The Power of Words Festival/ Nate Smith/ Matt Stell


First Published July 2022


The Power of Words Festival is getting set for another wonderful weekend celebrating words – written, spoken, acted and sung – in Abbeyleix, Laois, on the weekend of the 19th to the 21st August.

Now in its fourth year, the festival is set to be as beautiful, relaxed and accessible as ever. A full programme will be released shortly, filled with writing workshops, author interviews, readings, book launches, poetry, music, theatre, a creative embodiment workshop, children and teenage events, heritage walks and talks, video presentations and plenty of Open Mic opportunities for people wishing to come along and share their words. The Bookmark in Portlaoise will also run a ‘pop-up’ bookstore over the weekend which will stock the books of all of the writers on the 2022 programme.

Visiting writers this year include Danielle McLaughlin, Dave Lordan, Andrea Carter, John MacKenna, Martina Murphy, Arthur Broomfield, Angela Keogh, Johnny Renko, Frances Harney, and many more.

The Living Poets’ Society is another unique feature of the festival. A chosen Living Poet will have their work honoured and celebrated throughout the weekend, and receive The Living Poets’ Society Award. The chosen poet for the inaugural year was Pat Ingoldsby, and Rita Ann Higgins received the 2021 Award. The Living Poet for this year’s festival will be unveiled shortly.

Nobody loves stories more than children and they will once again feature strongly in the 2022 festival. The festival will also include readings by, and to, children from the town’s newest communities.

The weather has always been kind to the festival and the team is hoping to be as lucky again this year, given that the festival will continue to use outdoor as well as indoor venues for events.

”We look forward to welcoming everyone once again to Abbeyleix on the weekend of August 19th – 21st, where a guaranteed warm welcome will be offered. There’s something for everyone here and the promise of a truly enjoyable and engaging weekend awaits, with lots of chats and laughter along the way. What more could you want?” says festival founder, Amanda Kelly.

¬ For further information, please visit or Facebook The Power of Words Festival. Make sure to follow the festival on Instagram too! 


Breakout artist NATE SMITH has just debuted the music video for his explosive new single, WHISKEY ON YOU, following its broadcast premiere on CMT Music and on July 21st. 

Directed by Chris Ashlee, the hilarious video stars Smith along with TikTok creator Katie “Demps” Dempsey, who plays the singer’s crazy ex-girlfriend. The video has a 90s VHS type feel and follows the breakup between the two during Smith’s band’s practice. The garage band turned Nashville superstars then take the stage at a jam-packed Whiskey Jam in Loser’s parking lot, featuring real footage from Smith’s performance last month.

“I am thrilled for the ‘Whiskey On You’ music video to come out!” Smith said. “I really wanted everyone to get to know my fun side. I couldn’t have had a better co-star than Demps. She absolutely crushed it and will definitely make you laugh!”

Lauded as the “breakup song of the summer” by Country Now and “an enormously satisfying country kiss-off anthem” by StereogumWhiskey On You amassed over 7.5 million total global on-demand streams in its first week, reaching No. 10 on the Country On-Demand Streaming Chart. The track also debuted at No. 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 14 on the Hot Country Songs chart, marking Smith’s first career entry on the chart. He also re-entered Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart at No. 1, becoming the top emerging act in the U.S. for the first time. Whiskey On You has amassed over 50 million total on-demand streams to date and is currently climbing the country radio charts.

Following his headlining Whiskey On You Tour, Smith kicked off his opening stint on Brett EldredgeSongs About You Tour last weekend

So,who exactly is Nate Smith? Well, featuring a mix of gritty backwoods soul, rock ‘n’ roll swagger and velvet-thunder vocals, Smith is Sony Music Nashvilles latest signing, with his personal journey inspiring him to be a beacon of country-music hope, an inspirational mission he puts front-and-center. A California native, former worship leader, and lifelong music lover, Smith approaches that mission with a background as eclectic as it gets. Learning guitar at thirteen, Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley and Bob Seger were among those informing his powerful, fire-from-within vocals, while Michael Jackson made him crave the spotlight, and Nirvana gave his sound a jagged edge. He first chased his neon dreams to Nashville in his early twenties – but it didn’t stick. The disheartened Smith returned home and thought he was “100-percent done” with his artistic journey…until a crucible of change burned away the past. 

In 2018, Smith lost everything he owned in the devastating Camp Fire which tore through Paradise, California, now known as the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. Although his family was safe, he struggled to cope and turned back to music, hoping that it would help comfort himself and others. Help it did, inspiring a month-long road trip across the U.S. to Music City, writing music and playing dive bars along the way. 

Soon after his arrival to Nashville, Nate released his biggest song to date, Wildfire, and landed a publishing deal with Sony ATV. Since then, he’s released new music including Sleeve and Under My Skin, which has amassed over 60 million on-demand streams to date. The singer was named a Spotify Hot Country Artist to Watch for 2021 – an accurate prediction as he rounded out the year with a record deal and two brand new songs: Raised Up and the viral TikTok hit I Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven. And, as noted already, the powerhouse vocalist is now making waves with his latest release, Whiskey On You, which is currently climbing the country radio charts. 

¬ WHISKEY ON YOU, the latest single from NATE SMITH, is OUT NOW.  

A Giant of A Man (Made)

RECORDS Nashville’s platinum-selling artist MATT STELL officially released his brand-new single MAN MADE  to country radio recently, and to a huge response with forty stations making it among the most-added tracks on Billboard and Country Aircheck/Mediabase charts.

Written by Brett Sheroky and Ian Christian and produced by Stell and Ash Bowers, Man Made is the lead single from a forthcoming new project, due later this year.

The official music video for Man Made also premiered of late, directed by Dustin Haneyand shot between Nashville and Napa Valley’s scenic Regusci Winery. The video highlights men from all walks of life, with the important women who continually lift them up and support them.

In only the last three years, “versatile” (Billboard) artist Stell has quickly made his mark on country music, amassing more than half a billion – yep, BILLION – music streams across his catalogue, including back-to-back No. 1s Prayed For You, which is quickly approaching 2x platinum status, and Everywhere But On along with fan favourites Boyfriend Season  and That Ain’t Me No More. He has since made his Grand Ole Opry debut and performed on Good Morning America, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s #LateShowMeMusic digital series, Bachelor In Paradise and sung the national anthem for NASCAR and NFL events.

Stell has also launched his Give A Damn Foundation, kicked-off his hugely successful eight-week Instagram-Live  series, Penned Up, and was the first-ever artist to receive a virtual plaque from the RIAA for Prayed For You an ASCAP Pop and Country most-performed song awards winner. In 2020 he released his new EP Better Than That, the follow up to 2019’s Everywhere But On and is prepping a new project for later in 2022, led by new single Man Made, as already mentioned.

The 6’7” Arkansas native has come a long way from playing college basketball for Drury University and making the choice to head to Nashville instead of Cambridge, MA where he was accepted into Harvard University’s Extension School Pre-Med program. 

Following his dream of writing and performing, the self-taught vocalist and guitar-player made the move to Music City in 2014, landing a management deal with Wide Open Music and a record deal with music industry powerhouse Barry Weiss’RECORDS Nashville

Stell has received Ones To Watch shout-outs from multiple partners, including Vevo DSCVR, MusicRow’s Next Big Thing, CMT Discovery Artist, YouTube Music Artist on the Rise and more. 

¬ MAN MADE, the latest single from MATT STELL, is OUT NOW on all platforms. 


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