SUSAN McCANN, Irish ‘First Lady of Country’, has for 40 years been a singer highly respected across these islands and it is appropriate that she has now been elevated to the ‘Hall of Fame’ by the British Country Music Association.
Newry-based Susan got deserved recognition at a recent BCMA ceremony in Wolverhampton and she joins close friend and singing colleague Philomena Begley as the only performers from Northern Ireland to receive the award.
“It’s nice to be honoured in this way by people who do a lot to promote American country music on this side of the Atlantic.” says Susan, now a grandmother, but still treading the boards at shows and recording new material. In her time, she has recorded some 650 songs.
In January, Susan and Philomena, and other leading country ‘n’ Irish performers are lined up for a three-day event at Carrickdale Hotel, Dundalk, titled the ‘String of Diamonds’ festival. The festival title is a follow on from the very popular medley recordings Susan made in the 1990s and 2000s. String of Diamonds is still a popular radio play hit for Susan and a most requested medley when she tours at home, on the British mainland and on the Spanish holiday scene.
Susan emerged on the Irish country scene in the mid 1970s, fronting her Storytellers band and an early recording was ‘Big Tom Is Still the King’ - a tribute to legendary Castleblayney singer ‘Big Tom’ McBride.
Susan has starred on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, shared the stage with Charley Pride, Hank Locklin, Porter Wagoner and Emmylou Harris, and she was also the first non-American to appear at Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park in East Tennessee.
She also appeared at a major concert on the special request of Gulf War hero, General Norman Schwarzkopf (Stormin’ Norman) and has also sung for President George Bush. In 1993, she was one of the few country stars to perform in Russia. Over the years she has released a steady stream of albums on various labels, some recorded in the United States.