Tommy: Music helped me through a terrible year
It has been one of the most challenging years of his life, but Tommy Fleming marked the first anniversary of his parents' deaths this week and told The Diary that he's looking forward to what he hopes will be an easier 12 months ahead.
The Sligo-born singer, whose mother Annie and father Paddy passed away within hours of each other in March last year, is back on the tour trail and preparing for a stint in Japan, Australia and the US.
"It's been awful, horrendous," he said. "But we're trying to find a light at the end of that dark tunnel, somehow.
"We're getting there. We just have to get on with our lives."
Tommy (40) has been a regular on the traditional music circuit since rising to fame in the 1990s when he toured America with Phil Coulter.
He insists touring still ignites a spark for him, and he used the music as a crutch over the past 12 months.
"My music has really reflected and been affected by my parents' deaths," he said. "My new album, Begin, is very personal, it's very evident what it's about. That has helped.
"I'm also blessed in the fact that the band is like a second family on the road with me, they've been part of me for years and hugely supportive.
"My wife, Tina, is without a doubt the reason I got through it all. I definitely couldn't have made it without her."
Doing his bit for The Gathering 2013, no doubt to the equal delight of his hordes of fans around the country, Tommy will take to the stage in Boyle, Co Roscommon, to headline an outdoor concert in May at Lough Key Forrest Park.