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Sunday 11 December 2016

Rockin' Rowley: How Carter inspired Matthews to return to his roots

Music with Eddie Rowley

Eddie Rowley

Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30

Country star Lee Matthews
Country star Lee Matthews

Lee Matthews' summer single, 'The Farmer Wants a Wife', has been a smash hit for the young country singer with over 100,000 views on YouTube.

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The Strabane man's road down the country route has been long and winding, but it is proving to be a successful career path.

Set to follow his recent hit with a new single, 'Do Dat Diddly Ding Dang', Lee (real name Mulhern) was a child star who seemed destined for greatness in the world of pop music back in the early Noughties.

At the age of seven he was singing on BBC TV's Children in Need, and the following year young Lee released his first cassette album 'Hey Good Looking', featuring a selection of pop, country and ballads.

However, it was on the international scene that Lee bid for success a few years later when he joined Streetwize. Billed as the world's first global boyband, the line-up also included Donal Skehan, now an award-winning TV cook and bestselling food writer.

In the fickle world of pop music, Streetwize lacked staying power and Lee ultimately found his feet and a loyal following on the Irish country music scene.

"My mother was always trying to persuade me to get into country," Lee tells me. "I had the impression that country was an older scene, but Mum was going on about this young guy called Nathan Carter.

"One night I went to see Nathan in the Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran and I couldn't believe how different the scene was to what I expected.

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"There was a young crowd there and they were all jiving. It was that night I decided this was the type of music I wanted to do."

Now a top attraction himself as a country performer, Lee's hits include 'Cotton Eye Joe' and 'That Country Girl.'

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