The Music Sparkle.

Musical Vibes.

Somehow, throughout the last three months of illness here at home, I have managed to keep some music going in my life.  Music is my respite. I can escape into it. It brings me peace, harmony, balance and happiness.  Even if I am wallowing in the saddest of songs, it brings me comfort.  I can dance around the kitchen to trance music and lose myself in the words of a country love song or the lyrics of old Ireland.  I am lucky that my guitar tutor comes to me for my lessons and I have been having my vocal coaching sessions online also.

So, the story so far…

I have all the backing tracks I require in order to record seven tracks.  It has been a steep learning curve so far.  License agreements – the two companies I have bought my backing tracks from work very differently.  One based in the UK has far superior tracks, a one off fee and job done, I can use it.  The other, head office in France, has excellent backing tracks, no charges initially, I think I need 100,000 downloads from Facebook…can you imagine that…I’ll be ecstatic if I get one download from anywhere!


I’ve been practising when I can, I need to be note perfect plus I need to come in on que. I do have a habit of getting lost in the intro music and forgetting to sing.  I’ve also been making a list, which is becoming a never ending list of things to do.  I think of one thing which leads to another, then another and another.  All things which I know little or nothing about and with being a full time carer, time is premium and these items on my to do list need to be researched fully and properly.

Mom, Dad and I decided that my “Professional” name will be Dawn McDermott Music. I already have cousins in Ireland using my surname professionally so we chose another family name for my foray into music.  Last weekend I set up my Facebook Music Page 

There isn’t much content yet of course and I think I mentioned before, self promotion is not my thing.  After much thought about this I decided that in the end, I just have to be me.  I can’t let the unknown scare me.  I have no grand expectations of overnight stardom, number one on iTunes etc.  I am doing what I love as my hobby and respite. I am making a few dreams come true for myself.  I just want to sing the songs I love and if in turn they make people happy then that will be such a huge bonus for me.


I have also set up my Twitter Music Account. If you would like to follow me on my musical journey on either Facebook or Twitter I would love that. Thank you.

All being well, recording date is set at 22nd June and again I am fortunate in that my guitar tutor has a mobile recording studio and can come to me.  My Vocal Coach will also be here and my chap has taken the day off work so that he can be here to help with Mom and Dad whilst I am recording for two hours.  I would think the recording will be ready two to three weeks later and then hopefully I’ll be shooting a couple of video’s in late Summer. Even as I type this it is all unbelievable.

A very good friend for many, many years is shooting the video’s with me.  He is a fabulous short film maker and this is a new project for him also and we are both really excited about this.  Check out some of Mulk’s films here Mulk Raj.

And so for now, that is where I am with the music hobby/project.  Still lots of research, broadcasting licenses, iTunes, Amazon Music, CD’s etc…once you start these things you realise there is a lot more to it than you originally thought.  I’m just going to go with the flow and do things as and when time allows.  Thank you for your support so far and I hope you will continue to support me as I travel along this path.

Pictures via Pinterest.

With love and sparkles xx




The Music Sparkle.

Concert Time – Nashville.

With everything that has been going on at home, I didn’t think I would make it out to the various concerts I have had tickets for for months. It was touch and go as usual and I just made it in time for the start, but make it I did to the Nashville Farewell Tour. These guys are incredible, such fantastic musicians, wonderful vocals and they can act as well. Clare Bowen, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack and Jonathan Jackson. What a team of performers with almost tangible love and respect for each other. I think they are all brilliant but I do have a favourite, Jonathan Jackson has one of the most amazing vocal ranges I have ever heard. His version of “Unchained Melody” dedicated to his wife, was just perfect.

I have a few pictures and video’s to share. It was a super show and of course now I’m hoping for the “Nashville Reunion Tour” at some point. I’m only half way through series four of the TV show so hopefully I’ll have caught up by the time of another tour!

Jonathan Jackson.
Jonathan Jackson – Avery in Nashville.
Sam Palladio
Sam Palladio – Gunner in Nashville.
Chris Carmack
Chris Carmack – Will in Nashville.
Clare Bowen
Clare Bowen – Scarlett in Nashville.
Charles Esten and Clare Bowen
Charles Esten and Clare Bowen. Deacon and Scarlett in Nashville.




I love these guys so much, the happiness, the music, the TV show, they have brought so much to our family.  This is the only TV show that Mom will now watch all the way through without issue and that in itself is worth millions to me.  I’m not that good at taking video’s at concerts but I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

I wish you all a life that’s good with plenty of sparkle xx

All photo’s and video’s on this post are mine.

The Music Sparkle.

New Music – Peter Hollens.

Our latest new music find and I have to admit it was my parents who discovered Peter Hollens.  What a voice!  Peter is an A Cappella singer and he has collaborated with the wonderful “Home Free” who I recently blogged about.  I love his post video chat, he is so full of enthusiasm, his love of the music and his engagement with his followers, he is inspirational to me on my musical journey.

I’ll let you judge for yourselves; I have chosen below a few of our favourites.  My parents love these folk songs and they are so very calming to listen to.  Peter’s latest release which features Tim Foust from Home Free is just incredible.  “Greensleeves” is for me complete perfection in one video.  Let me know what you think.





You can locate Peter Hollens on his website

I hope you have enjoyed this A Cappella Musical Interlude…and calm with the sparkles x


The Music Sparkle.

Home Free.

A few months ago I discovered Home Free.  As usual I am late to the party.  I am now however completely obsessed and I mean OBSESSED.  I cannot get enough of listening to these guys sing, such wonderful harmonies.  I completely forget that every sound is made just by their voices, no musical instruments at all.  I believe they may be about to announce a European tour and I really hope Birmingham is on their list…I keep tweeting them to include Birmingham within their schedule. Did I mention that they are kinda hot too!

I’ll share a few of my favourite songs below. I’ve limited myself to four otherwise this could be my largest blog post ever and  you wouldn’t need to visit their You Tube Channel.  If you’d like to check them out yourself  you’ll find them at:

Home Free


This is just so perfect, the voices, the hymn, the scenery. It is well with my soul.

The Home Free guys usually inject some humour into their video’s. All About the Bass…oh those voices!!  My junk is in all the right places 🙂

I so want to meet these guys for a beer on a Friday night.

Such a beautiful song and a wonderful video.  The guys asked seven couples to chose a photograph from their past, their memories…love is Timeless.

Well I have happily had a Monday morning fix of Home Free which has set me up for the day.  Just another reason why Music is my salvation and my heart and soul are Country. To be able to escape into these video’s, sing the songs and dance just uplifts me and I can take on whatever the day throws my way…which as you know can be just about anything as a full time carer to my parents.

Proud to call myself a Home Fry!

Happy Monday, wishing you a totally sparkling week ahead.

The Music Sparkle.

Do It Anyway.

Regular readers of my blog know that I love to sing and that I have been visiting a wonderful vocal coach, Christine, for a number of reasons. The main reason is that singing brings me stress relief; life as a full time carer to two elderly parents is not easy, it’s harder work than I ever thought it was going to be so stress relief of the singing kind works for me.

I have so enjoyed learning about the voice, to hear my own voice develop, to hear the clarity of the notes I can produce and to know that I am blessed with a good vocal range an a natural vibrato (apparently some singers would kill for a vibrato)!!

I am coming on well now with my Guitar lessons.  Since Christmas I can actually get the sound of a few chords from the Guitar and I bought myself a new Guitar book “American Country Hits” so that I can practice the chords and learn the songs at the same time.  It has taken time and I have more or less cracked “Jambalaya”, very little plink and thunk on that one now. I am learning, practising four more songs and I want to download the guitar chords for some of the Irish traditional songs and country songs that I love to sing.

At the start of the year I mentioned to my Guitar tutor that it would be a dream come true for me to record some songs.  I don’t care if anyone bought them or not, but to have recorded and released some songs would be just awesome.  He informed me that he can help me with that as he can bring a mobile recording studio to me here at home and we can record away. I’ve to choose four or five tracks so that we can utilise the recording time and keep cost to a minimum. He can then do the mixing at his professional studio.

My vocal coach is almost as excited as I am about this.  Every time I think about it I get a headache with excitement.  Of course this has now thrown me into a world I know nothing about, the music business…something new to learn.

Choosing four or five songs may sound easy but it is proving to be a little difficult. There is only one I am absolutely sure of and I keep changing my mind about the other four. I have backing tracks but I need to shop around for the best sounding tracks and then I need to check on the licensing.  Most that I purchase online are licensed for private use or public performance but not recording.  I require permission to use the track and there may be an additional cost.

I also need to research public broadcast licensing and how royalties work. I’ve been told to start getting things ready; website (although there won’t be much content at first), photo shoot (who me?), video’s for the songs (really, me in a music video?) and to get to grips with self promotion.

These are things I really want to do, this is very much dream come true time and if I can get these things done before I set foot on a stage to sing it will boost my confidence enormously. It really is a case of “Feel the fear and do it anyway” for me. However, I’m a full time carer to both of my parents along with running the home and everything that goes with that.  I have very limited free time.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do it but you can bet your bottom dollar that any free time I have will be spent on the music dream.

I have put together another video.  One of my favourite songs is “Making Memories of Us” which is sang by Keith Urban and also a couple of my favourite Irish singers; Mike Denver and Derek Ryan.  I managed to locate a good backing track but the key may be not quite right.  I can just about hit the bass notes but if I take the key higher, the higher notes may be off.

I used photographs of places I have been on holiday with my lovely boyfriend over the years for the video.  Places where we now have memories of being there together from taking him home to Ireland to visit Galway where my Mom is from to our summer holidays in Spain, Portugal and England.

Please give it a listen and let me know what you think.  Thank you for supporting me on this journey to my dream.

The Music Sparkle.

New Music.

It’s been ages since I posted any new music video’s from our fabulous Irish music stars and we have had some great new music releases over the past month or so.  There are one or two included which date back to the end of last year and which I didn’t get an opportunity to include on my blog.

First up is a couple from Nathan Carter.  Last year Nathan held his first Arena concerts, one in Dublin and one in Belfast.  Both were sold out and the Belfast concert has been voted as the Arena Concert of the Year by voters for the SSE Live Awards.  I recently purchased the Live DVD of the Dublin show and it is absolutely fantastic.  Mam, Dad and myself sat and watched the concert and we all sang along. As I had only seen Nathan live in concert in Birmingham the week before I was really buzzing.  Below is an extract from the show with the Glen Campbell Medley.  Also below is the video to Nathan’s latest song written by Nathan and Don Mescall.  Released for Valentine’s Day it has a lovely message of eternal love with a connection to Alzheimer’s. Just beautiful.

Derek Ryan is one of Ireland’s most successful singer/songwriters of the current time. His latest release is a fun offering “Down on your Uppers”.  I think he could write a song about anything!

Lisa McHugh had a huge hit last year with “Girl with a Fishing Rod”.  This is her latest release “Country Girl”.  It took me a few plays and I really quite like it now.  Of course the video’s help, I love to see the story unfolding.

Michael English is another fabulous singer/songwriter and last year Michael filmed his first Live DVD at the INEC Killarney.  The night was a fantastic success and seeing the clips on his weekly TV show and on other shows, it looks like an amazing night with big bands, Irish Dancing and a great mix of music.  Below is the video for “Ten Guitars”.

I hope you have enjoyed this small selection of music, more to follow…

The Music Sparkle.

Dancing Feet and Cowboy Boots.

It’s a while since I managed to post a catch up blog, it’s on my to do list. However, last night I managed to get out to see my favourite Irish music star, John McNicholl and I just had to post a few pictures tonight.

John doesn’t visit Birmingham too often and as I am unable to travel to see him in other parts of the UK or Ireland, I have to wait for him to play my city and hope I can get out to the dance. It takes some strategic planning these days to do so, especially as it entails a late night but things worked in my favour last night and Cinderella did go to the ball. Cinderella also checked her phone every five minutes but that’s how it goes these days. I was so glad I was there. John has a fabulously rich voice and sings not only Irish and Irish Country music but also some Rock and Roll, Sixties and last night we had some Neil Diamond too. John has boundless energy on stage, a real entertainer. He has a great band of musicians with him, the music is wonderful. I was up on that dance floor almost all night, I made the most of the freedom I was enjoying, I felt like me again, if that makes sense? My knees are paying the price today though…

There are a lovely bunch of people I meet at John’s gigs and I’ve made some wonderful friends over the past four years. I was really feeling the love last night from them all. They had missed me posting on Facebook (I had no idea I hadn’t posted there since August), they were concerned about me, was I ok? Was I getting out? I’m still feeling emotional from the genuine concern and caring about me from these friends. I feel so loved by them and that feels so warm and comforting.

John himself is a true gentleman and I am so happy to count him as a friend also. Rumour has it that he is back in Birmingham in January so fingers crossed I’ll be pulling on the cowboy boots and heading for the dance floor again then.

So, a few photos from last night, I was so happy, I made them all have their photo taken with me.

John McNicholl

John McNicholl

John McNicholl

Shane who plays Guitar in John’s band.

Johnny who plays the drums in the band.

My friend April and myself.

I’m wearing the dress I bought for my Graduation which I ended up deferring until next year. However, I’m so happy with how I look for a change, that 22 lbs weight loss makes such a difference. No wonder I was a diva on the dance floor, I had the energy to do so!!

© @aurorasparkles 2017

The Music Sparkle.

A Happy Night Out.

Louise Morrissey

I’m a little late in blogging about the Stars of Irish Country concert I attended at the end of September; it’s been a challenging couple of weeks on the sleep/home front but I’ll leave that for another blog post.
The concert was fantastic. Four very different artists, different styles of singing, different types of songs and a wonderful backing band in Keltic Storm made for a fabulous night of Irish/Country music.

First up was Frank McCaffrey, a lovely man with a long career in Irish music and a gentle, musical voice. He sang traditional and modern songs; “When I was a Lad”, “I’ll take you home again Kathleen”, “The clock in the Tower” and “Look at us” to name a few of his hits over the years.

Frank McCaffrey

Then came the Tipperary Queen Louise Morrissey. Oh what a voice this lady has. Not a note out of place. Next year celebrating thirty years in the business Louise sang songs new and old from her latest CD, “What’s Another Year” a three CD set each celebrating a decade in the world of Irish music. I got a signed copy for Mam and Dad and it is just heavenly to listen to the voice of such a beautiful songbird.  Louise is touring with Derek Ryan next year and I already have my tickets for that concert in March.

Louise Morrissey

Next up was Mick Flavin who is this year celebrating his thirty year anniversary in the business. He spoke to people in the audience who have been attending his concerts and dances in Birmingham for thirty years. Mick has a wonderfully deep voice and can hit extremely low notes with little effort. “Wildflowers don’t care where they grow” and “The old schoolyard” are favourites of ours at home and he sang both.

Mick Flavin

Next up was Stephen Smyth who I knew nothing about but wow, was I blown away by this man’s voice. He was incredible. He sang, he danced, he played the fiddle and the tin whistle. He sang new songs, old songs, songs from the Irish Showband era of Joe Dolan and Brendan Bowyer. It was extremely difficult to stay sitting in my seat I wanted so much to dance. His rendition of “Noreen Bawn” gave me goosebumps. I would most definitely go to see him perform again.

Stephen Smyth

And of course a couple of pictures of me with Louise Morrissey and Stephen Smyth.

It was a very happy night, I’m so glad I managed to get out to attend the concert. My next Irish music date, all being well, is with the gorgeous gentlemen that is John McNicholl which is in November. Fingers crossed there will be plenty of dancing that night.

© @aurorasparkles

The Music Sparkle.

I fell into a…

Burning Ring of Fire!!! No, I haven’t just fallen in love but I have fallen headlong into a song. An absolutely iconic song originally from Johnny Cash and sang by many artists throughout the years. I love dancing and singing to this when I get the opportunity to attend an Irish dance as the artist usually sings this as part of a medley.

Over this past year I’ve become a huge fan of the US TV show “Nashville”, I’m a confirmed, totally obsessed #Nashie even though we are way behind on episodes. We’re on Series three and I believe Series six is due to air in the US in January. In Series one, Clare Bowen who plays Scarlett O’Connor sang her version of the song, “Love’s Ring of Fire”. I love it!

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I love to sing; it is my escape and I so enjoy visiting my wonderful vocal coach and stretching my vocal range, I’ve been amazed by my abilities over the last couple of years. I can’t visit her as often as I’d like to and sometimes even practising the vocal exercises is impossible as time just flies and I can’t get twenty minutes to myself to sing. When I do though it feels so good, a total uplifting release of stress for those few minutes, it is pure bliss.

I like to try out songs I wouldn’t usually sing and recently whilst looking up a karaoke version of “My Life” by Billy Joel, next in line to it was a karaoke version of “Ring of Fire”.  I couldn’t resist singing it.

Now, I am being extremely brave, I’m posting my version here on my blog. It’s a rough version, recorded on my iPhone, in our conservatory.  It makes me unbelievably happy to sing this song and up until a week ago I wouldn’t have dreamt I could sing it.

I’d love to know what you think but please be kind. One of these days I’m going to get confidence enough to get up on a stage and sing…one of these days…


The Music Sparkle.

New Music.

Our fabulous Irish Music stars have a host of recently released new music, these are very popular songs already and are featuring on the various Country Music shows on Keep it Country TV and also on the various internet radio stations.

The second single from the forthcoming new album “The Fire” and filmed in and around County Carlow (where my Dad is from), this is another sure fire hit for Derek Ryan.

I can’t help but feel this one was released a little late in the season as the children are now back at school.  Once again Nathan Carter pulls a hit out of the hat.

What can I say about the latest offering from the fabulous Michael English.  You’ll definitely want to get up and dance.  Taken from the forthcoming live DVD filmed in Killarney, I cannot wait to see the whole DVD, a must for my Christmas list.

I really enjoy Gerry Guthrie singing, he has developed his own identifiable sound.  This is a great track and a lovely video.

Robert Mizzell has a wonderful voice. Originally from Louisiana and now living in Ireland, Robert is extremely popular.  I’ve not seen him live yet but I hope he will tour the UK.  This is a beautiful song and video.  All proceeds to Marie Keating Foundation.

I hope you have enjoyed my selection of the latest releases, no doubt I’ll sharing more in the next few weeks…