Interview With Johnny Brady

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-11-20

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Interview with Johnny Brady

Antrim man Johnny Brady has just released ‘Dance With Me’, his third album in three years, and it is by his own admission a return to his Country music roots. Currently on a nationwide tour in support of the new record he spoke with Ronan Leonard ahead of his concert in Mallow.

Like many country artists he likes to demonstrate his song writing abilities as well as showing how he measures up against some Country standards, Johnny explained the selection of the songs, “the record features some classic country songs like ‘I’ll Be Your Baby’ by Bob Dylan (a version of which he already released with ‘Midnight Boogie’ in aid of Fighting Blindness) and ‘Just As Long As You Love Me’ by Buck Owens. Then there are a few contemporary songs such as ‘Footprints In The Sand’, first released by Leona Lewis, and ‘Chicken Fried’ by the Zak Brown Band and then a few originals that I’ve written.”

What really put Irish Country music back on the national consciousness recently was Crystal Swing’s hit with ‘She Drinks Tequila’, which Johnny thinks was a positive thing, “it was really great to see them do so well and end up on The Ellen Show and things like that. Playing with Crystal Swing is always good fun but I always say it’s almost impossible to follow Derek at a gig! He’s got so much energy and a real showman.”

Johnny has noted a large resurgence with Irish Country music and the dancing nights associated with the genre, “there are people who love the music and want to meet new people and enjoy themselves but not in places full of drink and loud music. The jive dancing is something I have seen become very popular in the last few years, sometimes I think it’s considered a ‘uncool’ to people who live in cities but around the country you see younger people coming back to it and really enjoying it. Luckily there are venues that have stuck to the idea of giving dancers and country fans the best night possible and book full live bands such as The Hazel Tree in Mallow, which is a gig everyone looks forward to playing. Not only are we playing there on Friday but it will also be where we play our first gig on 2015!”
Another factor he credits with Country music’s increased fan base is TG4’s TV series ‘Opry an Iúir’ and ‘Glór Tíre’, the popular Country & Western talent show on which he serves as a mentor, “the great thing about those shows is that it’s anopportunity to show what you do on national television. The days after you’ve been on an episode people are always coming up to you around the town saying how much they enjoyed it.”

Johnny’s connection to Country music is a very close one, “my mother is a cousin of Big Tom (widely acknowledged as ‘Ireland’s king of country music’) and when I was a boy I spent many happy occasions with my grandfather around Big Tom’s home. When I was a bit older I used to sweep the floor in his famous bar, the ‘Old Log Cabin’, which for many years was considered Irish Country Music Headquarters! I learned so many Country music songs there, it was all they played or sung there. It’s no coincidence that I’ve gone back to my roots really.”

Johnny Brady’s new album ‘Dance With Me’ is released today (Thursday 20 November) in physical format and online. For more details go to http://www.johnny-brady.co.uk

He plays The Hazel Wood in Mallow on Friday 21 November & 2 January 2015, tickets available via (022) 24301

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