Even in the 21st century, an old-fashioned love is still what some girls dream of. And singer/songwriter LARISSA TORMEY just so happens to be one of them. In fact, Larissa is such an old-fashioned romantic herself, that she followed her heart all the way from her native Russia to her new home in the Irish midlands when she married a good old-fashioned Irish farmer, her husband Christy. So maybe it’s no surprise then that her new single will be the somewhat tongue-in-cheek single, OLD FASHIONED.
Set for general release across all digital platforms on July 30th, Old Fashioned is another original from Larissa’s own songbook, and features on her latest country collection, Breath of Fresh Air. That album hit stores last November, but this particular song holds a special place in Larissa’s affections, and she’s always had an equally special plan for it…
“I think everyone should just be themselves, I think that’s so important for everybody. And if that means that you might be a little bit old-fashioned in your ways, that’s grand, that’s no problem. It’s much better to be authentic than to ever feel like you need to pretend to be someone you’re not. Even though it’s a fun song, and a happy one, it does have that message in it, too. I think being old-fashioned is a great thing, and lots of girls still prefer gentlemen to bad boys! [Laughs]. After all, not everyone needs to be modern. At least not in every way.”
Larissa continued, “This is one of my favourite songs on my last album because it’s so funny. And I know it’s a little bit…maybe sarcastic you could say, but it’s in a very gentle and affectionate way. It’s just a playful song, and it’s the kind of thing you can say to a gentleman because you know they understand that. Because I loved ‘Old Fashioned’ from the moment I wrote it, I was really tempted to put it out as a single before now. But I decided that it would be even better to wait until summer came so that we could make a video here at home on Loughnagore Farm! So that’s what I did! So we recorded that last week and I’m delighted to say that one of the stars of the ‘Old Fashioned’ video will be a gentleman called Tom Lynam, who is not only one of our lovely neighbours, but a very good family friend as well. And of course we couldn’t film a video on our farm in the summer without making sure that our cattle got in on the action too! [Laughs].”
Despite the ongoing troubles faced by the music industry as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Old Fashioned will actually be Larissa’s fourth release of what has already proved to be a busy 2021. Her musical year began with the duet, Agree To Disagree, with British country legend Dave Sheriff back in February. That was followed by One Man Band in March, a track with links to none other than Sir Tom Jones himself as it was penned by Jon Philibert who also wrote the Welsh legends 1984 hit, I’ve Been Rained On Too. Then, as summer began to appear on the horizon in April, Larissa treated fans to another original of her own, Slightly Mad, which will feature on a full original album she has in the works for before the year’s end.
With two Hot Press Award nominations also coming her way last March, in the Female Artist of the Year (alongside Imelda May, Denise Chaila, Emma Langford, and more) and the Best Songwriter (alongside Lisa Hannigan, Dermot Kennedy, and Niall Horan to name a few) categories, it’s already been a year to remember, no matter what else happens between now and December 31st.
But Larissa isn’t one for resting on her laurels. She’s always planning her next move. You could say, she’s kind of old-fashioned like that.
~ OLD FASHIONED, the brand NEW single from LARISSA TORMEY, will be available on all platforms from Friday, July 30th, and is now available to request from radio stations nationwide.
AISHLING RAFFERTY continues her emergence as one of Irish country music’s brightest young performers with the release of her latest hit single, her fourth of 2021. And there’s a strong NATHAN CARTER connection to the song which Aishling has dedicated to her fans as her way of thanking them for their continued support.
THANKS TO YOU comes from the pen of Nathan’s manager, the renowned songwriter JOHN FARRY. Originally written for Patrick Feeney, the song was both the title-track and the album opener on the Sligoman’s 2003 long-player. And for Aishling, it was the perfect way of letting her fans know just how much their love and support has meant to her. And John even had his own special good-luck message for Aishling, writing on Facebook, “Thanks to you for recording my song, ‘Thanks To You.’ Best of luck.”
When she first announced the news of her new single on her social media, Aishling revealed, “This song is especially dedicated to you all as a way of saying a big thank you for your continued love, support, and the kind words from you all throughout my journey so far. I am extremely grateful.” And what a journey it’s already been for the Knockshegowna lass.
All three of Aishling’s previous singles in 2021 have topped the iTunes Country Chart in Ireland, with Darling, Say You’ll Love Me When I’m Old taking the #1 spot in January, Truck Driving Woman following suit in March, and her latest vocal masterclass, the sentimental and heart-warming Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol Days), doing likewise upon its release back in May. And as much as such milestones matter to Aishling, and bring a smile to her face, what matters far more to the student of voice at the Irish World Academy, is the fact that her music can bring smiles to others…
“What I actually miss most about being able to sing”, confessed Aishling, “is being able to see how the people right in front of you respond to the songs. From as long as I can remember, the feeling I get from seeing people smile just because they’re listening to me sing is just one of so much happiness. And that’s why I knew John’s song would be the perfect choice as my next single. Even though we can’t really get back up on a stage and sing to fans again just yet, all of the messages I keep getting from people telling me how much they enjoy listening to my songs at home or on the radio, it’s honestly been so humbling. And so overwhelming at times too, but in the loveliest of ways. So I really wanted to find a way to say thank-you to everyone. When I came across Patrick singing this song, I knew I’d found exactly what I needed. It was perfect!”
Had Covid not been with us for the past sixteen months or so, there’s little doubt that Aishling would have graced concert and festival stages all across Ireland in that time. However, the good news for fans is that a chance to hear Aishling perform ‘live’ is finally coming their way. She’ll be joining Mike Denver, Colin Kenny, Sabrina Fallon, and Clodagh Lawlor for a Country Drive-In concert at the Star Trax Music Venue in Cork on Sunday, September 5th. And she can’t wait to take to the stage.
“It still feels like it’s so far away, even though I know it’s actually not!”, she laughs. “I just can’t wait to get down there and see everyone. From Hugh and his Hot Country team, to all the other performers on the day, and of course, the fans as well. I think it’s going to feel more special than being on stage has ever felt before, just because now we all know how easily that feeling can be taken away. It’s not something that any of us would ever have taken for granted, don’t get me wrong. But now that we’ve been through such a long time when we just couldn’t sing anywhere at all, every chance to do what we love most is just something that we’ll appreciate all the more now.”Writing to her fans on the day of the single’s release, Aishling said, “I am so humbled by all the beautiful comments and messages I have received since my musical journey began. You are all helping my dreams come true, without you all, none of this would be possible. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart. This is only the beginning.”
As well as penning Thanks To You, the song Aishling has chosen to be her brand new single, Fermanagh man Farry picked up Best Original Album honours for his Songwriter collection at the 2017 Hot Country TV Awards. He also secured his own special place in Ireland’s Eurovision history, when he penned our 1997 entry Mysterious Woman, which Marc Roberts took to within one place of ultimate glory, coming second to the UK entry, Love Shine A Light by Katrina and the Waves.
~ THANKS TO YOU, the brand NEW single from AISHLING RAFFERTY, is OUT NOW on all platforms, and available to request from radio stations nationwide and around the world. You can follow Aishing on Facebook and Instagram at ‘Aishling Rafferty Music.’
DONIE O has 100,000 reasons to celebrate as his new single, EARLY MORNIN’ RAIN, has already passed the 100,000 impacts at radio milestone following its official release on June 18th.
Returning to the airwaves with his version of the suitably reflective classic from the great GORDON LIGHTFOOT, the Peter Maher produced single once again bears all the hallmarks of a Donie O song, taking a track known and loved by a certain generation of music lover, and bringing it to a whole new audience by putting his own unique twist on it.
Now available on all digital platforms and to request at radio, the response so far has delighted the Tipp music man. “We had a feeling that this one might catch people by the heart a little bit. There’s just something about the song itself for a start, so beautifully and brilliantly written by Gordon Lightfoot. Despite its sadness in some ways, and how reflective it is, there’s also a wonderful comforting feeling to it. A warmth almost. And I think that’s something we’ve been able to really highlight in the production.”
Early Mornin’ Rain, which first appeared on Lightfoot’s 1966 debut album, Lightfoot!, and again on his 1977 collection, Gord’s Gold (as a re-recorded version), will be the second single from Donie O’s forthcoming second album. As the follow-up to last year’s huge radio hit, A Picture Of You, Donie O hopes this record will offer fans a further glimpse into the variety and range his new long-player will have to offer…
“When I was deciding on what single to release next, I was doing it with the new album very much in mind. So I knew I wanted to pick a song that would reflect the fact that this album will be a miscellany of music. ‘A Picture Of You’, as that almost textbook, prime example of a feel-good, genre and generation crossing hit, was just the first glimpse into what’s to come. ‘Early Mornin’ Rain’, on the other hand, is a more considered, more thoughtful, and more solitary kind of song. And there’ll be some moments like this on the album, too. But we’ve also put a twist on this song that will bring it to people in a way they’ve never quite heard it before, I think.”
With the single having already clocked up more than 100, 000 impacts at radio, and heading for three-figures in spins, Donie O is looking forward to the chance to get back in front of a ‘live’ audience to perform the song for fans.
“No more than anyone else in my position, all I can do is sit and wait really. Even though that feels like it’s all that we’ve been doing for a fairly long time now! [Laughs]. But look, we’re nearer now to being where we want to be again, we have to be at this stage, and that’s a good thing. So from my own point of view, the reaction to the new single means that I can look forward to things returning to normal with added excitement as well, because this is something new that we haven’t had a chance to share with fans yet in any ‘live’ setting.”
While Lightfoot wrote the song and released it in 1966, he wasn’t actually the first artist to cut and bring it to public attention. That claim-to-fame rests with Canadian husband and wife pairing Ian and Sylvia who did so a year earlier. Early Mornin’ Rain was also recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary, and by The Grateful Dead.
~ EARLY MORNIN’ RAIN, the brand NEW single from DONIE O, is OUT NOW, available on all platforms and to request at radio stations nationwide. Donie O’ s second studio album is scheduled for release towards the end of 2021.
Long renowned as an innovator within the Irish country music scene where he has been an influential figure for more than a decade, Cork based HOTCOUNTRY TV host and founder HUGH O’ BRIEN, is about to launch an exciting new venture which will create almost fifty new jobs while offering artists an opportunity to grow their fan-base on a worldwide scale.
The Hot Country FREE HD TV iPlayer will open a portal for artists and fans alike to share and enjoy the best of Irish country anywhere across the globe.
The iPlayer (also known as the Hot Country TV Media Player) – which will be an on-demand service, similar to that provided by Netflix, Amazon Prime, Discovery, Now TV, and others – will be accessible via all Smart TVs and digital devices, taking only about ten seconds to download.
Speaking about his new venture, the Corkman, who first broadcast on SKY TV almost twelve years ago, explained how the new Hot Country TV iPlayer will change the landscape of the Irish country music scene.
“This is a first for Irish country music as currently there is no iPlayer available which can be downloaded to SMART TVs. This gives the viewer comfort, with top quality picture and sound at the flick of a button. If they like country music, and indeed associated programming, then this is the place to be. Country music is hugely popular and has the second highest audience rating on RTE 1 each year, The Toy show being the biggest.”
As well as creating up to fifty new jobs nationwide (with more to be added) by way of camera and sound operators, presenters and researchers, editors, sales and office staff, O’ Brien revealed that the free Hot Country TV iPlayer platform will also be available at extremely attractive rates to other video producers. These might be producers who have either a series or once-off shows available for broadcast. As this platform – that of TV and in this format is not available at present – he expects this option to prove very popular among creators. With the Hot Country TV iPlayer also offering a pay-per-view facility, O’ Brien has no doubt that its arrival will mark a new era for country music, and any and all associated businesses.
In fact, he sees this as an exciting opportunity to be availed of by businesses of any shape or size, and in any sector, remarking that, “We’ll have hugely attractive advertising rates, and we’ll happily talk to anyone about how we can work together. No problem at all.”
The Hot Country FREE HD TV iPlayer on-demand service will include the award winning Hot Country show (long noted for its role in helping to launch the careers of stars such as Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, Mike Denver, Cliona Hagan, Jimmy Buckley, and many more), plus: Hot Country XTRA;The NewStars Of Irish Country Music, promoting Ireland’s newest country singers and bands; the Life & Times show profiling the life of Ireland’s top stars; TheMost Awesome Bathroom Singer in Ireland; as well as star interviews, a regular gig-guide, infomercials for wedding suppliers, shows from Nashville TN, and shows on farming, tourism, motor-sport, and more yet to be announced.
Now, one of the above-mentioned shows in particular may have caught your attention, and that’s The Most Awesome Bathroom Singer in Ireland.
If we’re all being honest about it, then most of us would have to admit that we think we’re a country star when we’re singing away to our heart’s content in the bathroom! And that’s whether we have a voice like Mike Denver or – as the saying goes – even if we couldn’t carry a melody if it had a handle. So here’s the BIG question: Have YOU ever fancied yourself as a bit of a Nathan Carter, a Derek Ryan, a Jimmy or a Claudia Buckley when you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror? Or, when doing your best Daniel O’Donnell, Olivia Douglas or Sabrina Fallon impersonation while in the shower, has the thought ever crossed your mind that you could take that talent and step into the real-world spotlight with it? If the answer is yes, then there’s another question that awaits you…
Do you think you have what it takes to take home the title of The Most Awesome Bathroom Singer in Ireland?
Well, if you do, the chance to prove it is coming your way, and again, it’s coming courtesy of Europe’s longest-running country music TV show, Hot Country, and it’s founder Hugh O’ Brien. “Some of us wouldn’t sing in public even if we were paid to!”, exclaimed Hugh when we spoke recently, adding with a laugh, “And I’d be one of them!”
“And yet we’ll nearly all sing in the shower without any embarrassment. Believe it or not, there’s a scientific explanation behind such soapy musical stylings. Think about it, you probably don’t sing when you’re sad, unless you’re singing the blues, of course. For many people, shower time is the only time they’re alone all day. You’re in a warm, small, safe environment, and you’re comfortable enough to be in the buff! Stress literally washes off you. When you relax, your brain releases dopamine, which can give your creative juices a jumpstart.”
Hugh continued, “The warm water rushing over you relaxes you, and makes you feel good. And it turns out that singing makes you feel even better. You see, singing, because of the breathing you put into it, gets more oxygen into the blood. This gives you better circulation, which in turn improves your body and mood. Because you have to breathe a little deeper to belt out a song, you get some of the same relaxation and mind-clearing benefits as meditation. And when you’re singing, you really can’t think about your problems, so there’s more stress relief for ya!”
Hugh went on to explain that the best thing about singing in the bathroom is the acoustics. Because bathroom tiles don’t absorb sound, your voice bounces back and forth around the room before fading away. And because the shower is a small space, it also boosts your voice and even adds a little bass, making your singing sound more powerful. The sound bouncing gives your vocal styling a slight reverb effect, which makes your voice hang in the air longer and evens out variations in your singing. This can be thought of as a primitive auto-tune, making you sound better than you actually are, and giving you an added confidence boost in the process.
So, how exactly can you go about becoming the most awesome bathroom singer in Ireland? Well, that couldn’t be more simple.
All you have to do is record a video of yourself being the star that you are when you’re singing in the bathroom. Whether that’s in front of the mirror, in the shower, or even while relaxing in a bubble-bath, we’ll leave those choices up to you!
When you’ve captured the take that you’re happiest with, simply send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a holiday for TWO in Spain, and a number of product hampers from Galway Irish Crystal.
The best videos will feature as part of the brand new original show on Hot Country TV’s newly launched Free HD iPlayer, presented by Jodie Lucas. This can be downloaded to all SMART TVs worldwide, plus all digital devices including Apple and android phones. The show will also be available on the Hot Country TV website www.hotcountrytv.com
With Hot Country TV, the whole world really is a stage…even your bathroom!
So get your voice warmed up, and get your phone out, because YOU could be…’the most awesome bathroom singer’ in Ireland!
~ Hot Country is Europe’s longest running country music TV show, broadcasting for the last twelve years and currently on the hugely popular Phil Mac’s Spotlight TV channel Sky 365, plus Freesat 516, Freeview 87 (Manchester), and Free to Air Satellite all over Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe. Broadcast times are Monday at 8 pm, repeated on Saturdays at 6 pm, also available worldwide at www.hotcountrytv.com and www.spotlightv.co.uk Hot Country is edited by Leo Fitzgerald at Music Row Studios in their state of the art video and audio studios in Ballydesmond, Cork, Ireland.
Sometimes, just by being around for long enough, what you do can end up being massively taken for granted. Case in point, the hit TG4 show, GLÓR TÍRE. Despite the many complications caused by Covid-19, and the subsequent restrictions and guidelines which needed to be put in place and adhered to, the team behind the show managed to make sure that the 2020 series eventually came to a conclusion late last year. More than just that, though, they also found a way to make sure that the 2021 series went ahead.
A key-word to pay attention to in everything I’ve just pointed out, is ‘team.’ Because that’s what it takes to make Glór Tíre happen each year. And it’s a team that is in part unseen, but yet, without the talents of all involved, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the on-screen contributions of judges Jo Ní Cheide, Caitriona O’ Sullivan, and John Creedon, as well as presenters Aoife Ní Thuairisg and Séamus Ó Scanláin, and of course, the fabulous house-band. The show is not just about each year’s contestants, it’s bigger than that.
And yet, if you were to judge things by some of the vile, vicious, attention-seeking, and often desperately ill-informed vitriol that was regularly spewed forth in social media comment sections during the course of this year’s series, you’d assume Glór Tíre and almost all involved with it to be something akin to a TV Taliban, only to be reviled as a gang of clueless chancers. And that description, as colourful as it might be, doesn’t even approach the levels of hyperbole achieved by some of the country music ‘fans’, and indeed, self-appointed commentators of sort who felt the need to grace the world with their opinions. It certainly opened my eyes to some people, and how, and when, and in what manner they seem to like to share their thoughts with the world. All good to know, though.
Full disclosure, by the way, I had the pleasure – and it was a pleasure – of working with EMMA DONOHUE during her successful Glór Tíre campaign under the mentorship of MIKE DENVER this year. Without a doubt, Emma has everything it takes to carve out a career for herself on the Irish country scene. I’m more than certain that her natural talent, a work-ethic that’s simply second-to-none, and a personality that’s every bit as genuinely warm and funny off-stage as it is effortlessly comfortable on-stage, would have ensured this anyway, regardless of how things went for her on the TG4 show this year. I can say that with my hand on my heart.
Despite working with Emma this year, the last time I actually saw her in person – and probably her mentor Mike as well – would have been at the Keltic Country TV Irish Entertainment Awards at the Tullamore Court Hotel in November of 2019. As far as anything to do with her campaign went, we did everything by phone, email, messenger, you name it. We had little choice, of course, given the complications of the last year and the disruption that Covid has caused in all areas of life. This was my fourth time working with a contestant on the show, and my first time to be involved with a winning act. So I’ve been there before, seeing someone I believed in and wanted to succeed being voted out, or falling just short at the last hurdle. I’ve seen it happen, not understood it, been completely mystified by judges’ decisions, and ended up feeling completely deflated, frustrated, and disappointed. But I’ve never once become abusive about the show or anyone involved in it online, in either a direct or an indirect manner.
Normally the nights of the ‘live’ shows down at Quays Bar in Galway are bursting with excitement, full to the brim with fans and supporters of the contestants. Despite the nerves, the tension, the inevitable waiting around that comes with television, and sometimes the disappointment, the adrenaline and the fun of those nights always makes them memorable. That ‘live’ element of Glór Tíre has been a crucial factor in making the show the success it has been for close on two decades now. So it would have been understandable to some degree if the show’s producers had decided that the 2020 series could not finish, nor the 2021 series get underway without a ‘live’ audience being able to attend. But, to the credit of all involved, the power of that evergreen mantra of those who work in the entertainment industry – the show must go on! – was invoked. The 2020 series finally came to a conclusion in November of last year with Offaly’s own Alex Roe – with whom, by the way, I also had the pleasure of working with during his campaign – narrowly missing out on the crown of champion. And following that, also in November of last year, filming got underway for the first episodes of the 2021 edition.
Now, here’s a point that simply can’t be stressed enough when it comes to Glór Tire. I’ve mentioned it already, but it’s worth repeating. The show is not just about whoever the lucky contestants are each year. Yes, the focus of the show is on the contestants. But the show itself is not just about them. And that’s a distinction that seems to have been lost on a lot of people this year. Without the production crew, the presenters, the judges, the mentors, and of course the band… there is no show. It’s as simple as that. Every year a line-up of new contestants get the opportunity to perform on ‘live’ television, to a national audience, because the Glór Tíre set up is in place. Without each of those elements being in place, the spotlight never lands on any artist.
This year, everyone involved in the show was asked to accept a certain level of personal responsibility in adhering to the guidelines and regulations necessary for the safety of EVERYONE involved in the show. These guidelines and regulations were not in place just to protect the contestants. Again, they were there to protect the contestants, AND the production crew, AND the presenters, AND the judges, AND the band. And by extension, the family, friends and loved ones of all of those people. Those guidelines and regulations were in place so that the show had a chance to go ahead at all this year. They were in place so that six more new and young country music hopefuls could have a chance that simply does not come their way through any other media outlet in Ireland.
Everyone knew what was expected and needed from them at the beginning, and everyone agreed to it. Now, if you were to base your assessment of how well or otherwise this year’s series of Glór Tíre went from what you might have seen on social media at the time, you’d have been forgiven for thinking it was nothing less than an unmitigated disaster, organised by amateurs, and unnecessarily and recklessly cruel to some contestants. And not only that, you’d possibly end up being fully convinced that the show achieved nothing other than bringing country music into disrepute while calling the future of the whole scene into question.
The problem, of course, is that social media has become the best possible example of how the court of public opinion is so often formed on ignorance, and a few quick lines thoughtlessly thrown out into cyberspace with either no basis in reality or one that can usually be dismissed in well under a minute with a little careful examination. Simply put, a huge amount of the social media reaction to this year’s show was disgraceful nonsense. It served only to betray a lack of knowledge about the music industry in general, and – what’s worse in this case -a lack of any kind of genuine care about the country scene as a whole in particular.
Most of that negativity stemmed from the fact that two contestants had to withdraw from the show for breaching the Covid guidelines and regulations that were in place. According to some who felt so compelled to share their wisdom and insight, these guidelines and regulations should not have been enforced at all, and doing so only made a mockery of the show. Gimme a break. Two contestants broke the rules (whether accidentally, unintentionally, or unluckily), and had to withdraw, which was only right. But FOUR contestants did everything that was asked of them, from the beginning of their involvement on the show, to the end. Now this point has nothing to do with who those contestants were, on one side or the other, because that doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant. If, with circumstances such as they were, anyone broke the rules that were in place to protect EVERYONE, then the only right and fair thing to do was to leave the competition.
However, to go by the reaction of some (and I mean some supporters of those contestants here, not the contestants themselves, let me be very clear about that), you’d swear that when the two withdrawals occurred, there was absolutely no point in continuing on with the show from that point. The show was slammed in various comments as being a sham, rigged, nothing but a money-maker, and having only useless singers left in it anyway. Pardon my language here, but… bullshit, all of it.
If you think the rules of anything should only apply to whoever you care about, you’re deluded. If you think the best way of showing your support for someone is by throwing out insults in the direction of others, then you’re an asshole. If you seriously think that a show which has been a hugely valuable platform for new artists for so long should suddenly cease to exist just because your favourite contestant had to withdraw as a consequence of their own actions, then you’re a selfish, deluded asshole.
And it’s not just for new artists that Glór Tíre has done some service, either. Don’t forget that each mentor gets to perform a full-televised show every year as well. That fact should not be forgotten so easily. Long, long before The Late Late Show began trying to paint itself as an altruistic endorser and supporter of Irish country music – which it isn’t – Glór Tíre was there. While Glór Tíre creates a space for new and emerging talent to begin to make a name for themselves and build a career, The Late Late Show has a view of country music that can only be described as willfully and woefully myopic. The future of the Irish country music scene depends far more on Glór Tíre than it does on The Late Late Show, just as much as the country music as it is today, owes far more to Glór Tíre than it does to The Late Late Show.
Talk of the show being rigged, or a sham, or just a money-maker are each so equally preposterous as to warrant immediate dismissal rather than too much further time. But also, such ridiculous notions should never be just let slide. So…
Everybody knows the format of the show, and how the voting system works at the outset. It’s no secret. And nobody ever has a problem with it until…again…their favourite supposedly falls prey to something as sinister as…the obvious! Contestants who get the least votes run the risk of being in the bottom two, and having their fate then decided by the judges. If a contestant ends up in that position, that’s not the show’s fault, or the judges’ fault, or any of the other contestants’ fault. The system is the same for everyone, from start to finish. Now, I’m not for a minute saying that I’ve always agreed with every decision that the judges have made, because I most definitely have not. There have been occasions, including this year, when I’ve been left somewhat baffled. But, in those situations the judges are doing their job, and doing so as they best see fit. And that’s exactly what they’re there to do. And their opinions should be respected. Opinions will always differ, after all. That’s the nature of everything.
Perhaps the most sickening – and stupid – comments that kept showing up in one form or another revolved around the aspersions cast on the ability of the singers involved this year. Just think about that for a moment. Everyone who vomited up such ill-thought-through opinions considered themselves to be better judges of talent than the actual mentors on the show, AND the people involved in the production of the show who go through this process every year. Imagine being able to strut through life with that level of blissful arrogance? Must be some feeling. And every time comments such as those were posted, even if they didn’t actually name any of the remaining contestants, imagine how that felt for the singers who remained in the competition. Because the contestants would have seen them and heard about them, don’t think they didn’t. So imagine how that felt. How it felt for their families. Just think about that for a moment or two…
They’d done nothing wrong. They were just doing something they love, chasing a dream in what is a really tough industry to ‘make it’ in anyway. And yet, they were being subjected to such shameless and unnecessary negativity.
You can take it as fact that the people who were posting such comments did not – not even for a heartbeat – consider the feelings of anyone except themselves on those occasions. They were angry, they wanted to vent, so vent they did, just playing up to the online crowd by contributing their two-pence worth to a sewer of ramblings and ravings that never amounts to more than the manifestation of a ‘mob’ mentality in these situations. If they were in possession of even a shred of self-awareness, and for even half a heartbeat had thought about what they were writing and saying before finally publishing those comments, the sheer embarrassment of relaising that they were acting in such an entitled, childish, and – in some cases – just plain stupid way, would have been enough to make them delete every word as fast as possible.
But something else that you can take as fact is that those people would never come out with such rubbish if they ever found themselves standing face to face with any of the people involved in Glór Tíre and whom their comments were directed at. Just wouldn’t happen. Cowards tend to become rather shy when they venture out into daylight.
Being chosen to participate in Glór Tíre this year (as it is any year) was a brilliant achievement for all concerned. It should have led to a host of moments they could look back on proudly for the rest of their lives, regardless of where their careers do or don’t go following the show. And hopefully all six contestants will be able to look back on some moments that will always warm their hearts to remember. Unfortunately, however, everyone’s experience will have been tainted somewhat by some of the nonsense that polluted the comment sections on so many posts about the show.
One of the main reasons that seems to have allowed this to happen, is that a certain number of country ‘fans’ have come to take the existence of Glór Tíre in our lives, as part of the country music calendar, very much for granted. What a mistake, and what fools.
Glór Tíre has offered so many artists the chance to perform to a national audience for the first time. And the chance to perform on television for the first time. And sometimes, to perform with the backing of a full, professional band for the first time, too. Opportunities like that are priceless in the development of any new or emerging artist’s career. And, as the show always sees some of the more established artists on the Irish country scene mentoring each year’s contestants, you have a coming together of different generations, with some of those who have already been stars forever and some of those who are the stars of today, meeting and sharing their hard-won wisdom and experience with the potential stars of tomorrow.
THAT is what Glór Tíre makes happen every year. THAT is what Glór Tíre does for Irish country music every year.
And none of us should be taking it for granted. It deserves better.