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Midlands stars out in force at Hot Country Awards

Thursday, 10 May 2018

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Consistency signals sincerity. And for close on a decade now, HOT COUNTRY has been supporting, encouraging, and promoting country music in Ireland. For artists, Hugh O' Brien and his team have provided a platform from which they can deliver their music to fans, not only in Ireland, but through the Hot Country App, all over the world, too.  And for fans, this unprecedented access to so many of today's biggest names, all-time legends, and stars of tomorrow, has helped position country music front and centre in Irish entertainment. Undoubtedly, a huge factor in this has been Hot Country's Annual Awards Concert which has quite simply, and quite rightly, become the biggest night on the calendar - for artists and fans alike - as far as country music goes. 
Year on year, the show has steadily become more and more spectacular, reaching its pinnacle to date this year as the entire event was also recorded 'live' for later broadcast by industry specialists in event sound and vision staging, Spain AV. And this year's show,  which took place in the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan last week, was certainly a good place to be for fans of country music, or for anyone involved in country music, in the midlands, as there were familiar faces everywhere!
An occasion such as this, with an audience of over one-thousand in attendance, not to mention almost every single one of the scenes top-names, including Nathan Carter, Mike Denver, Cliona Hagan, and more - as well as the none-too-small matter of the whole show being recorded - certainly wouldn't be a place for nerves. And despite being the man chosen to kick-off the evening's proceedings, Clara's Alex Roe was probably the coolest man in the house before he went on-stage. He told us why....
"Well yeah, it was definitely the biggest crowd I've ever played to, no doubt about that. But I'd met both Nathan Carter and Cliona Hagan in the Green Room earlier on in the day and had a lovely chat with the two of them. They were both so nice, and had a bit of advice for me and everything, so that really settled down any nerves that might have been there before that. Nathan would be a big inspiration to me, so to get to chat with him like that on such a big night for me is something I'll always remember. And I ended up on Cliona's Snapchat, too! I'll always remember that as well! [laughs]." 
Banagher-man Colin Kenny returned to the Hot Country stage for the second year in a row, and he certainly made quite the impression on all present as he debuted his new single - and an original composition of his own at that - 'The Best Song of All Time.' 
"The Hot Country Awards are the biggest night there is in Irish country music, have been for years, and will continue to be. For me, getting to play here last year was such an honour. And such a thrill, too, as a performer, ya know. To share a stage with all of the greats in this business, and to sing for so many true fans of country music, it's what every artist wants to be a part of. So this year, I wanted to do something that would make the moment all the more memorable for me, and after all, what better place to sing a song of your own for the first time? I don't think there could be one. And thank God it went down really well, too! That's definitely kind of important! [laughs]. The song will be released on May 20th, on all digital platforms, and it will be with all radio stations before then as well. So hopefully it continues to get the same kind of positive reaction it got at the awards." 
Also flying the proverbial flag for the midlands, was the singer who's become affectionately known as 'the flower of Ferbane', Olivia Douglas, picking up one of the biggest prizes of the night when she was named as the Hottest Female Act In Irish Country Music, a trophy she can add to her ever growing collection which also includes the Gene Stuart Music Inspiration award which she collected at last year's show. Having just celebrated her second #1 single, 'Leaving Tipperary', from her just released new album, 'Forever Country', how did Olivia feel about the latest addition to her mantelpiece at home? 

"There's no pressure on me now with this one, sure there's not! [laughs] To be honest, and I've said this before, it's always such a pleasant surprise when something like this happens. I love performing, as we all do, and that's the main reason why any of us get into the music business. But having said that, it's really nice when all of the work that you put into something is recognised, too. And especially when it's the Hot Country Awards, cos' they've been around for so long and Hot Country is such a part of the whole scene itself, so yeah, there's definitely something special about having another one on the mantelpiece!"
As well as Alex, Colin, and Olivia, other artists from the midlands who were present or involved in the concert were the legendary TR Dallas, Ciaran Rosney, Stephen Rosney and The Back Axles, Ray Lynam, Larissa Tormey, and Pete Kennedy. And not forgetting Derek Ryan, of course, who hails from Carlow!
For country fans who couldn't make the trip to Cavan last week, don't be too disappointed because there's some good news! Hugh O' Brien will be bringing one of his Hot Country concerts to the Tuar Ard Arts Centre in Moate at the end of the month, on May 31st to be exact. The show will feature no less than five award-winners from this year's Hot Country Awards Concert, with Olivia and Alex joining Louise Morrissey, TR Dallas, and Liam Kelly on the bill. Tickets for this show are a snip at just 20 euro, and are available from the box-office at the Tuar Ard  (090-648-2042). The brand new and exclusive HOT COUNTRY PERSONALITIES souvenir book will also be available on the night, and Olivia, Louise, TR, Liam, and Alex are all included, so fans will have a chance to get their copies autographed on the night, too. 

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