Aishling Rafferty


Press Release via AS Written, January 2022


With 2022 shaping up to be the biggest year yet in her young career, rising country music star AISHLING RAFFERTY is set to get the year underway with a brand new single. With a first television appearance to look forward to when she takes to the GLÓR TÍRE stage under the mentorship of country superstar MIKE DENVER in the coming weeks, the Tipp lady is about to treat her ever-growing legion of fans to her take on SUDS IN THE BUCKET. 

          The song was a hit for American artist Sara Evans back in the early 2000s, a period now regarded by many as coming at the end of the country genre’s most recent golden-age in the States. Evans was one of the biggest names on the scene at the time, and Suds In The Bucket gave her a #1 back in 2004. Close on two decades later, and as her career continues to bloom here in Ireland, there’s every chance that Aishling – who is certainly putting her Tipperary homeplace of Knockshegowna on the Irish country music map – will take that song back to the top of the charts. 

          “We’ll see what happens”, laughs Aishling, “that would be lovely, of course! But the chart side of things is only a small part of what’s important when you release something new. And the charts can change so quickly too. It’s a lovely feeling when your single does well when it comes out, and that support from fans always means a lot to me. So yeah, hopefully it will get a good response to it. Fingers crossed, as always!” 

          2021 was a busy year for the Irish World Academy music student, with five very successful singles no doubt playing their part in bringing Aishling to the attention of Mike Denver who will be her mentor on TG4‘s long-running hit show Glór Tíre in the coming weeks. Darling, Say You’ll Love Me When I’m Old, Truck Driving Woman, Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ol’ Days), Thanks To You, and Mama He’s Crazy all topped the Irish iTunes country chart. But not only that, all five singles quickly became fan favourites and made their presence felt at radio throughout the year, and indeed, are still being requested regularly. And it’s that same level of airplay that Aishling is hoping to achieve again with Suds In The Bucket. 

          “I still get excited whenever I hear one of my songs on the radio! I don’t think that feeling will ever get old for me, to be honest. And what’s really so satisfying as a recording artist is when you hear a song still being played months and months after you released it. To know that presenters and DJs still enjoy giving it a spin, and that fans still want to hear it, that’s the best feeling. With this new single, because of the time of year it is and everything, I wanted to give people something that was fun to listen to, something nice and upbeat. ‘Suds In The Bucket’ is always that kind of song for me when I hear it, and singing it always puts a smile on my face too. So hopefully with this song I can spread a few more smiles around the place!”  

          And as for Aishling’s soon to begin Glór Tíre journey, how is she feeling about that?

          “I’m delighted to be taking part in the show this year. I was gobsmacked when Mike asked me to be involved. He’s obviously one of the biggest stars in Irish country, and has been for years. And Glór Tíre is a show that I’ve always watched on television growing up. I’ve even been down to a few of the ‘live’ shows in years gone by and I’ve loved everything about it. Now, to actually be a contestant this year, that’s an amazing honour for me. Everyone will have the same dream of possibly winning, of course, but that dream will only come true for one of us. That’s just the way it is, and I think once you’re ok with that, then you can really make the most of the experience. No matter what happens, I know it’s going to be a brilliant learning curve for me and that’s something that can only stand me in good stead in the future.” 

          With her voice of gold and a personality that glitters, not to mention a head fitted perfectly in place upon her young shoulders, the future is gleaming for Aishling. And already, 2022 promises to be an exciting next chapter. 

SUDS IN THE BUCKET, the brand NEW SINGLE from 2022 GLÓR TÍRE contestant AISHLING RAFFERTY, will be available on all platforms from January 10th. 


Larissa Tormey


Press Release via AS Written, January 2022


Singer/songwriter LARISSA TORMEY is beginning the new year in a reflective mood with the release of another of her own original songs as her first single of 2022. MIRROR, written in a style where jazz meets a more contemporary sound, will be available on all platforms from Friday, January 21st. 

          Recent years have seen Larissa record and release new music in both the country and more contemporary pop genres, and – more often than not – material from her own impressive songbook too. In 2021, this artistic versatility was rewarded with nominations in two of the biggest categories at the Hot Press Awards. She joined names of international renown such as Imelda May, Sinead O’ Connor, and Mary Coughlan as well as Denise Chaila, and Emma Langford in contention for the Female Artist of the Year prize, while keeping company with Bono, Hozier, Dermot Kennedy, Lisa Hannigan, Sorcha Richardson, Niall Horan, and more in the line-up for Best Songwriter

          For the Kilbeggan-based chanteuse, the release of Mirror marks a continuation of a journey she began on her 2015 debut album, Perfect As I Am

          “From a very early age, as a songwriter and as a singer, I was always drawn to a certain kind of jazzy sound. But with a contemporary twist of my own on it as well. I think there’s a freedom in that style for any artist to really express themselves without having to wonder if their work is ‘enough’ of any particular sound. It can just be what it is. And as a person, that’s very much what I’ve always been like too. On my debut album, ‘Perfect As I Am’, the songs I recorded were deeply personal and full of different emotions. ‘Mirror’ takes me back in that direction, I think.”

          Larissa continued, explaining how different styles of writing allow her to access and express different parts of herself as an artist…

          “When I write a country song, for example, because country music is so much about the art of storytelling, that’s what I want to do. I want to share something in a way that the listener can relate to it, so that it can somehow make sense to them in their own life and experience. And in country music as well, even though there can be sadness and heartache, there is also a lot of fun and cheekiness too, which is so important. Fans love that, and we all need it in our lives. When I write a pop song, it can be more just about a feeling. You don’t have to try and tell a story or share something in particular. Most of the time, you just want to make people feel happy and alive. And that’s just as important and I love being able to do that too.” 

          “But with a song like ‘Mirror’, written in this kind of jazzy way”, observes Larissa, “I can be a little bit more serious, and go a little bit deeper in my writing. I think we live in an age where peoples’ attention spans have shrunk to matters of seconds, and I don’t like that at all. Everything has to happen now, straight away. Fast isn’t even enough anymore, it has to be instantaneous. And that’s crazy. That’s not how you live life, that’s how you miss life. Too many people these days are completely engrossed in themselves. Everything is about ‘me, me, me.’ And if you’re only thinking about yourself, you’re only looking inwards. But again, that’s not where life is or where life happens.”

          For Larissa, the inspiration behind Mirror is the concept that the world you see is a reflection of your inner state…

          “Yes, this is what I believe, and very much so. And this applies especially to love and to relationships. The world you see in front of you will reflect your inner state. If you, as a person, are full of love, then that is what you will give to the world, and bring into the world. In order to receive, you have to be able to give. One cannot really happen without the other. And likewise, if you are empty, then emptiness is what you will see around you. And it’s what will stare back at you from the mirror too.” 

          Mirror, arranged by Kevin Whyms and with an accompanying video by Andrew Jordan of AJ Films, will feature on Larissa’s forthcoming album of original contemporary material, currently scheduled for release in March. 

MIRROR, the brand NEW single from LARISSA TORMEY, will be available on all platforms from FRIDAY, JANUARY 21st. 


Norman Borland


Press Release via AS Written, January 2022


Not a man to ever spend too long away from the studio these past few years, Donegal’s NORMAN BORLAND is already on his way back to the airwaves  with his first record of 2022 before the month’s end. And Norman‘s cheeky take on Jon Philibert‘s light-hearted tale of heartache is exactly what we need to guide us through the early days of a brand new year and set us on a perfect course for brighter days ahead. 

          “I have a list of songs in the back of my mind that I want to record someday, and it’s something I’m always adding to”, reveals Norman, before laughing as he adds, “That’s probably one of the reasons why I spend so much time in the studio! And SHE DON’T LOOK THAT LONELY TO ME has been on that list since the moment I first heard it.”

          “And I’m not talking about the moment I first heard the whole song”, he points out, “I mean from the moment I heard the first few lines. It’s just one of those perfectly written country songs that has a way of putting a smile on your face even though it’s about a heartache! That’s the genius of great songwriting. And there’s no doubt about it, Jon Philibert is that kind of genius. I’m a huge fan of his work, and it’s an honour for me to be able to put my stamp on any song of his, but especially this one.” 

          Working once again with his long-time producer Brian Kerrigan, SHE DON’T LOOK THAT LONELY TO ME sees Norman follow on from what was a very busy year of releases in 2021, with the man who modestly describes himself as simply being “a country singer singing country songs” sending four tracks to radio in the last twelve months. The first of those was his take on the Don Williams hit Healing Hands this time last year, with Gerry Guthrie joining him for their version of John Bunzow‘s up-tempo feel-good tune Ain’t No LittleThing in April. In June, Norman was once again joined by a special guest as the wonderful Patricia Maguire shared vocal duties on the Randy Travis, Steve Dorff, and John Bettis penned Friends Like Us. Norman’s biggest hit of 2021 was his final release of the year, the Jerry House number Working Woman.

          With the ‘live’ music scene still shrouded in uncertainty, Norman admits that it’s tough to plan too far ahead in that regard, but he can’t wait to get back in front of as many people as possible as soon as he can. And in the meantime, there are no prizes for guessing where he’ll be found…that’s right…in the studio! 

          “I’m talking to people about ‘live’ dates for the year ahead, and we’re putting some plans in place where we can. I’m certainly open to talking to anyone in that regard, all they have to do is get in touch and we’ll chat, no problem. But what I am 100% sure of is that there’ll be more new music coming throughout the rest of 2022, that’s for certain. And what a song to kick things off with in Jon Philibert’s SHE DON’T LOOK THAT LONELY TO ME. We’re setting the bar high for ourselves again, but that’s the only way to do it. Country fans deserve no less.”      


Regarded as one of British country music’s leading lights when it comes to the art of crafting a song, Londoner Philibert holds the distinction of having written the song that is a special part of the Tom Jones story, with I’ve Been Rained On Too being his longest ever country charting record. The song became a top-ten hit for the Welsh legend in 1984, going on to hold a place on the Billboard Country chart for a staggering twenty-two weeks. I’ve Been Rained On Too has also been recorded by Charlie Landsborough and featured on his 1989 collection, Still Can’t Say Goodbye. Other Irish artists to have recorded titles from the Philibert songbook include Larissa Tormey, Mick Flavin, and Trevor Loughrey. 

SHE DON’T LOOK THAT LONELY TO ME, the NEW SINGLE from NORMAN BORLAND, will be released on all digital platforms on FRIDAY, JANUARY 21st, and will be available to request from radio from Tuesday, January 11th. 


Deirdre Keane


Press Release via AS Written, December 2021


Rising country music star DEIRDRE KEANE has revealed that the follow-up to her summer single – her version of the Tom Paxton classic Last Thing On My Mind – is a re-release of her hit from this time last year, I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU, LORD. But she has a very good reason for that being the case, because it’s Deirdre’s way of giving thanks for all the good things that have come her way in the past year. 

          As the Banagher based singer continues to win new fans on the country scene, she already had plenty of reasons to be grateful for all of the support that she’s received over the last year or so, even before the invitation to take part in next year’s series of the hit TG4 show GLÓR TÍRE came her way too, courtesy of singer/songwriter CIARAN ROSNEY who will be her mentor. But as of last week, the Galway native has yet another reason to look back fondly on what 2021 – even in a year as tough as there’s ever been for entertainers – has brought her way…an international award nomination! 

          “It’s funny”, observes Deirdre, “because it had actually been on my mind that I’d like to do something with this particular song again. I originally released ‘I Just Want To Thank You, Lord’ last year, and it received such a wonderful reaction, with people really taking it into their hearts. And I think as well, the sentiment of the song – just being thankful for everything we do have, even when times are hard – that really resonated with people. In the year since then, even though it’s obviously been extremely difficult for all of us in the music world, for me personally, the support that has continued to come my way from people is what has kept me going through it all.” 

          Deirdre continued, “So I wanted to find some way to say thank-you to everyone for that. It felt like the right thing to do, and an important thing to do. And that was before Ciaran got in touch and sprang Glór Tíre on me [laughs]. When that happened, I said right, I need to acknowledge my good fortune here, definitely, and do something to let people know there’s so much that I appreciate. But I suppose the fact that I had just released ‘I Just Want To Thank You, Lord’ last year made me think I probably couldn’t release it again so soon.” 

          That decision was pretty much taken out of Deirdre’s own hands last week, however, with the news that I Just Want To Thank You, Lord has been nominated in the Gospel/Christian category of the Holland based FAIR PLAY COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS. And, taking it as a sign to follow what had been her natural instinct anyway, Deirdre has sent the song back to radio for a second time. 

         “That news came out of the blue! I was stunned, actually, because I’m still at that stage of my career where I’m not even thinking about anything like awards. I just want to make sure I keep recording great songs, and releasing the kind of music that I love, and that I hope people will enjoy. To suddenly be nominated for an award, anywhere, nevermind in Europe, that left me speechless. But coming on top of everything with Ciaran and Glór Tíre, it just made me realise again how lucky I am to be doing something I love so much. So I wanted to say thank you for that, to everyone who makes it in any way possible. And luckily, I had the very song to do exactly that!” 

          Written by Judy Marshall of the Marshall Family, I Just Want To Thank You, Lord became Keane’s third single when it was first released a year ago asthe follow up to that September’s radio-friendly take on the Sara Evans 2004 country-chartopper Suds In The Bucket. That single reinforced Keane’s undeniable emergence as a vocal powerhouse, something which first became clear on her 2019 debut single, 57 Chevrolet, taken from the Billie Jo Spears songbook. 

          With 2022 just around the corner, Glór Tíre shortly to hit our screens, and work continuing on her highly anticipated debut album, all the signs are on it that this could be a break-out year for Deirdre. 

I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU, LORD is now available to request from radio stations nationwide. To stay up to date with Deirdre’s Glór Tíre journey, and all the latest news on her music career – including that Fair Play Country Music Award nomination – you can follow her on both Facebook and Instagram by searching ‘Deirdre Keane Music.’ 


Brendan Kelly


Press Release via AS Written, December 2021


Singer/songwriter BRENDAN KELLY has just announced the release of his brand new single. And not only has the midlands man gone down the road less travelled at this time of the year, he has something that’s a little different in store for his fans this time. And, what’s more, it even has a touch of Nashville stardust sprinkled over it, thanks to a BILLY RAY CYRUS and GRAND OLE OPRY connection. Already at radio, BROTHER – another original from Kelly’s own songbook – became available across all platforms on December 10th. 

        A powerful, driving track with an instantly anthemic feel to it, Brother showcases the energy that has long been a feature of Kelly’s ‘live’ shows, a fact that won’t surprise many given that Brendan is well-known as ‘the entertainer’ in his native Longford. With a definite country-rock vibe pulsing through the number and giving it its heartbeat from start to finish, Brendan describes Brother as a, “song based on the bond between brothers and friends growing up”. 

        He continued, “It’s a song about always having each other’s backs, never running away from whatever was in front of us, always being there for each other. As time goes by, even when life gives you a hard time – whether it be mental health, financial or family issues, anything – we will always be there for each other, ready and willing to give advice and support to each other. It’s about being able to remind someone, especially when it’s what they really need to hear, that things will get better for them, and not to worry about it because until it does, you’ll be right by their side.” 

          While written from the perspective of his own life and experiences, Brendan is quick to point out that the sentiment is what’s most important about the song, and that he hopes it’s one everyone will be able to relate to and apply to their own lives, and circle of friends. 

           “Listen, we’ve been through – and we’re still in – the strangest of times, and it’s tough for everyone. So if ever there was a time for people to know that they’re not alone, then it’s now. And that’s the feeling, the sense of reassurance really, that I hope people will get from this song. Sometimes a song can be the one thing that somehow changes a person’s mood, or gives them a lift when everything is just getting on top of them a bit. If ‘Brother’ can be that song for even one person somewhere, then for me as a writer – and for me just as another human being too – that’s a feeling of gratitude that’s really immense.” 

          Indeed, when it comes to gratitude, well that’s a subject Kelly knows a thing or two about. When he was just six years old he was involved in a road traffic accident that saw him pronounced clinically dead. Although miraculously revived in hospital, he was left paralyzed and informed that he would never walk again. However, neither life nor those doctors could have foreseen the strength of character that was – after numerous surgeries over many years – to defy all the odds. As Brendan now laughs, “You could say that it was good preparation for a life in the music business!”.   


And as for that Billy Ray Cyrus and Grand Ole Opry connection, Brendan himself takes up the story there…

“During my trip to Nashville back in 2019, I had the pleasure of meeting loads of people in the music scene out there. And out of that, I ended up chatting to members of Billy Ray Cyrus’s band. After hearing me sing ‘Brother’ they loved it, and actually wanted to be part of the production for the song. So, not only do I have a gentleman called Chris Condon, who is Billy Ray Cyrus’s musical director, playing on ‘Brother’, but he’s joined by a man called Mark Beckett, who is regularly the man behind the drums at the Grand Ole Opry as well.  I was even invited to play the Grand Ole Opry in 2020, but as we all know now, Covid had other plans. But I’m a strong believer in the old saying that delays are not denials. So we’ll see what 2022 brings! No matter what, though, ‘Brother’ is already a song that has blessed me so much, something I’m very grateful for. And the beautiful thing is that it’s only getting started.” 

          In every genre of music, creation is the real life-force that drives everything forward. On the Irish country scene, a landscape too often handicapped by a reluctance to step out of the past and give new music a chance, Kelly remains one of those troubadours intent on blazing his own trail nonetheless. Brother is the latest example of this, and indeed, is a further example of the depth of Brendan’s determination to shape his own identity in all he does. 

          Not only will Brother win him new fans, and deservedly so – something it’s already proved in the home of country music itself – it will inspire new artists to seek their own true voices, too. 

BROTHER, the brand NEW single from BRENDAN KELLY, is OUT NOW, available to request from radio stations nationwide, and also available on all digital platforms.