Thursday 29 September 2016

Rockin' Rowley: Bound for glory with the High Kings

Eddie Rowley

Published 22/06/2016 | 02:30

International career: Brian Dunphy
International career: Brian Dunphy
Lee Matthews
Mike Denver

It's the tiny gestures that often create major personal memories to be cherished. Take a look on YouTube at the late Sean Dunphy singing 'If I Could Choose' when he represented Ireland in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.

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There's a moment towards the end of his performance at that year's Eurovision in Vienna when the TV camera zooms in on Dunphy's face. In those few seconds, smooth baritone singer Sean gives a subtle wink and makes his little son's heart jump with joy back home in Dublin.

That child was Brian Dunphy, who is now enjoying an international career with Ireland's top ballad group, The High Kings. "Dad knew I would be watching and he told me that he'd give me a wink…and he did," Brian reveals today. "I will never forget that moment. He was a great Dad."

Sean Dunphy, who died five years ago, came second in the Eurovision that year behind the UK entry, Sandy Shaw's 'Puppet On A String,' composed by Phil Coulter.

His son, Brian, followed him into the music business, but made an early slip up by turning down the chance to be the lead singer in Boyzone after getting the personal offer from Louis Walsh in 1993.

"At the time, I had done the John Player Tops Of The Town and my ambition was to be a singer in London's West End," he explains. "I ended up packing shelves in Dunnes for three years while watching Boyzone do amazing things."

Brian eventually launched his career as a singer in Riverdance before The High Kings formed.

He says: "If I had said 'yes' to Louis Walsh my life might have gone down a different route, but I got to do Broadway with Riverdance and I've had incredible experiences with The High Kings."

Their new album, 'Grace & Glory', is out now.

Lee goes back to basics

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Country rock and pop perfomer Lee Matthews is appealing to the farming community with his new summer single, The Farmer Wants A Wife.

It's an original song written by the talented singer who started off life on the international scene with a boyband called Streetwize.

The Omagh man shared a bill in Las Vegas with music legends Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand, and even featured on a track with rapper Snoop Dogg before returning home.

Country music has always been a passion, Lee says, and he has been influenced by American acts like Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban.

Back in Ireland Lee discovered that country music had a new young audience.

"I went to see Nathan Carter one night and I couldn't believe how big the dancing scene had become. I knew then it was where I wanted to be," he said.

All roads lead to Roscommon

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Roscommon Racecourse will be transformed into a family playground next Sunday with picnic areas, hospitality suites, bars and restaurants for The  Midsummer's Day With The Stars Country Music Festival.

The superstars of Irish country providing the entertainment on the day include Nathan Carter, Mike Denver, Jimmy Buckley, Derek Ryan, Lisa McHugh, Robert Mizzell, Patrick Feeney, Jim Devine, Declan Nerney, Johnny Brady, Eamon Jackson, Lee Matthews, Shane Owens and Gerry Guthrie.

Make sure you get your tickets in advance from local outlets on online at www.ticketmaster.ie.

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