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Sunday 11 December 2016

Music with Rockin Rowley: Can't slow Feeney down

Eddie Rowley

Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30

Patrick Feeney
Patrick Feeney
Kris Kristofferson

Top Irish country singer Patrick Feeney's world came crashing down at the age of 30. In March 2013, Feeney's physical condition was that of an old man. "I was so angry and so depressed," he says.

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Four years earlier, the cattle farmer and entertainer from Culfadda, Co Sligo, had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which affects the digestive system. "I got treatment and it was pretty much under control," Patrick reveals.

Two years later came the shock news that he also had Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare form of arthritis which affects every joint in the body.

At that point, Patrick had established himself as one of the new country sensations, with a hectic schedule playing dance venues nationwide.

"What really frightened me was the day a consultant told me that if I didn't change my life I'd end up in a wheelchair," he reveals.

The singer immediately cut back on his touring schedule, and with treatment his condition has improved. "I'm not as energetic as I was and I get tired a lot easier, but I space out my performing over the year," he says. "The rest of the time I'm down on the farm."

The Sligo man breeds Limousin cattle on his 40-ac farm at Culfadda. "It's light farming for me and it's like a hobby," he says.

As well as being a star in his own right, Feeney is a celebrated performer in Irish supergroup The Three Amigos with Jimmy Buckley and Robert Mizzell.

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One of our great Irish voices - he does a spine-tingling live version of the ballad 'Boolavogue' - Feeney has just released a new solo album called 'I Believe'. It's sheer class all the way as he puts his unique stamp on stand out tracks like 'Someone To Love Me', 'Emigrant Eyes', 'Red Haired Mary' and 'A Place In The Choir'.

Must be something in Kris' music

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American country legend Kris Kristofferson, above, who recently performed in Ireland, will be 80-years-old on June 22. He lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle in his day, but somehow looks a decade younger than the years on his clock. It must be something to do with the music.

Having written and recorded such hit songs as 'Me And Bobby McGee,' 'For The Good Times,' 'Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down' and 'Help Me Make It Through The Night', he is one of the most influential and admired musicians in the world.

A 16-CD deluxe box set of Kristofferson's recordings, 'The Complete Monument & Columbia Album Collection', will be released on Friday, June 10.

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