Down on the farm in New Inn near Cashel, country singer Louise Morrissey is enjoying ‘home time’. She is also making the most of another opportunity that presented itself rather unexpectedly during lockdown ….presenting her own show on Tipp Mid West Radio.

Louise is chuffed with how it has enabled her to cope with the huge change in her life brought about by the coronavirus restrictions. “I never did radio presenting before but I did think about it from time to time over the years. When the opportunity presented itself a few months ago, I was delighted to jump on board.

“The show goes out every Friday from 12 noon to 2pm under the title Lunch with Louise. The station has a very loyal and dedicated following and serves Tipperary Town, Cashel and South Tipperary on FM and also broadcasts worldwide on the internet.

“I get requests in from many places overseas including Newfoundland where I did a number of concerts over the years and where they love the Irish country entertainers. I play mostly Irish country and a little bit of American country.

“The station is based in Tipperary Town and I present the show from the studio in town. I look forward to it from week to week. They are a lovely gang in there too and it is grand to have something to focus on every week. I absolutely love doing it,” says Louise.

Major impact

Like everyone else in the music, drama and arts scenes, Louise has been impacted in a major way by the events that unfolded last March. “No one could have known this time last year what was facing us and, when it did happen, we thought it would only go on for a few weeks.

“Please God, things will be very different in six months’ time and we can start getting our lives back to some kind of normality again. It’s time gone, we can’t get it back and we have to move on with it now and make the best of it and things will get better again.

“It is very hard to make plans at the moment. We are all waiting to get the green light even if it starts out in a smaller way. But it has to be financially feasible too. There are lots out there who have invested so much in equipment and related matters and the overheads are so high.

“I would expect that we will see the return of the outdoor summer festivals in the middle of 2021 and some concerts before that too. It will be just lovely to get back and I get those sentiments from so many people for whom the music scene is such an important part of their social and mental health life as well.”

Some months ago she released a single, Why Do You Call Me Darling, and says she is excited about another single ready to role at the end of January.

Little change

Meanwhile, life has not changed much at all for her husband Johnny Fitzgerald who is widely known in the local farming community in this part of Tipperary. “He’s working away every day on the farm, much the same as in normal times, taking care of the cattle, milking the cows and looking after the horses. He’s busy and happy and content with the way of life he has always been used to.

“It has been different for me who was used to being out and about and meeting people all the time. I find myself doing a lot more walking now I even took to doing a bit of baking, with cream cakes being my speciality. I’m indulging a lot more in cooking as well. It’s different but it’s nice. The house was never as clean either!

“I’m not much good around the farm but I will stand in the gate with a stick when the cattle are being moved here and there. I get stuff from the vet and also from the Co-Op and help out in ways like that. After all of that, I am so looking forward to getting back on the stage and singing again. It’s the way of life I’ve known all down the years.”

Mick Flavin keeps in country in style

Mick Flavin looks set to have one of the top selling country albums this Christmas. The Longford man released his new 18-track album, Something Old Something New, in recent weeks and is generating a major response on radio and with listeners around the country.

The album is a combination of songs from his early days, along with material which includes many of his own personal favourites.

During lockdown, Mick dug out the very first cassette he recorded in a small studio in Athlone at the end of 1986. This cassette had 10 tracks and Mick has re-recorded nine of them as close to the original as possible.

“So many people kept asking me about my first album and I decided now would be a great time to issue it again along with new material. That’s where the title of the album comes from,” says Mick who still retains strong links with his farming background in Longford.

Mick features two new songs written by PJ Murrihy called Home in Longford and The Wounded Pilgrim on the album. What More Is There To Know is a new song composed by Shunie Crampsey from Donegal.

Also included is a duet with Cavan man, Brendan Jermyn, called Murder on Music Row lamenting the drift away from traditional country music in America.

There was a superb response to Mick when he featured as special guest on the Sunday night late show on Midwest Radio earlier this month with hundreds of calls and messages pouring into the station from all over the country, the UK, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.