TwoShine County makes country music their own way, and while that means not necessarily following the rules, it’s a sound that has quickly won over radio stations and fans alike.
The Calgary, Alberta-based duo consisting of singer/songwriters Daron Schofield and Dennis Hann burst onto the scene in 2014 with their first single “Make It With You,” followed a few months later by “Whole Lotta Love.” Both tracks just missed cracking Billboard’s Top 50 Canadian Country chart, an impressive feat for a completely independent, unsigned act.
TwoShine County is poised to build on that success with its latest single, “Love This Song,” which once again showcases Schofield and Hann’s natural vocal harmony and high-powered guitar riffs. The foundation of it all is an uplifting, positive attitude that has made the pair irresistible. That approach partly stems from the fact that, while each grew up listening to country, they also gravitated toward other genres that have helped create their distinct style, along with the basis of their musical partnership.
“I was actually just a kid in what you could call a local school of rock when I first met Daron,” Hann says. “He was looking for young players to back up an artist he was working with, and I was recommended. We were involved with that project for a couple of years and we stayed in touch for a long time after that.” Hann formed a band with other musicians and enlisted Schofield’s production skills resulting in their debut single becoming a regional hit, though that project eventually ran its course. Hann felt the pull to return to his roots in country music. “Daron was my first call to help me get started,” he says. “We wrote two songs together in the first couple of days that had these great harmony parts, and the more we kept working, the more it seemed to make sense to form a duo. TwoShine County was born in that moment.”
Those first two demos ended up being their first two singles, re-recorded at two-time CCMA Recording Studio of the Year, MCC Recording Studios. It’s safe to say then that the duo instinctively knew this was going to be more than a work-in-progress. In Schofield’s words, “We had no expectations that first day we sat down together, but by the time we finished writing the second song, we both could see what was going on. We both kind of looked at each other and said, ‘I guess we’re a duo.’”
So while the pair had some material, and some ringing endorsements from industry contacts who heard the songs, they had yet to figure out what to call themselves. And that was the hard part, they both concur. “It literally took us two or three months to decide on something,” Hann says with a laugh. “The name really came out of there obviously being two of us, and our belief that our sound shines some light on the what country music is about, which for me is real life storytelling. ‘Shine’ also represents the positivity we want to get across in our music.”
And although the ‘County’ at the end seems a logical nod to country’s rural traditions, the pair both agree there’s a deeper meaning as well. They say that as soon as they started letting the wider country music industry in on their secret, the response was overwhelmingly supportive. They suddenly felt part of a special community, and “county” seemed the proper way to express that.
It was all made real in 2014 when TwoShine County made its first public appearances at the Canadian Country Music Awards, and a coast-to-coast radio station tour. “We were a little intimidated going to the CCMAs,” Schofield says. “But it seemed like everyone we met there had heard about us. That was a real eye-opener, having had experience in the rock world where there’s so much competition. Being part of the country scene in Canada really does feel like being part of a family.”
TwoShine County returned to the CCMAs in 2015, taking part in two songwriter showcases, as plans for a full-length release will soon be finalized for 2016. In the meantime, the duo continues to expand their fan base with the personal touch that has already endeared them to so many.