK. They have also performed at various venues and festivals across the UK, including BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park and Country 2 Country. They have gained media attention and recognition for being Britain’s up-and-coming country music queens.
Ward Thomas have also inspired other artists and fans to embrace country music and its cultural implications. They have collaborated with other artists such as James Blunt and Jack Savoretti, who share their appreciation for country music. They have also influenced other British country acts such as The Shires, Catherine McGrath, and Twinnie. They have shown that country music can be diverse, creative, and meaningful.
Ward Thomas’s future plans and aspirations
Ward Thomas have expressed their excitement and optimism for their future plans and aspirations, both personally and professionally. They have said that they want to continue making music that resonates with their fans and themselves, and that they are open to exploring new genres and styles. They have also said that they want to collaborate with more artists from different backgrounds and influences, and that they are keen to expand their audience and reach new markets.
Ward Thomas have announced their upcoming tour in 2023, which will take them to various venues across the UK. They have said that they are looking forward to performing live again after the pandemic, and that they are eager to share their new music with their fans. They have also said that they hope to perform in other countries, especially in the US, where country music is more popular and established.
Ward Thomas have also revealed some of their personal goals and dreams, such as getting married, having children, travelling the world, and owning a farm. They have said that they value their family and friends, and that they want to balance their personal lives and professional careers. They have also said that they want to use their platform and influence to support causes that they care about, such as mental health, animal welfare, and environmental issues.
Ward Thomas have shown that they are ambitious and passionate about their music and their career, but also humble and grateful for their success and opportunities. They have said that they are proud of their achievements so far, but also aware of the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead. They have said that they are ready to face them with courage and optimism.
In this article, we have learned about Ward Thomas, the British country-pop duo who have made history as the first UK country act to top the UK Albums Chart. We have followed their life and career, from their childhood on a farm in Hampshire to their breakthrough in Nashville and their success and recognition in the UK. We have also discovered their musical style and influences, which combine traditional and contemporary elements of country music, and reflect their personal experiences and perspectives. We have also seen their impact and contribution to the British country music scene, which they have challenged and inspired with their unique and innovative approach. We have also found out their future plans and aspirations, which include touring, collaborating, and expanding their audience and reach.
“We’re finding that music in these moments of madness And seeing those joyful moments when things feel a bit rubbish We’re finding that music in these moments of madness And we’re singing it out loud”
Music In The Madness by Ward Thomas