Album Reviews

The Shires – Green Note EP Review

UK Country stars The Shires – release long awaited first EP


During the excitement of the announcement of The Homegrown tour and securing tickets to their Bristol show and Milk N Beans (Milton Keynes) show, it was also announced that The Shires were releasing a Live 5 track EP. This was great news for all of The Shires fans as their Album BRAVE was sadly pushed back for release in January 2015 rather than October 2014, as was originally stated. An EP though is a great warm up to an album release, especially a live one, as lets face it, The Shires never disappoint when performing live – so it was a happy substitute until the album release.

So I shall kick start this with my views, reviews and all that of The Shires recently released EP with the name THE GREEN NOTE EP, recorded at, wait for it….. The Green Note, London.

This 5 track lil beaut starts with:

Track One : State LinesWritten by Ben Earle and Tobias Lundgren (not sure if related to Dolph)

Anyone who has seen The Shires live will be familiar with this song. A song that compares the little bits you love about someone to the States of America. Forexample: 

You’ve got a crazy sense of humour, dry as the sands in Arizona, you know you do


Like when you roll your eyes like a cool New Yorker driving across the Mason Dixon Line, I’ve gotta smile.

This song starts with Ben on the piano and Crissie sings the first verse and Ben the second. The live version is purely vocals, piano and a bit of percussion. I don’t think there are any other instruments but correct me if I am wrong. Lyrically, this is a very clever song and I really love how well they used and chose certain States of America against the personal traits of a person.

Track Two: Nashville Grey Skies – Written by Ben Earle

This track, of course, is the first single released by The Shires and I would have been disappointed if it was not on the EP. I think this will probably always be my favourite song of theirs, as its the first song I heard and what started my passion for their music. It basically inspired me to write reviews, put the word out about them and just in general be a massive fan.

This song just means so much to a lot of UK Country fans as the lyrics speak volumes for what any UK Country Music fan is thinking and wishing for. Whavebuilt our own Nashville now, I think, and it will only get bigger as time goes on.

The live version of the song does not take anything away from what a great song this is, not that it would. I personally fell in love with this song just hearing the intro before any vocals even started and I love that it was kept the same for the live version. There is just something about it that makes you happy and wanting to stand up and dance and sing along. I have mentioned before in previous blogs that having them start the song singing together (I know there is a musical term for it but have forgotten what it is, it’s 8.30 on a Sunday night, brain has fried and The X Factor is distracting me and no, not in a good way) anyway singing together, introducing their voices (in Unison?) was perfection and, in my view, made the song what it is.

I have to thank Ben for writing this, as he really has changed the view point of UK Country Music for me and many others  that it can be great, just as great as US Artists. This song is genius and – as a huge music lover – not in just country but other genres, too – I really would put this song up there with my favourite songs of all time. If a song could change your life in a good way and you still go on about it for a long time after, then you knows its a goodun and a keeper.

Track 3: Black and White – Written by Ben Earle and Twinnie Lee Moore

Another favourite of the fans and often played at shows. I really love this song, too and am glad it made the EP. Anyone who has been in love will relate to the lyrics and its that moment in the show when you do look at your loved one in a cheesy, loving way – but the song itself is no way cheesy. 

This song is another balladish’ one, although I would also say it isn’t, as I feel it’s also upbeat in a way. This song has a beautiful melody and also has a great build up in the bridge. Again the vocals on this song are so powerful and flawless. I hope it makes it on the album. 

Track 4: Place Your Hands (Cover) – Written by: Gary Paul Stringer (Reef)

When I first saw the track listing I thought – ooh is this the Reef song? – and it was. Now I have seen Reef live many times and sung along to this song every time and danced like a maniac, only to realise……..I have been singing the lyrics WRONG, ha ha. Ben and Crissie sing the lyrics so clearly that I was like, oops, that’s embarrassing, all this time. In my defense, it was before the power of searching on Google for lyrics, so I do have an excuse – I do 😉. I laugh watching live shows when they do audience shots and they always zoom in on some idiot that clearly doesn’t know the words but mimes along to make it look like they do. Well….listening to this cover I realised I am indeed that person, that idiot, too. Ha, oh well, at least I had a good time whilst doing it, eh?

This is actually a really nice version and I like the build up to Put your hands on, put your hands on (previously sung by Hannah as Put your hands up, put your hands up and actually erm put her hands up whilst singing) 😦

I do find myself adding the ALRIGHT NOW as Reef do in their version and yes, I do do it in his voice 🙂

Track 5: Same: Written by Ben Earle, Crissie Rhodes, Emily Weisband (not wristband)

I think this song is possibly about Nashville or maybe the US in general and how, despite the bigger differences between the US and UK, certain things there are the same – like a laughter has no language, a smile is a smile and the way a boy looks at a girl. Its a really good upbeat song and I really enjoy it. I hope this song makes it on the album, as I would love to hear a studio version of it.

This EP is available for download here:

or here:

The Green Note EP (Live)

Download for just a crazy good £1.99 and is definitely worth getting. They had physical copies of the EP at their shows and being a CD collector I got three. The first lot were in card sleeves so I got two, one to have signed and one to have not signed. On the later shows I discovered there was a digipak version and that these were numbered, so of course I had to get one of those, too.


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