On BBC Four over C2C weekend, The Shires: New Country will examine the rise of The Shires, the first British country group to have a Top 10 album in the UK pop charts, and how they have spearheaded today’s interest in country music. The hour-long television documentary follows Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle as they launch their second album, My Universe, in the UK, as well as on a working trip to Nashville where they are signed by the leading country label in town Big Machine. The duo play the Bluebird, the intimate club where the performances from the TV series Nashville are filmed, and meet with Scott Borchetta, who discovered Taylor Swift and made the genre go pop. Interviews include Scott Borchetta, Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes of The Shires, sisters Catherine and Lizzy of Ward Thomas and Thomas Rhett, one of the rising stars of American country music, who mixes country with funk, pop and rock.
Ben and Crissie of The Shires says: “We’re so excited to be part of this documentary which explores the rise of country music in the UK – it’s a truly fascinating story. Plus it’s such a pleasure to have the opportunity to present our very own show on Radio 2 Country. We’ll be sharing our all-time favourite music with listeners, as well as playing tracks that have influenced our music and the artists we are today.”
Also on BBC Four, comedian and writer Rich Hall returns with a 90 minute documentary about the origins of country music, in particular the country music that came out of Nashville and Austin. In Rich Hall On Country (working title) Rich travels from Tennessee to Texas meeting up with authors and musicians, to discuss the birth and evolution of country music and how this genre of music has always had to reinvent itself, with influences from Bluegrass, Western Swing and Tex Mex .