Take a walk on the Pride side of life
He's the Pride of the country 'n' western world ... and headed this way. Damien Murray salutes a proper Charley
One of C'n'W's all-time best-sellers, Charley Pride, who is second in sales only to Elvis Presley on RCA Records, makes his anticipated return to the Waterfront Hall on Sunday and Monday.
The Texan singer's incredible legacy includes three dozen chart-topping country songs plus more than 70 million albums sold since 1969, when he first hit the top of the singles chart with All I Have To Offer You (Is Me).
Dozens of Pride's chart toppers now stand as modern classics, while his Kiss An Angel Good Morning recording went on to be a million-selling crossover single and helped Pride land Country Music Association Awards as Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.
Other Pride standards include Crystal Chandeliers, Is Anybody Goin To San Antone?, Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town and Someone Loves You Honey.
Freddie White, who appears at the Real Music Club at the Errigle Inn on Thursday, has long been synonymous with music of the highest quality.
Whether interpreting songs by his favourite writers, such as Randy Newman, Tom Waits, John Hiatt and Guy Clark, or performing his own classy compositions, White's live performances are nothing short of legendary.
Born in Cobh, Co Cork, into a musical family, he was playing professionally by the age of 17 and moved to London two years later and, while busking there in the subways, developed his unique voice and guitar style.
He was a founding member of Scullion and later formed one of the seminal Irish bands of the late 1970s, The Fake, before forming The Freddie White Band in 1978. With his early albums, White introduced an eclectic repertoire of music, which spanned musical genres and eras, to an Irish audience.
Since returning to Ireland in 2004 after many years living in America, he has regularly toured and during the past year has dedicated himself to the development of his latest recording, collaborating with songwriters Jimmy MacCarthy and Jim Barrett.
This latest offering, the acoustic-feeling Stormy Lullaby, is a stunning collection of moody tracks in which White's musicianship and voice shine through.
The album showcases what he does best — that is 'get inside' and deliver heartrending, troubled love songs in a manner guaranteed to stop you in your tracks.
Local singer-songwriter, Ben Glover, is not only topical at this time of year because of the title of his excellent album, The Week The Clocks Changed, but also because of all of the top-notch artists who showcased their music in America two weeks ago, as part of the Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission's series of concerts for industry heads, it was Glover who made the most of his time by networking with some high-profile music names, including the legendary Willie Nelson.
Look out for both the great blues vocals and guitar playing of Ireland's answer to Bonnie Riatt, Grainne Duffy, when she appears with her full band at Belfast's Rotterdam Bar on Thursday and for the angelic vocal tones of Tommy Fleming, which will be ringing around Cookstown's Burnavon Theatre when the Sligo singer appears in concert there tomorrow night.
Finally, a reminder that the remaining local dates on Hal Ketchum's current tour include St Joseph's Hall, Omagh (tonight), Coleraine's Riverside Theatre (tomorrow), Armagh's Market Place Theatre (Tuesday), Belfast's Waterfront Studio (Wednesday), Enniskillen's Ardhowen Theatre (Thursday and Friday) and The Millennium Forum, Londonderry (April 13).