Norman Borland


Press Release via AS Written, April 2021


As we hit the last stretch of road into the summer months, it’s not just the return of the sun as a welcome presence in our lives that will be keeping smiles on faces over the next few weeks. The added good news for country music fans is that NORMAN BORLAND is on his way back too, with his second single of 2021! AND…he has a very special guest lending his immaculate country-as-country-should-be vocals to the track.           Not only is AIN’T NO LITTLE THING the perfect tune to get your feet dancin’ towards brighter days in every way, it sees Norman tag-team with country star GERRY GUTHRIE to lead you all the way there. 
          From the pen of Oregon native John Bunzow, Ain’t No Little Thing has the kind of country credentials that will have connoisseurs of the genre rubbing their hands in excited anticipation of the single’s May 7th release. Taken from Bunzow’s Pete Anderson produced Stories of the Years collection (1995), Ain’t NoLittle Thing was also featured on the Where Love Goes compilation, alongside cuts from artists as eminent and revered as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Emmylou Harris. Bunzow himself has been described by multiple Grammy-winning producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver) as being an artist who, “…destroys the boundaries between great rock, country, r ‘n’ b, and soul music by owning his noteworthy sound.” 
          Little wonder then, that Norman, known for his own love of the traditional, true country style of song and recording, knew this gem was one he wanted to put his own stamp on as soon as he heard it…
           “I’m constantly looking for songs that people might not have heard, or maybe not heard in a long while. I’m talkin’ ’bout the kind of songs that have that country sound that’s so undeniably ‘country’, it just changes your whole mood when you hear it. And let me tell you, this song falls right into that category. John Bunzow is such a fabulous writer. And you can tell by the quality of this song that it owes its existence to a man who has graced the Grand Ole Opry, and who has shared stages with people like Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Carl Perkins, and Trisha Yearwood. It’s a song that’s just begging to be part of a good time, and I think – and hope – that’s why fans will love it.” 
          Indeed, so convinced was Norman of the song’s feel-good factor, that he knew exactly what it needed to really highlight that quality…another voice. And there was one man in particular in Norman’s phonebook who he’d been waiting for an excuse to call…
          “No word of a lie, at the same time as I knew I definitely wanted to cut this song, I knew that I wanted to make it into something a little special by bringing another voice to the party, so to speak. And Gerry was the man that came to mind straight away for this one. There wasn’t even a list! That’s how sure I was that it was Gerry we needed on here. And I was delighted – honoured – when he said, sure, let’s do it. For my money, Gerry is one of the best country voices we’ve ever had. And trust me, for me to have him sing on this record, well that sure ain’t no little thing for me!” 

~ AIN’T NO LITTLE THING, the brand NEW single from NORMAN BORLAND, featuring GERRY GUTHRIE, will be available on all platforms from Friday, May 7th. 


Alex Roe


Press Release via AS Written, April 2021


Known more so for his catchy and fun songs, ALEX ROE is about to reveal a much softer side to his soul with the forthcoming release of his new single, I LOVED HER FIRST.           The midlands man has emerged as one of Irish country’s brightest new talents over the last few years, a trajectory that seemed certain to reach new heights in the summer of last year.  However, as we all know by now, the summer of 2020 was cancelled, and Alex’s career – to at least some extent – has slowed down to a speed he wasn’t expecting. And yet, that unexpected and unavoidable change in gear and circumstances may well have led the twenty-something year old from Clara in Offaly to explore songs that are more about the whisper of a heartbeat than the whirling of feet around a dancefloor. 
          “I was playing a lot of gigs before everything came to an end last year, and I’d been working to that same kind of a full diary for a good few years at that point. So you naturally tend to gravitate more towards the faster, more uptempo numbers that will keep people out on the floor. And the same applies when you think about what you’ll record. You want to entice people to come along to your shows because they like what they hear of you on the radio. Now, I’ve always had some slower songs in my set, the same as every artist would. But what’s happened during this break is that I’ve found myself turning more to songs like that when I’m just listening to music myself. And I suppose what I realised is that these songs – slower, more sentimental ones – they can connect with people just as easily. And that’s why I decided to record ‘I Loved Her First.'” 
          When it comes to tearjerkers, I Loved Her First is a song that shows no mercy when pulling on the heartstrings. Released by the American country band Heartland in the summer of 2006, it was both the title-track and the lead-off single from their debut album. Penned by songwriters Walt Aldridge and Elliott Park, I Loved Her First hit the top of the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart late in that same year. In the style of so many great country songs, what seems to begin as a straight-forward love song soon melts into a moment a little over three-and-a-half minutes long that has become a treasured and ever-lasting wedding day memory for countless fathers and daughters.  
          Roe first recorded a video of I Loved You First, which he debuted on his official Facebook music page back at the beginning of April. That video, recorded with Wayne Thorose at Ballyrose Studios, generated a reaction from fans that took the young country star by surprise…
          “Back when it had been safe to spend some time in a studio, we took the chance to put together a few things that we’d be able to use as the year went on. We didn’t know then how the rest of the year was going to turn out, so the plan was to have some content created for social media and that would help to keep things ticking over and make sure that I still had a way to reach out and connect with fans. But to be honest, the way this song has connected with people has been amazing. That very evening that I first posted it, I started getting messages from some radio presenters asking me to send them on the single, I couldn’t believe it. The first couple of times I explained that I’d just done a video for it and it wasn’t actually a single at all. But by the next morning, with more messages coming in all the time, I had changed my mind! [Laughs]. 
I gave Wayne a shout and said look, I think we actually have a single here!”          

Alex continued, “I’m just delighted that people are enjoying it so much. I actually had another single planned for around about now anyway, but given the response to ‘I Loved Her First’, we’ll just hold onto that one for another little while.” 

I LOVED HER FIRST, the brand NEW single from ALEX ROE, will be available on all platforms from Friday, April 30th. 


Cathy Jordan


Press Release via AS Written, April 2021


CATHY JORDAN has been the front-woman with traditional super group Dervish for nearly 30 years, and has dedicated her life to the nurturing and preservation of traditional music, and in particular, traditional songs. During her lifetime she has collected hundreds of these songs which otherwise might lay undiscovered and unsung, gathering dust in the archives.

          Her latest project – THE CRANKIE ISLAND SONGS – sees her collaborate with visual artist PETER CRANN in order to add yet another dimension to these beautiful gems. Any entwining of Cathy and Peter’s talents guarantees a project worth getting excited about. Cathy, after all, is one of Ireland’s most distinguished creative musical forces of any genre or era. And Peter is that ever so rare triple-threat of gentleman, artist, and craftsman in one, with a gift for evocative simplicity.

          This latest collaboration between the pair – named after a piece of vintage magic-making machinery, the memorably monikered CRANKIE BOX – bears all thehallmarks of both.

        The CRANKIE SONG PROJECT is an adventure that leads you into the realm of Irish history and mythology. It combines words, music and hand-drawn imagery to bring to life old Irish story-songs. This project will safeguard those songs, keeping the folklore behind them alive, while also presenting and preserving them for future generations in a way that is both authentic and newly evocative.

         In essence, a crankie box is exactly what it sounds like – a box which requires cranking in order to work, hence ‘crankie’ has become the term now most often used to name this very old art form. Originating in Europe in the late 18 th century, they were referred to as moving-panoramas during the 19th century. There were mid-sized moving-panoramas with scrolls around 18 inches in height. These were sometimes called ‘parlour panoramas’, and would have been used for smaller performances in the home or on the street.

          Amazingly, there were also larger moving-panoramas, ones of a size big enough to take up a whole stage, with scrolls 8 feet high or more, and hundreds of feet long. And in some cases, over a thousand feet long. Painted on canvas or muslin in the 19th century, it is believed that not more than 20 or so of these larger scrolls have survived to the present day.

          A crankie box is a simple mechanism that consists of two spools, upon which is wound an illustrated scroll, up to five metres in length. This is cranked by hand while the story is told, or a tune played. Or, as is the case with Cathy and Peter’s Crankie Song Project, while a song is sung, allowing a spool of images to play out in time with the music or song. A crankie box also acts as a kind of animation, and is the oldest form of movie-making. With what it may lack in sophistication, it more than makes up for in charm and immediacy. The cranking action is primitive, but what happens as it begins to work is a kind of magic that draws you deep into the unfolding story. The result is an intimate, almost dream-like form of storytelling, brought wonderfully to life in this project by Cathy and Peter.

          With these Crankie Island Songs, Cathy and Peter – with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland – have married their artistry, coming together to recount in sight and sound some of Ireland’s oldest story-songs via the portal of a custom-made crankie box. Nine of these videos are already available on YouTube (at Crankie Island Songs ) with more to follow.

          Crankie boxes are fashioned from up-cycled materials which are often found in charity shops. One of the boxes featured in this project was created from an old suitcase that once belonged to Cathy’s aunt, Eileen. In the skilled hands of Tony Travers, however, it has been turned into something new and wonderful, a way to bring to life old Irish tales in a way that is beautiful, elegant, and often heartbreaking and haunting.

          The latest song which Peter is working on illustrating will feature a scroll that comes in at seven metres in length. Also used in the project is an antique Spanish Cine Nic projector which allows a piece to include the added element of animation, a thrill which is particularly enjoyable on Eileen Óg (The Pride of Petravore). This project began by featuring three songs from Cathy’s native Roscommon; Eastersnowe, the beautiful unrequited love song Úna Bhán, and the above-mentioned Percy French classic Eileen Óg. The project also includes Pat O’ Brien, Fill A Rún Ó, and Deartháinín Ó Mo Chroí.

          Further counties have been featured since the project got underway, with a total of nine ‘crankies’ having been created to date. The long-term plan is that eventually songs from each county in Ireland will be available on an interactive map of the

          Crankie box performances can take place in any number of settings and as part of any number of occasions too. There is a ‘magic-lamp’ feeling to watching a crankie song come to life, with Cathy’s beautiful voice reaching all the way down into the pain and heartache of a millennia of souls, drawing you into the story as she sings, while Peter’s illustrations bring the song to visual life as they unspool before you.

          This project also includes beautiful musical collaborations with the likes of John Doyle, Mike McGoldrick, Nuala Kennedy, Claudia Schwab, Irene Buckley, Slow Moving Clouds, and Roger Tallroth.

The next song in the series – which is coming very soon – is one which is sure to raise a smile! And, as usual, all will be revealed on the Crankie Island Songs YouTube channel.

~ Subscribe to CRANKIE ISLAND SONGS on YouTube today, to experience the emotional power and pull of this storytelling genius for yourself.


David Connor


Press Release via AS Written, February 2021


DAVID CONNOR, one of the stars of the new series of TG4’s hit show GLOR TÍRE, has announced the release of his latest single, DOWN HOME. The man from Mayo has recorded a heartfelt version of the 1991 #1 from American country rock giants Alabama, which became available on all platforms at the end of January, and duly hit the top of the Irish country charts. 

          David, from Claremorris, is being mentored on this season’s Glor Tíre by none other than singer/songwriter MICHAEL ENGLISH, one of Irish country’s most accomplished male performers with numerous awards to his name. While this year’s series of the long-running show will be somewhat of a learning experience for everyone involved given the challenges of operating in the era of Covid, as far as the music side of things is concerned, David knows he couldn’t be in better company for learning! 

          “Michael is such a talented musician and performer, I’ve always been a big fan of his. His songs are brilliant, just so catchy and so lively to dance to as well. But more than just that, he’s the ultimate professional. For a man who’s so well known and who has had so much success, he’s just remarkably down to earth and humble to talk to. And he’s given me so much advice already. It doesn’t matter when I have a question – or if it’s something I might feel like is a shocking silly question to even have to be asking! [laughs] – Michael is always there with an answer. Whatever way Glór Tire ends up for us, I know that I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Michael is a pure gentleman.” 

          Indeed, those same words – a pure gentleman – have often been used to describe David himself in Mayo and the wider west. A stalwart of the ‘live’ music scene in that part of the world with his band, Southern Revival, David’s first adventure into a recording studio was back in 2016, and as befits the man, it was all to help others. As Mayo bravely battled ever onwards against the weight of history and a tidal-wave of expectation in their continuing pursuit of the Sam Maguire, David and his sister Jenny recorded the Mayo Cup Song, with all proceeds going to support a cystic fibrosis charity. 

          Country music has always been a central part of David’s life, so much so that he was, as he says himself, “reared on it!” He went on to add, “Mid-West radio was always on in our house, every hour of the day. It’s as ingrained into my memory as anything else that has made me who I am today, and that’s the truth.” While David’s first experience of actually singing on stage came in a youth variety show, it was in February of last year that he took his first steps onto the national scene, releasing his official debut single, a rousing version of the Zac Brown hit As She’s Walking Away. 

          That choice of song offered an insight into the influence of American country music on his life, with artists like John Fogarty, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, the Eagles and Elvis quick to roll off his tongue when enquiries are made as to his musical inspirations. He’s equally quick to add, however, that, like his dad, he was also a huge fan of Big Tom and the Mainliners. The follow-up to As She’s Walking Away came in August of 2020, a cover of the Luka Bloom song, You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time. And so it proved, with the track claiming the #1 spot on the iTunes Irish country chart on the day of its release. 

          With Down Home, produced by Wayne Thorose, as were those first two singles, David is returning to the American country songbook to share a song that – as a country boy himself – has long held a special place in his affections…

          “There’s so many lines in this song that I can relate to, and that are about the life I’ve always known and the life I try to live. This was always going to be a song I tried my hand at somewhere along the line. It’s about appreciating where you’re from, and the simple things that are actually so important in your life, all the characters and places that you’re so familiar with. I think country people in general, wherever you find them, are of a very friendly nature, in both difficult and happy times. It’s that community that reminds you that you’re in a place where – as it says in the song – ‘they know you by name and treat you like family.’ And, in the chorus as well, where ‘a man’s good word and a hand-shake are all you need.’ They’re simple little things, but they’re so important to me.”

          David already has the experience of opening for the Keane Family and Finbar Furey to his credit, as well as performing with 2010’s Glór Tíre winner Eunice Moran and her band. And, with his down-home charm and Down Home as his new single too, it’s a safe bet to say that there are many more big experiences still to come the way of the Claremorris man.

DOWN HOME, the brand NEW #1 single from DAVID CONNOR is OUT NOW, and is also available to request from radio. To stay fully up to date with David’s musical journey, you can follow him on Facebook and Instagram. 


Donie O


Press Release via AS Written, March 2021


With the clocks going forward last weekend and a new-look website up and running, country entertainer DONIE O is eyeing up a summer single in the coming weeks. 

          Although the ‘live’ music scene remains in a state somewhat akin to suspended animation, the show – in as much as it can – must go on. And with longer days rolling slowly in, Donie O is confident that brighter days are on the way back for the music industry as well. And while the exact details of how and when normality will return remain a mystery to all of us, there are two things the Roscrea native is very sure of. One, is that now is the time to prepare, and for him part of that process means a new-look website. And secondly, it’s very nearly time for some new music! 

          “It’s been a long time now since anything felt normal. There are days you’d even forget what normal felt like, as if the way things used to be was actually nothing more than a dream almost. And yet, ya know, there’ll also be days – or moments in days, shall we say – when you forget that things aren’t normal anymore, and you’d go to check the diary for some reason or whatever. But I do believe that we’re getting closer all the time to being back in a good place, and we might even be closer than we know to when we get there. So I think it’s important for anyone in this business, notwithstanding the difficulties that we still have to deal with, to keep an eye on what we can still do right now, as well as making sure that we’re ready to get back to business as soon as the opportunity comes.”

          To that end, Donie O has just revamped his website and is also planning the release of an early summer single in the next few weeks. That track, which he’ll be announcing full details of in the coming weeks, will be the follow up to his most successful release to date, A Picture Of You. It will also become the second single to showcase what will be Donie O’s second album, scheduled – all going well – for release before the end of the year. 

          “It’s important to refresh every part of what you do as an artist every now and then, and a website is no different. In fact, your website might be more important than anything really, because that’s like your business headquarters online. Your social media is more for day-to-day stuff, so it all needs to be very fluid. So we took a look at the website over the last couple of months and just gave it a bit of a revamp.”

          Donie O continued, “It’s been hard to even get near a studio for most of the last year, of course, so that’s made recording anything extremely difficult. Luckily enough, we had work started on some tracks with Peter Maher, and that meant we were in a good position to at least keep advancing things bit by bit. We always had a fairly good idea of what the follow-up to ‘A Picture Of You’ would be anyway. So thankfully we’re now fairly close to the point where the last few parts of the songs have been taken care of, and things are nearly ready to go. We’re looking at an early summer release date, so please God we’ll be back on the radio with something new in early May or thereabouts.” 

~ To stay up to date with the latest info on Donie O’s new single and forthcoming album, you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at Donie O Music. And you can check out his newly revamped website at