Mike's just one star all set for summer with a sizzling single
This is the time of year when singers make a point of launching new singles to help them set the tone for what they naturally hope will prove a lucrative summer.
With the festival season about to move into full swing, there is a sense of anticipation in the air that the winter blues can be banished and life will become rather more free and easy.
That's the hope anyway, so it's no surprise to see Jimmy Buckley, Mike Denver, Robert Mizzell and Gerry Guthrie all launching new singles just now.
In fact, it's quite a race to see which of these artists can reach the top spot in the country music charts.
I always think that the longer evenings and the normally milder weather gives country dancing, in particular, and, of course, outdoor events a boost and I sincerely hope that it proves the case again.
For the moment, however, we can enjoy a feast of songs from our top flight artists.
And Jimmy Buckley now has reason to thank his good friend Derek Ryan for giving his career an added boost.
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In tandem with Owen Glackin, the prolific Derek has penned Jimmy's new single The Weekend, which is set to create a big impact within entertainment circles.
Jimmy had been keen to come up with a bouncy, upbeat number that would prove a hit in the major dancing venues and he has certainly succeeded.
The song is already receiving widespread airplay and seems destined for a lengthy stay in the charts.
It's a number calculated to create a tremendous atmosphere at country dances and Jimmy has certainly fallen in love with it.
"Derek's creative abilities are very much to the fore in relation to this number and I must say I am delighted with the final production," says Jimmy.
Jimmy, of course, is very much in the throes of a busy schedule right now, which, as well as taking him to venues throughout the country, will also see him perform in England and Scotland.
Mike Denver, meanwhile, has brought out The Craic Was Mighty in the Isle of Man and, as you would expect, it's a bouncy little number that shows Mike at his best.
He is someone who never seems to back a loser when it comes to choosing the material which he launches and I think that this latest record from him could go places. It is certainly tailor-made for Mike.
Robert Mizzell is hoping that his new recording of The Farmer will prove a big hit. It's a catchy song that Robert performs with his traditional gusto and I think it will be well-received on the various local radio stations across the country.
I note that Robert is as busy as ever and his band appears to be going as well as ever, which is a tribute to someone who has been an integral part of the entertainment scene here for the past couple of decades.
Gerry Guthrie is another performer who has come up with a brand new single. Tequila Sheila is a lively, upbeat number which will certainly create its own atmosphere in the country dancing venues.
For some time now, Gerry has been regarded as one of the most consistent acts on the country scene here in Ireland and his band is currently in big demand to appear at country music weekends and festivals.
"I fell in love with Tequila Sheila when I first heard it and I had been intending to record it for some time, but I never quite got round to it, because we have been so busy," he tells me.
Gerry, of course, already has several successful singles to his credit - including New Moon Over My Shoulder, Did She Mention My Name, If I Had You to Have and to Hold and The Old Guitar.
He will be hosting his own country dancing weekend at the Diamond Coast Hotel, Enniscrone, Co Sligo this weekend and the hotel package is already sold out. However, patrons can still attend on any of the three nights by purchasing their tickets at the door.
Among Gerry's guests over the course of the weekend are Robert Mizzell and the Country Kings, John Glenn and the Mainliners, Sandy Kelly, Olivia Douglas and Shaun O'Dowd.
Why I worried I’d make a total ass of myself...
I have referred to the retirement of producer Maggie Doyle elsewhere on this page, but there is one element of her life that I wish to allude to here.
It may not be generally known, but she is particularly fond of donkeys, having had them as part of her life for so long.
Maybe donkeys are not everyone’s cup of tea, but Maggie’s gentle nature certainly seems to help in drawing her closer to the animals.
When it was suggested to me that I maybe would like to take more of an interest in donkeys and their welfare, I have to admit that I was initially caught off-guard by the idea.
Not wanting to put a damper on the suggestion, I finally responded: “I wouldn’t want to make an ass of myself by not getting on with the donkeys!”