Charley Pride’s popularity with the country music fan base in Northern Ireland far exceeds that of any other American singer and thousands will be flocking to Co Fermanagh this weekend Saturday for the appearance of this quite remarkable superstar.
The engaging Mississippi warbler headlines the annual two-day ‘Harvest’ festival at St Angelo Airport, Enniskillen, and he will make his appearance on the Saturday billing, alongside ‘New Nashville’ singer Miranda Lambert.
Charley, now 79 and coming to Northern Ireland since 1977, has enjoyed legendary status since he emerged in the late 1960s-early 1970s singing traditional downhome songs that became classics across America and in the global music world.
Charley, with his home base in Dallas, Texas, has one of the best and most distinctive and mellow baritone voices in the history of country music — or even pop music. When it comes to engaging with the fans, the rapport compliments the richness of his vocals.
“I’m pleased that the good Lord blessed me with this voice,” he says, with a chuckle.
Indeed, Charley’s philosophy is simply: “I’m in the business of selling lyrics, feelings and emotions. That’s what’s keeping me so strong and going all this time,”
Earlier this year, he released his first album in six years - Music in My Heart.
Charley’s biggest hits are Crystal Chandalier, Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone, Just Between You and Me, All I Have to Offer You (Is Me), Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’, Snakes Crawl at Night, and It’s Goin’ Take a Little Bit Longer. The ‘Harvest’ festival in Ennisklillen is being run in conjunction with a similar event at Westport in Co Mayo, where the same line-up of performers will alternate over the two days. Apart from Americans Charley Pride, Miranda Lambert and Mo Pitney, Nathan Carter will head up a strong country ‘n’ Irish line-up.
Promoters Aiken Promotions are expecting up to 10,000 fans at both the Enniskillen and Westport venues, where there will be 40 artistes over four stages.