Lady Antebellum inadvertently helped put The Shires together.

Ben Earle, one half of the UK country duo alongside Crissie Rhodes, had ''completely had enough'' of trying to make it in the music industry and was ''on the brink of giving up'', but he was inspired to pen several country tracks after hearing the US group's number one hit 'Need You Now'.

He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: ''I was writing for years and the songs didn't really fit anywhere and I was on the brink of giving up, I'd completely had enough, I was so frustrated. But then I heard 'Need You Now' by Lady Antebellum and it changed my life as a songwriter and a musician.

''That was about three years ago and when I heard that song I wrote about four or five country songs and I put out a Facebook post saying, 'There must be a country singer out there,' and that's how Chrissie and I met.''

Crissie added: ''Lady A had got quite a lot of mainstream radio play as well which was pretty good. That went really well over here for sure.''

The Shires are yet to come face-to-face with the inspiring act but Ben admits he is ''nervous'' about meeting the band for the first time.

He added: ''We haven't met them yet and I'm quite nervous when we do because they are big idols of mine and they always say never meet your heroes.''

Ben and Crissie's debut album 'Brave' - which was released on Monday (02.03.15) - has taken the Official UK Albums chart by storm, shooting to number nine in yesterday's (04.03.15) chart update, alongside mainstream pop acts such as Kelly Clarkson, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.

Official Charts Company Chief Executive Martin Talbot admitted it is ''truly remarkable'' that the British country act are looking good for a top 10 finish.

He said: ''This is a fantastic feat by this young British country act. No country act has ever made this kind of impact on the top 20 before - the fact they are challenging for a top 10 spot is truly remarkable.''

The Shires' single 'Friday Night' is also out now and the duo will be playing on the Satellite Stage at country music event C2C Festival - which will also feature a Lady Antebellum performance - at London's The O2, this weekend (07.03.15) and (08.03.15).