Life has been a whirlwind lately for Catherine and Lizzy, the twin sisters who make up the fast-rising country duo Ward Thomas.
The 20-year-olds’ debut album, From Where I Stand has been well received, with the sisters racking up numerous appearances on national TV and radio, including with Simon Mayo at the Edinburgh Fringe, and a session for Sir Terry Wogan at Radio 2’s Hyde Park show.
They have also recently toured the American South.
But this weekend they’re a bit closer to home when they play at the weekend-long Grow! Cook! Eat! festival at West Dean, near Chichester.
The Guide caught up with Lizzy, the younger of the pair by two minutes, at their home near Petersfield: ‘It’s really been busy, but it’s been amazing – a lot of fun.’
And describing their first live TV appearance, on the BBC Breakfast sofa with Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty, she says: ‘It’s been so surreal. That was really scary because that was the first live TV we ever did but they were so welcoming and relaxed us very quickly.
‘It’s been a massive learning curve. Catherine and I, we’ve been put into the deep end with the TV stuff, but I think that’s the best way to do it, because you learn quicker.’
And while playing country music in America might smack a bit of taking coals to Newcastle, the sisters have been taken to their hearts: ‘We went all around the southern states. And we went to Muscle Shoals studios where we got shown around and I got to sit down at the piano where Aretha Franklin and Etta James played – you could still feel the vibes. We were very, very lucky.
‘It was a bit strange though, because when we sing we sound quite American on some of our songs. Nashville is becoming more cultured, but we got a lot of: “Oh my God, are you from Australia?” Especially in Alabama, people looked at us like we were aliens, but we enjoyed it so much.’
They play at midday and 3.15pm tomorrow and at 11am on Sunday. Other acts appearing include Chichester’s own Smoke Fairies and recent Radio 2 Folk Award winners Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, both on Sunday. Tickets cost £10.70 per day for adults, £1 for children. Go to westdean.org.uk