Catherine Ward Thomas, of the chart-topping country duo, talks about recording in lockdown, and life with twin sister and bandmate Lizzy.
Ward Thomas’ new album, Invitation, is out now.
What changed in your process while recording during lockdown?
Lizzy and I had never recorded at home, so this forced us to be more productive and learn new skills. We were living in a rural cottage, so we recorded from there. We are rural country girls, so this took us back to our roots and influenced the sound.
Will you do more recording from home in the future?
Yes, we vocally produced each other and we got the best vocals we have ever managed. Lizzy has just bought a place down the road and I’m in the process of buying a place, where we will build a little studio to record from.
Is it strange no longer living together?
It is, and it’s a very new situation. I think in order to stay close as sisters, we need our own space and lives, so it’s a positive change. It’ll force us to be more organised and make plans, rather than just roll out of bed and ask each other what we’re doing today.
You were the first British country band to have a No 1 album. Did it come as a surprise?
It was something we never dreamed would happen. We were hoping Cartwheels would make it into the top 40, so it was an insane week.
You’ve had to twice cancel an acoustic tour due to the pandemic. Do you worry about when you’ll be able to perform live again?
We’re lucky we can rely on streaming and downloads, but a lot of our band and crew rely on the live music circuit to make a living and they haven’t worked since February. We hope to still be able to do the acoustic tour in April.
What was it like touring with James Blunt and Jack Savoretti?
James was looking for a country act to sing on Halfway, and we got the call. Then we were asked to support him on tour and sing the track with him at the shows. It was just the two of us, playing guitar and piano, which we’re not accustomed to as we usually have a band behind us, but it was a good test.
With Jack, we were already on tour with him and, after three nights, he sent us a message and asked us to do a song with him. We only practised it together once but it just clicked and he asked us back for his Wembley Arena gig.
How does it feel being asked to sing with people of their calibre?
While we’ve been moving house and packing up boxes, we’ve been looking at all the photographs of those tours, and the No 1 album trophy, and realising what special memories we’ve managed to make.
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