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Saturday 3 December 2016

Music: Nathan's star just keeps on rising

Eddie Rowley

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Country singer Nathan Carter
Country singer Nathan Carter
Simon Casey with Ray Lynam.

When Nathan Carter first started performing in country music venues around Ireland seven years ago, the young Liverpool lad of Irish descent was often bitterly disappointed to find a handful of people at the gigs.

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Back then, Nathan, who turns 26 later this month, would pack up his gear and close the door behind him as he headed off into the night without singing a note.

What a difference a few years and a 'Wagon Wheel' (his hit song) have made to the young man's life. Today, the doors are also closed early at Nathan's shows - but now it's due to the venues being packed to the rafters.

In scenes reminiscent of Daniel O'Donnell's rise to stardom in the 1980s, Carter, a country and folk singer with pop idol good looks, has become a phenomenon. His albums regularly go to number one. His Christmas show on RTE last season attracted over 530,000 viewers.

And, just like Daniel, Nathan, main picture, meets and greets every single fan who queues up to see him after each show. He is a people person, also like Donegal's famous son. And it's a huge part of his appeal.

Nathan's brand new album, 'Stayin' Up All Night', is out now. It finishes with a track called 'Thank You', which he dedicates to his fans.

"They've put me where I am today and they keep me going," he acknowledges.

There's also a new song on Carter's album called 'Skinny Dipping'. But that's a Nathan story for another day.

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Simon’s on song with his idol

IL Simon and Ray.jpg

Simon Casey with Ray Lynam.

Simon Casey became a household name in Ireland back in 2002 and 2003 when the entire country was in the grip of ‘You’re A Star’ fever.

I don’t think there’s a single soul in Ireland who wasn’t glued to a TV set on the night the Ballycumber, Co Offaly, man went head to head with Mickey Joe Harte from Lifford, Co Donegal, in the final. Mickey Joe won and went on to represent Ireland in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in 11th place with a song called ‘We’ve Got The World’.

So whatever became of Simon Casey? Well, he’s been under the radar fronting one of the most successful wedding bands in the country for over a decade.

Simon also recently recorded with one of his country idols, the great Ray Lynam of The Hillbillies. Their superb duet single, ‘As She’s Waking Away’, is now out on iTunes and in all online music stores.

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