Cambridge prepares to welcome back Ward Thomas
Regularly played on BBC Radio 2, and previous visitors to Nashville, the home of country music, on writing and performing trips, pop country duo Cathy and Lizzy Ward Thomas, 24, will be appearing in the city for the third time in three years.
The duo, who released their third album, Restless Minds, on Friday, February 1, performed at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2017 and then played City Roots last year.
Lyrically, the Hampshire-born twins have tackled issues close to their hearts on the new record, including personal observations on social media and mental health.
The girls also address fakeness on their recent single, No Filter, which is a titular nod to one of Instagram’s most popular, and often misused, hashtags.
Indeed, social media has been at the forefront of Catherine and Lizzy’s minds of late as their new year’s resolution was to take time away from social media every Sunday – under the hashtag #NoScrollSunday – and the pair are encouraging their fans to do the same.
“After experiencing our own levels of anxiety through our constant use of social media and the addiction to scrolling, we drew on these feelings in some of our new songs,” says Catherine, the dark-haired sister, “and consequently feel that it is important to practise what we preach.”
Unsurprisingly, with Restless Minds the duo feel under a little bit of pressure to replicate the amazing success of their previous effort Cartwheels, which got to number one on the UK album charts.
“There’s definitely higher expectations this time round,” admits Lizzy, “but it’s a good thing that we had a lot of time to work on this next record.
“On every album, we always want to show a progression and a development. Cartwheels is always going to be there, and we just want to show people where we are on our next chapter.
"We hope that it will rise to the expectations, but it’s definitely nerve-racking.”
Catherine says: “We worked with a lot more people in the songwriting world for this album, and production as well, and we’ve learnt a lot from them.
"We’ve written with pop songwriters we know really well, like Jess [Sharman] and Rebekah [Powell], and we’ve formed a whole load of new relationships.”
She adds: “Some of the songs are quite different to each other -– some of them we wrote within the space of a year from each other – and we were just excited to experiment and be open-minded in the studio and let each song speak for itself.
"We want this album to be a whole mixture of things, and a whole mixture of things to other people.”
The LP was produced by Joe Rubel, who has previously worked with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Tom Grennan.
Lizzy says: “The whole album is about being in your mid-20s and feeling slightly anxious, but also positive as well.
"There are a lot of positive messages on this album, about how we’re all in this together and how there’s a light at the end of the tunnel - and how we’re all looking for the same thing at the end of the day.
"That’s why it’s called Restless Minds, because it’s just a whole mixture of different messages.”
Lizzy concludes: “I wouldn’t call Restless Minds a country album, I would call it ‘influenced by country’.
"I think both of us are so excited and happy to still be in the whole movement of the country world, and always will be, but we’ll never define ourselves as one thing.”
Ward Thomas will be performing at J1 at The Junction this Friday (March 1)
Box office: 01223 511511 or junction.co.uk.