A trip to Nashville in 2009 gave Chris Loughrey the inspiration to pursue his dream one more time.

The young man from Rochfortbridge was invigorated by the buzz and is now all ready to hit the road with a brand new album, Here For A Goodtime.

Chris will launch both his new band and album in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar on Sunday night, 26 October.

Rehearsals have been in full swing in recent weeks as Chris and his five-piece band prepare for the big night in Mullingar.

“We will give the dancers a night to remember and we are very happy with our stage show. The guests on the night are Bernie Heaney from Newbridge and Billy Mack from Mullingar,” says Chris.

His parents, Kathleen and Christopher, were members of a local band, The Rangers, in former times.

“They used to take me to the shows, so I was steeped in country music from a very young age. I was inspired by singers like Kenny Rogers and Hank Williams and later got a fondness for all sorts of country music and rock ’n’ roll.

“Elvis is my biggest hero of all. I was 16 when I saw a documentary about him on the television. I think he was the best vocalist and performer of them all. I went to Graham’s Music Shop in Mullingar and purchased an Elvis album and played the hell out of it that summer. I knew then that music was the direction I wanted to take.”

Chris, who is now well used to look-alike comparisons with a singer from pop group Smokie, has included the brilliant Alabama number Dixieland Delight on his new album. The song was massive in the USA back in 1983.

“It was back in fashion again when I was in Nashville in 2009. It was playing in every lounge and street corner and I loved it.”

Chris got a record contract with Emerald Music last year and he spent most of last winter recording the 14-track album in Belfast under the guidance of producer George Doherty.

“The first single from it was released this summer, Just To See You Smile, and went to number one on the country iTunes charts. That was a proud moment for me. I did a video for the second single, Remember When (now on YouTube), and this is getting a great response in the music industry.

“George had many hits in the past, including the famous Jive Bunny. He is an excellent producer and I’ve learned a lot from him.”

Tickets for the launch on 26 October are now available from the Greville Arms and can be bought on the night. Doors open at 10pm. Watch out for Chris when he does a guest spot with Stephen Smyth at the Mourne Country Inn, Newry, on 1 November. He also plans to tour Scotland and England in early 2015.