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Nathan Carter: It was an honour to work with such a gentleman who stayed forever humble

Where did you meet her? I met her at the Galtymore, is a famous line from a Brendan Shine song and I can say that it was there at the Galtymore in London, on the famous venue's closing night in 2008, that I first met Big Tom!

"We're looking for another support act to Big Tom who is going to headline the big closing night," the owner, Michael Burns, told me at the Irish World awards ceremony a few weeks before. "Would you be interested in coming along for a 45 minute slot?"

Needless to say, I was shocked and delighted at the very idea of it and, best of all, the event was to be held on the night of my 18th birthday, May 28. As a young musician who wanted to grasp every single opportunity that came my way, I couldn't have asked for a better way to begin my journey into adulthood.

When the big night came round I was in my glory, truly pinching myself that I was on stage in The Galtymore, warming up the crowd for Big Tom in front of 2,500 people. I was in awe of how someone at his stage in life was still packing in the crowds - what an honour to perform before such a living legend of Irish country music!

On the night, he was a true gentleman to me and a very humble man despite his huge fame and was always the same any time I met him. I was so saddened to hear of his passing.

To me, Big Tom will always conjure up memories of my childhood where I'd listen to him when in the car or at home with my nan and grandad and it was because of him and others like Daniel O'Donnell and Philomena Begley that I developed a true love of country music. I'd like to extend my sincere sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time.

Thank you for the music Big Tom. Forever the King of Irish Country.

Belfast Telegraph

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