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.

Gigs, Dancing and Tours.

There are a few Irish music gigs coming up both in the UK and Ireland over the next few months I thought I’d just list a couple of what I think are really good ones, ones definitely worth buying a ticket for and attending.


I have a ticket to the Birmingham concert, Louise Morrissey has the most beautiful voice.  Louise has recently released the Johnny Logan Irish Eurovision winning song “What’s Another Year”, a really wonderful version of a fabulous song.

Michael English Irish Concert Tour Dates.

Michael English kicks of a huge Irish Concert Tour next month in Dublin accompanied by the legend that is Brendan Shine.  Michael will be touring the UK again next Spring, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for the tickets.

You know I’ve already secured my tickets – Whoop!!

A mini tour next March in the UK by a class singer/songwriter Derek Ryan.  I try to go and see Derek Ryan every time he is in Birmingham, whether it is a dance or a concert it is always a fabulous night out.


There are some big names from the Irish Country Music scene appearing at The Ryandale, Moy.  Ireland appears to be full of Country Music venues and there always seems to be such great bands on.  Festival season is coming to an end so hopefully a few of these will head for the UK over the Winter months.

September dates – Dancing at Dixie’s.

Dancing a Dixie’s is a great night out in Stradbally, Co Laois.  Every Friday evening see either established stars, up and coming stars and lesser know singers.  Entrance price includes a bar meal and Dixie’s offer special nights from time to time.

Music is a must for me.

Music is my magic potion, it can enhance and improve my mood tenfold, I can escape into the memories, the emotions and the sheer fun of some tracks. Are you a music lover?  What is your favourite genre?  What track really makes you sparkle?

The Music Sparkle.

New Music Friday.

There have been a few new releases on the Irish Country music scene in the past couple of weeks so I though I would share some of my favourites with you.

Firstly a wonderful singer, Patrick Feeney and “Step it out Mary”, I love the girl Irish dancing on the beach and throughout the video.  Patrick Feeney is known for his humour and often dresses up as characters for his video’s.  For me, I’m not sure it works so well in this video but I love the song and the video all the same.

I am a fan of Stuart Moyle, absolutely love his music, especially “Westport Town”.  The video to his latest release is beautiful, the magnificent Irish scenery is shown in all it’s glory and the song is a good one!  The video was made by Alan Clarke and apparently this took close to twelve months to plan and  implement.

Another favourite of mine is Lisa McHugh.  This girl works so hard and is now enjoying great success on the Irish music scene.  I love her version of “Girl with a Fishing Rod” and the video is just fabulous.

Not quite a new release as it has been out a little while but I thought I would include it in order to showcase another young artist, Ben Troy, this time singing the Springsteen song “I’m on Fire”.  I’ve seen Ben Troy live twice when he has been on tour with Derek Ryan in the UK.  A beautiful voice, I think he has a great future ahead with his music.

Robert Mizzell has a fabulous voice; an American singer who has settled and made his life in Ireland and doing brilliantly on the Irish music scene.  I love this song, “Two Rooms and a Kitchen”, it reminds me so much of being a little girl going home to Ireland on holiday with my parents to visit my grandparents.

Lastly for today, Jimmy Buckley, another great Irish singer/showman.  Part of the Three Amigo’s with Patrick Feeney and Robert Mizzell, Jimmy Buckley has a huge following in Ireland.  This is Jimmy’s latest dancefloor hit “A Pencil Full of Lead”.

I hope these have got your toes tapping or even got you up for a bit of a dance.

Happy Friday, share your sparkle.

The Music Sparkle.

It’s Friday!

In the words of Derek Ryan…It’s Friday!  This is one of our favourite Irish country tunes and Mom and I sing it each Friday and we sing along to the video when we watch it on You Tube.  Another favourite is from Michael English “Friday at the Dance” made especially enjoyable as my cousin is in the video (such a name dropper).

So, as it is Friday evening, it is pouring with rain here in Birmingham and I’ll admit, fairly chilly for a Summer evening, I decided to share with you some of my favourite, get you on your feet, Friday night, Irish country music songs.

Mam and I will be singing along to this one as Dad joins in when he can.

Yee Haw!!

An absolutely wonderful gentleman, with a great heart and a fabulous voice.  I love the Irish dancing in this video…Let’s Dance!

My favourite Irish country song of last Summer – just love the Summer vibes all over this video.

Thankfully I’ve had many a good night out in Temple Bar on my visits to Dublin, a great song from Nathan Carter.

A fantastic toe tapper, get up and move it tune from Lee Matthews.

I hope you have enjoyed my selection of Friday night Irish Country songs and I hope too that they have uplifted your inner sparkle and put a spring in your step.  Turn the music up and keep it country.

The Music Sparkle.

A Little New Music.

As you know I love Country Music and I love Irish Music which means that I also love Irish Country Music.  We regularly watch Keep It Country TV and the pleasure it brings to my parents is fabulous.  As well as the newer songs and artists, which I have to admit, Mom has a great eye and ear for the talent, we have been introduced to American Country Artists and sometimes we hear the old songs, the songs of bygone days in Ireland which my parents remember well.  You Tube is also a regular in our home, we really think there isn’t anything you can’t locate on You Tube.  Any song from the past that my parents think of, we can locate someone singing it on You Tube!

I thought I’d do a little round up of the latest Irish Country releases and share them with you.  You may already be a fan or perhaps I will introduce you to some of the fabulous talent currently taking the country music world by storm.  I hope you enjoy.

First up is Lisa McHugh and “Girl with a Fishing Rod” – very catchy song and I just love this video.

Derek Ryan is the most amazing singer songwriter, we have so many of his albums, all filled with his own compositions and a few covers.  I’ve seen Derek three times, twice at a dance and once in concert – excellent nights out.  This latest song is another huge hit for him and captures the magic of a festival night where he is appearing.

This is my song of the summer – such a happy video, everyone is smiling broadly and the sheer enjoyment of the dancing is plain to see – absolutely love this.  Michael English is another fabulous singer/songwriter.  Michael also has his own show on Keep it Country TV, Monday night at 11pm, repeated on Sunday afternoon at 5pm.

No round up would be complete without the fantastic Nathan Carter, I’ve now lost count of the times I have been to see Nathan perform!  This is a real chill out, summer holiday vibe kind of song and I have found myself “na na, na na na na na” at random times throughout the day.

This is a beautiful song from Johnny Brady, a wonderful sentiment and sang with real meaning.

I hope you have enjoyed my selection of the latest Irish music releases; I think Cliona Hagan and Michael English both have new singles coming out soon so some more new music coming soon.


The Music Sparkle.

Sunday Evening Country Music.

As you know I love to sing and I enjoy going to gigs to see my favourite singers, especially of the Irish Country kind. Music is an escape for me. It takes me into another world. I love singing the songs I remember from childhood and also new songs which I hear and have to make a note of immediately in case I forget them. I have a list on my iPad of songs to learn, songs to put my own mark on, to play around with how I can sing them. My head is always full of music, songs, dreams…

Last Sunday evening I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful concert. “Stars of Irish Country”. It was a fabulous evening. From long time singers such as John Hogan and Frank McCaffrey to a Queen of Irish Country, Louise Morrissey to the up and coming talents of Lee Matthews and Tracey Macauley. They were brilliant. From hits from the past to new material, engaging the audience, including the audience and singing their hearts out. The backing band “Keltic Storm” are awesome musicians and complimented the artists perfectly.

During the interval and after the show we had the opportunity to meet the stars and purchase their CD’s. I have waited two years for Lee Matthews to visit England and I wasn’t disappointed. A truly lovely lad who can really sing and entertain. He’ll surely go places. Meeting John Hogan was a delight, a favourite of my parents he is a true gentleman and with a unique voice. I can still hear him singing “Please help me I’m falling, in love with you”, in my head, just beautiful.

I was so happy to meet Louise Morrissey again. It has been a very long time since we met and she was still singing with her brothers then. A pitch perfect voice with such clarity and power, an inspiration. 

It was the sort of evening you just want to relive over and over again, a rare evening out for me these days and a very happy one.  If you get a chance, check some of their video’s out on You Tube.

A few pictures below of the evening.

The Music Sparkle.

Musical Dreams and Keeping it Country.

Recently I have been lucky enough to attend the gigs of three of my favourite Irish singers, John McNicholl, Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan. I grew up listening to Irish country music, Mam says I was trying to sing long before I could talk and used to pull myself up in my cot to wiggle to the music, long before I could walk. My uncle was in an Irish Showband and after playing in Birmingham on the night of my christening, the whole band arrived at my parents flat and played all night. 

I was always singing around our home, my parents used to ask why I couldn’t learn my schoolwork like I could learn the top twenty. I suppose I just loved songs and singing. Visiting my family in Tipperary as a teenager, my cousin and I were allowed to the dancehall in Dundrum to see the Irish Showbands on a Friday night. Tony Kenny, Red Hurley and my absolute favourites, Gina, Dale Haze and The Champions.  Once home I would pretend I was Gina, I sang to their records, bought a tambourine like Gina and our lounge was my stage.

When I was 19 an Irish music promoter telephoned to call me for an audition but my parents didn’t tell me, for three years!!! I was mad as hell but looking back I can see they were looking out for a very niave young girl.

As life moved on, I grew away from my roots and started to go clubbing, I loved dance music and dancing but I hardly ever sang. I lost touch with the top twenty, with my roots, my culture. Life was work, work, work and dance music. Dancing on a Friday night released the stress and pressure of the week. Housework was done to dance music, that trance beat had an euphoric affect on me and still does. A little bit of Swedish House Mafia is good for the soul.

Three years ago I joined the choir at Mass. I love it, it has compleltely enriched going to Mass for me. I always enjoyed singing the hymns but being part of the choir is just awesome. Around the same time, Mom was reading the Irish paper and seen John McNicholl so we decided to look him up on YouTube. Within a flash I was right back to my roots, I think it was lying asleep, like Sleeping Beauty, ready to be awakened by a handsome man, John McNicholl was that man!!

From there we discovered the other new, exciting and fabulous singers and now we listen to Irish Country Music all the time. We watch Irish Country Music shows on TV and when I can I attend the dances and concerts when our favourites are in town.

Last year I decided to have some vocal coaching, to see if I do actually have a voice. I love it!! I love it with a passion. Singing and songs have again taken over my mind and with life as it is currently, this is a huge escape from the anxieties, stresses and worries of the day. I have learnt so much about pitching, resonance, different voices, breathing…I am once again dreaming of being on that stage singing my heart out.

Below are some pictures of me with my gorgeous Irish music stars, I think you’ll guess my favourite 😉 Look their music up on You Tube, they are so talented, each different to the other and all brilliant.

Thank you for reading my blog 😀

Derek Ryan.

John McNicholl.

Nathan Carter.

Making dreams come true 💖