About Ward Thomas with support Charlie Worsham

Running time  8pm: Charlie Worsham. 8:30pm: Interval. 9pm: Ward Thomas. 11pm: Event end

Trust Ward Thomas to look for light in troubled times. Music In The Madness, the twins’ remarkable fifth album, is both a harmony-soaked balm for shattered souls and an uplifting reminder of what really matters.

Love, family, unity and the healing power of music are recurrent themes on an album begun as war broke out in Ukraine and the world went into a post-Covid tailspin. While most of us struggled to sit through the news, Catherine and Lizzy did as they have for a decade – wrote songs to make sense of what they were seeing.

“In Ukraine in particular we witnessed these wonderful, moving moments of music in the madness,” says Catherine. “Soldiers singing the national anthem and getting married on the front line. The viral video of the girl in a bomb shelter singing Let It Go. In times of crisis, music matters even more. That’s what we set out to celebrate.”

A trip to Nashville in February – the Hampshire sisters’ second home since they recorded their debut in the city while still at school – nailed the spirit of the album. The first song written was the joyous title track, an Abba-meets-Americana ode to hope.

“It’s not about looking on the bright side,” says Lizzy. “It’s about finding the bright side which is already there, however hard it is sometimes to see.

“We’ve written in the past about the downside of social media. Now we’re seeing it as a force for good. It’s been a conduit for bringing people together, for sharing stories, songs and hope in the scariest of situations.”

Also begun on that Nashville trip was the mighty Justice and Mercy, the album’s first release before the title track drops as the official lead single in January. Unusually for Ward Thomas, the creepy country corker is a fictional tale, inspired by the pair’s shared love of true crime podcasts.

“It’s a fun story song about a wrong ’un who ruins lives on his travels and meets a sticky end,” says Lizzy. “I imagine it set in the ‘20s Western States, although we part based the psychopath on Putin.”

“There are two outcomes when you listen to true crime - one merciful, one justice-driven. Either the perpetrator has to die or his soul can be saved. There were some deep, bleak, religious discussions in that writing session. If one of us was murdered, would the other be team justice or team mercy?”

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