The Shires are a newish duo who sing and play Country music, though with more than a whiff of these islands about it. That’s natural as they come from England, though they are recording their debut album in Nashville.

Tonight they have the tough job of opening for the Striking Matches and battling a torrent of chatter from the bar area, which is becoming all too familiar at concerts these days. They came through both unscathed.

The plaintive Brave opens the set and what is obvious from the off is how relaxed they are and their natural rapport. Crissie Rhodes has a voice that is rich with those Southern USA tones at the same time possessing something of the home-counties that makes it that little more distinctive. Ben Earle, on guitar, is the perfect foil, his voice subtly enhancing the songs.

Quickly endearing themselves to the audience the getting-more-familiar-all-the-time single Nashville Grey Skies’ swaying grace deftly folded into a touching Made in England, then through a cover of Young Hearts Run Free, to close the set with Tonight. And that was pretty much it. A short set from, an undeniably charming duo, who also possess the musical chops to take them up a few more rungs of the ladder.