I had a look at Derek Ryan's tour schedule for the summer months and was astonished at the amount of gigs
his band are playing. Derek and his band are playing over 40 gigs in a 2 month tour from the 17th of June to 17 August with
many more lined up. There are very few bands on the Irish circuit who could match that amount of shows.
Derek and band are one of the most sought
after acts in Ireland, and I'm not just talking about country music. I'm talking about all singers and groups. Who would have
thought a few years ago that Irish country music would have taken the country by storm. But Derek is not the only one making
it big, all the country singers and bands have seen an upsurge in popularity in recent times.
Dance halls around Ireland are packed out most nights of the week, especially
the large venues who for years have been known as ''Country Music Venues''. The bands have being helped in no small way by
Glor Tir, the Irish Country Music Talent Contest.
But there are several other reasons why
country music has gotten more popular in Ireland, Irish people love to dance and there's no better acts to dance to than upbeat
Reason 3 is the fact that the music is ''live'' , you won't find many preformers
using the dreaded backing tracks while playing country songs except for the ''Pub Acts'' , you know the one's I'm talking
about. It's usually a 2 piece outfit using a keyboard and with a touch of a single finger he'll have a whole orchestra backing
him up. These people will even advertise themselves as a ''Live Gig''. Some will even use backing harmonies to back up their
own voice while pretending they are preforming live music.
Anyway back to the reason why Country songs have seen a resurgence. Another reason is the demise in the amount
of pop and folk groups doing the rounds in Ireland, a lot of the big name groups have either stopped playing or simply in
the case of The Dubliners, all died off. Bagatelle still preform but on a much smaller scale than before with one of the reason's
being that hardly anybody was coming to their shows. I was at a Bagatelle gig several years ago in Wexford and the only people
there were the 5 people who travelled to the show with myself.
The Fureys only play a hand full of Gigs in Ireland nowadays. The Wolfe Tones
are set to retire next year. Mary Black has only 1 gig advertised on her website for 2013. The Dublin City Ramblers, what's
left of them are based in Spain and don't do any Irish gigs. The Clancy Brothers have all passed on. All this left a gap in
the Irish music scene which has being filled by country music bands because the Irish love live music. You only have
to see all the ads running in the Sunday World every week to see how popular these groups have become. There are festivals
running all around Ireland in the large towns showcasing the best in Irish country music. I place these lyrics here to
let those who have not yet given the music a chance to have a listen as I have included a youtube video where available to
let you have a listen.