They’re the queens of UK nation music, twin sisters whose “rams to riches” rise from a Hampshire farm to the chart-topping cream of the crop has been powered by these three key staples of success – expertise, laborious work and synchronicity.
The duo’s huge break got here at sixth-form faculty. “Our singing trainer liked our harmonies, she thought they have been country-sounding,” Lizzy Ward-Thomas tells me. “She’d been a session singer in Nashville for eight years, and requested if she may ship our track Footnotes to her contacts there.
“The subsequent factor we knew we have been on the aircraft flying to Tennessee.
“We have been seventeen…”
Now 28, Lizzy remembers “We thought Nashville could be a dust observe, but it surely’s a really cosmopolitan metropolis. We love the vibe. Everybody you meet – your waitress, the individual on the grocery store check-out – might be a greater guitarist or singer than you’re.”
Lizzy and her sister Catherine prospered even among the many stiff competitors. Right this moment, America’s Music Metropolis is a second dwelling for the ladies, who grew up on a farm close to Petersfield, East Hampshire. They recorded their debut album, From The place We Stand, of their A-level 12 months.
Independently launched in 2014, it shot to the highest of the UK nation charts.
Main labels sat up and took discover. Sony signed them and their 2016 album Cartwheels made the duo the primary British nation act to attain a UK Quantity One.
“That’s after I actually pinched myself,” says Lizzy. “That and ending up on the Hyde Park line-up with James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and Paul Simon in 2018. All heroes of ours.”
The women received the decision when James Blunt wished to do a country-flavoured duet on his 2019 track Midway.
“We thought it was a wind-up,” laughs Lizzy. “We couldn’t imagine he’d considered us, and even heard of us.”
James invited them to help him on his enviornment tour. “We have been accompanying ourselves, with out our band, on our first enviornment present. It felt very totally different.”
To place them comfortable, James, in his inimitable means, instructed them straight-faced, “Hear women, don’t **** this up.”
Little appears to part the sisters, however then music is of their blood.
“Our mother and father have been in a band collectively once we have been rising up and our entire upbringing was full of the music they liked – 60s and 70s rock, the Beatles, the Kinks, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac.”
“We have been all the time singing collectively and harmonising. Then our cousin from Canada launched us to nation music legends like Johnny Money, Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert and the [Dixie] Chicks.”
“We completely liked Taylor Swift.”
Their father Anthony – the founding father of the elimination agency Anthony Ward Thomas Removals – accompanied them on that first journey to Nashville.
“Dad’s a music nerd,” Lizzy laughs. “He was speaking to the musicians about artists and albums they liked, he knew everybody who’d performed on them. He was in his factor.”
“My mum was actually musical too. She suggested us to not become involved in politics or faith, or to swear in interviews…however generally that goes out the window.”
At Alton Convent Faculty the loyal sisters have been nicknamed Scruff 1 and Scruff 2.
Catherine calls them “the trumpet and the French horn” saying Lizzy’s voice is “belting, trumpet-like”, whereas hers is decrease however they complement one another.
Born by IVF, they’re not similar however do share their mother and father’ work ethic.
Their UK tour runs from March 30 to April 18, regardless of Catherine being closely pregnant.
“We’ve all the time had huge personalities,” says Lizzy. “We’re very totally different as folks however we’ve all the time caught up for one another.”
Even now Catherine, although very caring, is totally unconcerned about little issues like time administration.
“She’s scatty,” Lizzy reveals. “If we’re going overseas, she all the time forgets to carry her passport. Me or her husband Rob should take it for her.”
It took all of Catherine’s bridesmaids to get her to the church on time final Could.
Lizzy’s largest fault is “over-worrying” she admits, and being “over-emotional – I’ll burst into tears at a TikTok reel. And I’m a loud crier. When Dobby died within the Harry Potter movie I used to be howling. Individuals have been trying round considering ‘is that this for actual or is it a micky-take?’.”
They performed Glastonbury final 12 months and returned to the London leg of the C2C pageant this weekend.
They’ve already began writing their sixth album.
Each are remarkably freed from ego and controversy. Odd tour tales embody having a baguette thrown at them on stage.
“A plain baguette, not even a sandwich,” says Lizzy feigning indignation. “I caught it and threw it proper again.”
When David Grey invited them to sing backing vocals with him at Bluesfest “we’d had no soundcheck, and our voices have been so loud in his ears you possibly can see him wince”.
Their Sony contract ended after their poppier third album, 2019’s Stressed Minds, a prime ten hit.
Their 2020 follow-up, Invitation noticed them return to nation vibes. It was written and recorded on the household farm throughout lockdown “in our pyjamas with a continuing stream of chickens wandering by way of the kitchen”.
They went again to Nashville to jot down their fifth album, Music In The Insanity – simply launched on East West label through Warner and already critically acclaimed.
Produced by long-time affiliate Ed Harcourt and recorded with the duo’s dwell band, the stand-out tracks peak with the heart-warming, harmony-infused Love Grows.
Justice And Mercy, impressed by true crime podcasts, is a catchy however creepy track a couple of psychopath “partly based mostly on Putin”, reveals Lizzy.
The uplifting title observe, impressed by the Ukrainian resistance, is about discovering hope amid life’s downpour.
“In Ukraine specifically we witnessed these great, transferring moments of music within the insanity,” says Catherine.
“Troopers singing the nationwide anthem and getting married on the entrance line, the viral video of the lady in a bomb shelter singing Let It Go…
“In instances of disaster, music issues much more. That’s what we got down to have a good time.”
*Music In The Insanity by Ward Thomas is out now. For tour dates see wardthomasmusic.co.uk