The Good, The Bad and The Ugley – Ward Thomas – Album review
by Hannah Compton
The Good (and The Right), The Bad and The Ugley
Not a fan of Country Music? The mere mention of Country music makes you think of Rhinestones, Yee Ha’s and Cotton Eye Joe like I have people say to me? Well Let UK duo Ward Thomas be the band to change your mind. They are not your typical Country act who sing about Trucks, Dirt Roads and heartache, nor do they have that Southern US accent that some would say Country music should have, but Country fans don’t let that put you off and non Country fans make it the reason to give them a listen.
Being in The Country Music Scene, I had heard the name Ward Thomas from many people, especially after The UK’s C2C Country 2 Country Music Festival in March 2014. I was a little bit, lets say reluctant to give them ago as was a bit ignorant and did not believe the UK would produce as good Country Music as the US.
After becoming a fast and big fan of UK Country Artists The Shires and reading a lot of tweets from them about how good Ward Thomas were, I decided to give them a go. I was surprised to discover that Ward Thomas were such a young duo at 19/20 years old and (Catherine and Lizzy) and that Ward Thomas was their surname. I loved reading stories about how they got in to Country Music and how people were confused to why they wanted to make country music in a Country where that particular Genre is pretty much laughed at by those who don’t listen to it.
I watched a few You Tube Videos and lets just say I was pleasantly surprised and literally that night I purchased their debut album From Where We Stand .
Ward Thomas bring a whole new sound to the Country Genre which is both unique and exciting. With many catchy tracks the album also hosts a few ballads, a folk song and a little bit of Gospel.
Not having any experience in writing album reviews, I have decided to try it from a fans perspective, a non professionals viewpoint. This may be a bit too detailed or perhaps not detailed enough but I have decided to lay it out in different sections playing on the album track titles. The album is titled From Where We Stand and is available in stores now
Push For The Stride
Way Back When
The Good and The Right
From Where I Stand
Take That Train
A Town Called Ugley
Lets start with……….
The Good (& The Right)- My Favourite tracks in order
Take That Train
Easily my favourite from the album. This song tells such a good story and is a true experience that Lizzy had. The song tells a story of when a woman sat next to Lizzy on a train and decided to basically tell her, her life story. I have since heard Lizzy say she was so fascinated by this story that she wrote it all down, told Catherine and they wrote the song. This song shows just how clever Ward Thomas are lyrically and musically. The Chorus is addictive and the vocals are very strong and blend well together and being sisters and twins isn’t why, they just both have great and different voices.
From Where I Stand
I love this song for so many reasons. Its a slower, I guess you would say Ballad. I believe it is about their parents separation from a childs perspective, I could be wrong. It is a very mature written track and is one of those songs that you just cannot help but sing along and feel every word to it.
Weirdly this song spoke volumes to me as told the story of how I was feeling at that point about someone. I don’t know who this song is about but its as if it was written for me and is a song I wish I had written. As a what they say a B Track song, it is underrated and deserves a lot more credit. I find myself singing this the most out and about without realising. Its worth a listen and is not a song on the album that you skip to get to the singles.
The song that I love to sing the harmonies to when listening to it. Its almost automatic to do it, such a good song vocally and anyone who loves to sing would know where to harmonise instantly. This is another slower song from the album and would love to hear/see it live one day.
A Ballad with a little bit of Gospel. I guess you would say this is a song about growing up and how when you were a child nothing really bothered you as you did not necessarily worry about the future and as you get older you are more aware of what you should do and how you should try to leave certain things/experiences in the past and to take a step forward. To take step, to never look back…
A Town Called Ugley – more description below
Originally by Dougie MacLean, this is such a beautiful cover of a beautiful Folk song. This song really shows off Ward Thomas’ vocal ability and a song I believe they could have written had it not already existed.
This is more of a Folk/Country song in my eyes, or ears in reality. I love the Melody to this song so much especially the intro. Again, this song has perfect harmonies.
Push For The Stride
Kicks the album off with an exciting intro which instantly makes you realise this song is going to be good. It has everything you would expect from a Top US Country Artist let alone a UK Country Artist. Its fun, upbeat and very catchy in a good way.
The Good and The Right
Another track that was a single and another catchy tune, I think my favourite part of the lyrics is when they sing about how they are pretty much fed up with the music that is aired on radio these days and how the lyrics have no real meaning and there is more to a song than just a rhyme and there is so much more to give in a song, a message that inspires. The harmonies in this song are incredible and I strain my voice every time I try to sing it.
Way Back When
Another catchy song and their current single singing about times way back when we had no mobile phones, big hair and flared jeans and keeping our history alive and making history of our own. This is a fun song with a good feel to it.
Guest List – My least favourite on the album but a good song still. I have written more about this below.
On every album there is usually one bad song, one filler. For me, when I first heard this album it was the song Guest List. It was the only song I would skip (sorry girls) and then I heard it live and my mind was changed. At first I just did not think it fit on the album and I think I loved the other tracks so much more that I just wasn’t keen. However as I said, since hearing it live my mind is changed and the song goes up to the Good with the rest of the album. There really is no bad song, no filler on this album. I have said in a previous blog that the maturity of this album and how well it is written, you would not believe would be written by such young artists. You would assume at the very least these songs were Co Written but they aren’t and I guess I should have more faith in the youth of today, I mean look at Taylor Swift. I have been a fan of hers since she started and even today she still blows my mind with her writing talents at such a young age and I don’t think many people realise nor appreciate the talent of young artists these days as so many in the charts do not write their own music.
The only other thing I would put in this section and I don’t even necessarily dislike it and certainly is not bad but I would love to hear the Track Try without the gospel choir, I do love the track with it but am keen to hear a different version, perhaps the original version. Its not so much the Choir but the backing vocals on the lyric Come and ease my way, I think it would be better without it.
A Town Called Ugley – A song about Ward Thomas getting lost in a small Village in Essex called, of course, Ugley. When Ward Thomas talk about this song they tell you how in Ugley they drove past places such as The Ugley Women’s institute. According to my research, Ugley happens to be one of the most expensive villages to live in the UK or Essex? not sure which.
This song is really well written and so much fun. Showing you should not always rely on Satellite Navigation and the places it takes you to in a completely different direction or just going round and round till you end up back where you started and we have all been there or ended up in a field in the middle of nowhere. I often sing along to this song full blast in my car and always get caught at the Traffic lights by people as I really get into it.
This song is the last track on the album and I think its the perfect ending to a fantastic album as leaves you feeling good and for me, waiting for the album to automatically start again.
All in all I recommend this album to anyone who loves music. You do not need to be a Country fan. If you appreciate well written, well sung songs then this is a must have. I have posted links to a few of their tracks below but you can also purchase From Where We Stand in most stores or of course download on ITunes or Amazon.
Ward Thomas are also going on Tour in March in 2015 and I have posted a link to the dates below. They are excellent live and tickets are only around £11.
December 2nd 2014