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Crystal clear-voiced Waterford crooner

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: July 16, 2013

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A TOP Irish country music star will once again be entertaining Tiverton music lovers at a concert next month.

Paddy O' Brien, from County Waterford, is no stranger to Tiverton thanks to Willand country promoter Jean Pyne.

Jean fell for his Irish country style when she used to tune into Irish radio two decades ago.

Thanks to an internet radio bought for her by her children, the Park Street resident no longer has to put up with poor reception caused by transmission from the Emerald Isle.

Paddy is a big star in Ireland, with 26 albums selling in the hundreds of thousands.

But he wasn't too big to offer to play Willand village hall during an encounter with Jean many years ago.

And since then he has been back on numerous occasions, building a faithful Westcountry following.

Jean said: "Irish musicians are always keen to break new ground and he is one of the only ones who plays in Devon.

"The first time he came there was barely any room on the hall's dancefloor by the end of the night and over the years he has built quite a following.

"We have people coming from all over the UK, some from as far away as Coventry, and they come from all over Devon."

Paddy knew from an early age that his vocation in life was to be a singer, and his musical influences from the early years were Marty Robbins and Slim Whitman. His father also gave him a lot of encouragement as he too used to sing in local pubs.

He worked on farms at weekends and during school holidays and listened to country music on a dry battery radio. He taught himself to yodel by singing into a big steel 600-gallon diesel tank, which produced a perfect echo across the valley when the diesel was down to a certain level. Slim Whitman's "Indian Love Call" was the first song he perfected, and yodelling remains one of Paddy's trademarks.

In 1983 Paddy's big break came when he made his first cassette called 'Easy Listening', a collection of country and middle of the road recording. A second cassette was made in 1984 called 'Mem'ries' and was heavily plugged by the pirate radio stations all over Ireland. It was eventually picked up by mainstream radio.

Paddy will be playing Tiverton Town Football Club on Friday, August 16. Tickets are £12 on the door and the entertainment starts at 8.30pm.

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