In April, twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy, aka Ward Thomas, will embark on their biggest tour yet. To be playing venues like London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Leicester’s very own De Montfort Hall at the age of 22 is quite an achievement. We caught up with the duo to discuss influences, and the popularity of country music.
“This tour is going to be the next step for our live performances” – a bold statement. Ward Thomas’ blend of pop and country seems to be a winner for their audience, which is made up of all ages. For me, country music has never been that attractive, but in recent years bands like First Aid Kit have changed a lot of people’s opinion. “We’ve both been so pleasantly surprised by how much country music has grown over here in the UK.”
Besides the obvious influences for the band – Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks, Fleetwood Mac, etc. – there are many more abstract ones. “Lizzy is a big Christina Aguilera fan, and we love James Arthur’s album at the moment.” Country music is on a slow road to dominating more of today’s popular music. There was Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus for a while (or at least before their ascent to pop stardom) but they lay the groundwork for an explosion in the genre. “I think that modern country has become more relatable for a wider audience globally. We’re very privileged.” Cartwheels, the Hampshire-duo’s second album, beat Jamie T’s Trick to the Number 1 spot in the charts. “We were at home when we found out. There was a lot of screaming and jumping around, and we celebrated with a little party of friends. So nothing very outrageous, but it was a really, really special day.”
In recent years, Leicester’s residents have become particularly proud of their hometown, but even before the discovery of that guy in the car park, De Montfort Hall had always been one of the city’s treasured gems. “Leicester was one of our favourite places to perform on our last tours, so we’re looking forward to coming back!” explain the duo. For a band that only started to gain attention in 2014, headlining such a cherished venue is huge. Especially seeing as the last time they played Leicester they were supporting The Webb Sisters at The Musician.
“We are really looking forward to playing the album out again, but this time we want to step the live set up a notch musically and visually. There will still be the odd old song and we may slip in the odd cover too!” For all the day one Ward Thomas fans out there, this tour is going to be special. Maybe we’ll even get to hear a Christina Aguilera cover? I save the best question until last for Catherine and Lizzy. I mean, if you’re gonna name an album Cartwheels, surely they can do one, right? “Yes we can… however, we are both incredibly clumsy so if we did it on stage with our heels on, we’d probably break a leg… literally.” Probably not the best idea then.
Catch Ward Thomas at De Montfort Hall on May 9th.