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The Shires interview: Ben and Crissie look back at 10 years together and plan to crack America

11 March 2022, 10:00

By Tom Eames

The Shires celebrate a big milestone in 2023, and their new album and tour will perfectly mark the occasion for the UK's leading country band.

The duo - consisting of longtime friends Crissie Roads and Ben Earle - release their brand new album 10 Year Plan today (March 11), ahead of their 10th anniversary next year.

Ben and Crissie caught up with Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly to chat about the new album, as well as their future plans now that they're able to go out and tour once more following a couple of difficult years for everyone.

Watch the full interview above.

Talking about working on the new album, Ben said: "It was all borne out of that kind of crazy two years. We released our last album like a week before lockdown, and… we used the pandemic time quite differently.

"I spent a lot of time songwriting. After I got over the initial shock and frustration – and also the home-schooling. I’ve got a five-year-old and a three-year-old, and I had to home-school them. So once I got through the shock of all that, I was like, 'We should’ve been on tour right now, and I’m actually doing home-school stuff.'

"But then I used a good eight, 10, 12 months just writing in my garden shed, in the garden. I’ve got a little studio setup here. I did a lot of Zoom writing, which was quite new, but interesting. That was one of the positive things, because you got to write with people from Nashville, from LA, and from the UK as well.

"And, yeah, pretty much all the songs [on the album], came out of the sort of pandemic time."

On the meaning of the album's title 10 Year Plan, Crissie said: "It sort of coincides with our 10-year anniversary, which is actually next year, and just looking back over the years that we’ve been together, celebrating all those years that we’ve been together, really."

The Shires
The Shires. Picture: Getty

The Shires also have big plans to fully crack the States now that they can go back out there. Crissie explained: "We’re in talks with the US label at the moment. So hopefully we’ll be able to get out there, and be able to spread our music out there.

"I mean, we’ve got five albums’ worth of material, so it’d be great to kind of go over there, and spread some UK country out there as well."

The Shires' new album 10 Year Plan is out now, and the duo will head out on a headline UK tour in April.