Welcome to another installment of my country music diary.
Well, the first thing to admit is that it’s been longer than usual between updates this time and there’s one simple reason for that: I went on holidays!!
Now I haven’t been away on a beach somewhere ever since I was with you guys last, I don’t quite have the luxury of taking that much time-off just yet, as much as I’d like to! No, but I did manage to plan a little time away where I could recharge the batteries and take in some summer sun. And truth be told (as we’d probably all agree), it’s very hard to get going again when you come back from your holidays. You get so used to being relaxed that you don’t want anything to disturb that. And it’s a real shock to the system when something does…like life!
By the way, if anyone is expecting rock’n’roll type stories of excess from me, you’re going to be sorely disappointed! Sun, pool, bar, sleep, that was my routine. Not always in that exact order, but being a creature of habit, I didn’t stray too far away from it. I’ve always believed a holiday should be about slowing things down in your life anyway. Anything else is an adventure. And I get enough of those in the music business every week!
It was also my birthday since we last met here. Hard to believe I’m twenty-one at last, but that’s the truth of it! ; ) I’ll find it hard to believe next year again, but it’s what’s going to happen! If anybody shows up with a cake that has more than twenty-one candles on it, they’ll be taking part of that cake home with them again in a very different way than how they brought it to me in the first place! In all seriousness, though, a HUGE THANK-YOU to everybody who sent me their best wishes. I was truly overwhelmed and would love to be able to thank each of you in person.
Before I packed my bags and prayed to Saint Anthony to find my passport, I joined Robert Mizzell and Matt Leavy, two of my good friends on the country scene (and two gentlemen, too), as well as the fabulous and always glamorous Lisa McHugh, for the Sheerin Family Shindig. If anyone out there isn’t familiar with the Sheerin Family, well, I’m here to tell you that you might think you’re not, but if you’re a fan of country music, then you’ve probably heard members of this multi-talented clan on more records than you could imagine. They say that certain genes can sometimes skip a generation, but with the Sheerins, I think each generation just gets stronger than the last. They’re really something else. It was the first year of the Shindig, and judging by the turnout on the day and the amount of craic everybody enjoyed, I think it’s a safe bet to pencil into your festival diaries for the summer of 2018, too. Hopefully Carmel, Tom, and the gang will have me back again!
I’ve been busy as a bee since landing back in Ireland again, which is never a bad complaint, as they say! I’ve had all my own usual gigs (and remember, you can always find the details of where to catch me on my website, www.oliviadouglasmusic.com), and some other interesting and fun events, too. One of those was recording an interview for the Frank Kilbride show. Frank is a well-known figure on the Irish country music scene and I was delighted to be asked down to have a chat with him for his show.
I’m also one of the guest artists on a very special fundraising night Frank is running on July 31st. It’s titled ’25 of Ireland’s Kings & Queens’, so you can imagine the kind of big names who’ll be taking to the stage in Ferrick’s Hotel, Westmeath on the night. Fans who come along can look forward to performances from TR Dallas, Jimmy Buckley, Philomena Begley, Cliona Hagan, Mick Flavin, and Gerry Guthrie, to name but a small selection of the artists who will be helping to raise funds for the Longford/Westmeath Hospice, which is one of the most deserving of good causes.
Come early September and I’ll have the pleasure of being part of a veritable all-star cast once again for an event that has become a regular in the diary of many artists and fans alike. And that’s the annual Dance in aid of Cappawhite Senior Citizens in Cahir House Hotel in Tipperary. Now one reason this event has become so popular is the fact that funds raised are going to such a good place. Another reason is that the line-up of artists each year is always great, so not only can fans help make a positive contribution to a super organisation, they can jive away to their hearts’ content while doing so! But there’s another reason why so many people want to help make the annual Cappawhite dance a success, and that reason is a lady called Caroline Washe, one of the main organisers.
Caroline is a well-known face in country circles, and has been a friend and supporter to many different artists over the years. She’s always a friendly, lively, encouraging presence at gigs all across Ireland. So it’s no surprise that acts like Louise Morrissey, The Honky Tonk Angels, Jimmy, Cliona, and Matt who I’ve already mentioned, as well as Aidan Quinn, Seamus Moore, and more, are all so willing to show up and give a little back, not just to good causes, but to good people, too. And Caroline is certainly of those.
Speaking of Seamus, I’m delighted to be joining him for some of his summer tour dates this year. I’ve gigged with Seamus before, over in London, and at last year’s National Ploughing Championships, and the craic was well past ninety! If that makes no sense to some of you, let me explain. Craic, as you probably are aware, is an Irish term for having a great time. And saying the craic was ninety is like saying everybody was having an unbelievable time! So when I say the craic was well past ninety…well, you probably get the picture now!!
Some other big dates ahead, and about which I’ll write in more detail next time, are this year’s Irish Country Music Awards at the end of August, at which I’ll be performing. If anything else comes of the night it will be like having two Christmas Days in a row, because even to be there performing is an honour. I’m definitely excited about it! I’m also filming something for another show on TG4, and I’m really looking forward to that one, too. As I write, that’s just around the corner, so naturally enough (me being me!), I’m beginning to feel more nervous than anything….!
I’ll tell you all how it went when we meet again. And it won’t be as long again, I promise!!
Until then, everybody take care of yourselves and look out for each other.