Bellamy Brothers head for Armagh

The Bellamy Brothers PIC:Clive Wasson
The Bellamy Brothers PIC:Clive Wasson

Dynamic American singing duo the BELLAMY BROTHERS are coming to Armagh city in the New Year to headline a three-day country festival.

The Bellamys - brothers Don and Howard - have been to Northern Ireland several times for shows at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast and, at their Armagh City Hotel shows on January 31 to February 2, they will be joined by a strong line-up of country ‘n’ Irish performers.l

The festival will be promoted by Irish ‘Keep it Country’ TV and supported by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

The Bellamys, from Florida, slickly combine easy listenin’ pop with country honky tonk and ballad. They enjoyed considerable musical success in the 1970s and 1980s, starting with the number Let Your Love Flow, which was a No 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976.

The Brothers’ high quality razor sharp harmonies and slick instrumentals are a feature of their performance.

They have chartered No 1 singles and more than 50 overall on the US country charts, with 50 albums primarily on Curb Records. They have also enjoyed success in Europe, with a compilation album topping the Norwegian charts in 2011.

Other major hits from the Bellamys were Dancing Cowboys, Sugar Daddy, You Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie, Redneck Girl, Lovers Live Longer, If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me, and Old Hippie.

Their appearance in Armagh will undoubtely stir huge interest not just among the traditional country fraternity in the region.

Irish performers appearing on the festival include Philomena Begley, Dominic Kirwan, Eamon McCann Frank McCaffrey and Tony Kerr.

* The ‘Country To Country’ returns next March at venues in London, Glasgow and Dublin, with leading Nashville stars on the bill.

The Friday to Sunday March 10-12 shows are scheduled for the O2 Arena in London, Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow and the 3-Arena in Dublin.

The line-up will include Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, and Brothers Osborne. Further acts will be announced in due course.

The ‘Country to Country’ festival is replicated on the successful Easter festivals at Wembley in London and the King’s Hall in Belfast which were highly popular in the 1980s, with top Nashville performers on the bill.

* The 13th Annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival in March will feature more than 100 performers, including Texan Kimmie Rohodes, who has been a regular visitor to these shores in recent years.

Fan favourite Kimmie Rhodes, from Lubbock - the home town of the late rockabilly icon Buddy Holly, is best known for her duets with Willie Nelson. She returns to Belfast after her worldwide tour and recording time with Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris and Trisha Yearwood.

Kimmie, a prolific songwriter herself, straddles the progressive and alternative country genre into Americana scene and she was once a musical soul mate of the late Waylon Jennings.

Over five days – March 1-5 – there will be 30 concerts with international and local artistes taking the stage in Belfast’s Clayton Hotel and the Empire Music Hall.

Belfast-born songwriter Paul Brady will also appear, together with noted Nashville songwriters Darrell Scott and Mac McAnally; Belfast blues singer Kaz Hawkins, and Bangor songwriter Sam Wickens.