Ward Thomas could tell that change was afoot from the moment they wrote Cartwheels, now the punch-to-the-stomach title track of their sensational second album. Straight away, Catherine and Lizzy knew the song was special. Whenever they performed it live, they felt an intense connection to the crowd. The song tells the sad tale of someone who refuses to accept that a relationship is over, who longs to be noticed, but is only ignored, who “bends so we won’t break”. It’s both heartbreakingly sad and sonically beautiful, a gut-wrenching tear-jerker whose stripped-back sound leaves nowhere to hide.
Cartwheels was written two years ago, at a session in Nashville during the campaign for 2014’s ‘From Where We Stand’, the duo’s unexpectedly successful debut album. The remainder of the new album, which shares a name with the track, was written and recorded in London, produced largely by Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, Shawn Mendes), and partly by Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, Sia). Cartwheels wasn’t just the first track in the bag, it inspired what was to follow.
“It established our new sound,” says Lizzy. “Lyrically, it was much more grown-up than anything on our debut. Sonically, it was a move away from country to lots of other influences we grew up with – Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, KT Tunstall, Taylor Swift’s Red album. We’re still influenced by country, we still adore the Dixie Chicks and Kacey Musgraves, but this isn’t just a country album.” The album contains a cartwheel of emotions and each song suggested its own sound.
Ward Thomas haven’t just developed as a duo, but as individual singers and musicians too. “We have different voices that suit different sorts of songs,” says Catherine. “We call Lizzy the trumpet and me the French horn.” Producer Martin Terefe was chosen for his work with KT Tunstall amongst others, although only in the studio did the sisters discover that he had co-written Other Side Of The World, the first song they performed together in public as kids. Terefe helped them find the sound that suited each song. The sessions were completed with Jimmy Hogarth, who recorded several of the songs straight to tape, with live band and vocals.
Carry You Home
Good On You
When It's Not Me
Dirt And Gold
Where The Sky Is
Who I'm Not
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