The Shires


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The debut album from English Americophiles Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, Brave offers up a Thames-based take on American country-pop. The duo's roll call of influences includes Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Faith Hill, and Alison Krauss, so it should come as no surprise that the Shires lean more toward the Lady Antebellum side of the U.K. country spectrum -- outside of the folksy "Made in England," one would be hard pressed to believe that Earle and Rhodes were from the counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, respectively, and not somewhere outside of Nashville. Sleek, sweet, and radio-ready, standout cuts like "Tonight," "Nashville Grey Skies," and the soulful title track would fit in nicely on a playlist stocked with Taylor Swift, Little Big Town, and Florida County Line.

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