Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

When I heard that a British country duo was supporting Cassadee Pope at her showcase in May I was dubious, as UK country artists are usually unimpressive. However, I was surprised to find myself enjoying The Shires and their beautiful harmonies. They are Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, named after the fact that they are both from counties ending in “shire” (Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire). They’ve also convinced the real judges of country music that they know what they’re doing, as they’ve signed a deal with Universal Music Group Nashville, the first ever UK act to do so. I liked debut single Nashville Grey Skies, but the new release, Tonight, is even better. You soon forget the “can Brits do country?” quandary as this simple, acoustic tune builds into a brilliantly written and performed, anthemic folk-pop song. They deserve much more recognition, and with the support of Decca, I think they have a good chance of achieving a top ten hit with their album, out in October.