After two years of lockdown TR Dallas is more than happy to be back on the road again. The man from Moate knows almost every part of the island of Ireland after close to 50 years singing his songs and entertaining the folks.
Lockdown did not come easy for TR. “Who could ever have envisaged that our scene would be shut for around two years? We thought at the outset that a few weeks would see us back in business.
“The music, theatre and arts scenes were the last to come back earlier this year. The lockdown took its toll on so many people. A way of living and a way of life was taken from us and from many others as well.
Return to normal
“The longer it went on, the more damage it was causing to the mental health of so many people. You could see how people were becoming withdrawn and keeping to themselves more and more.
“Some found it so hard during the lockdown. People did not know if others wanted to see them coming to visit or not. It just put such a strain on a lot of people.
“Personally, I was thrilled the evening An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, announced the lifting of the vast bulk of the restrictions and the reopening of the showbiz circuit. We are going to have to live with the virus and get on with our lives and return to relative normality as quickly as possible.”
It gives us all a lift. We have to try and keep on the sunny side of life
While there is still a reluctance among some people to return to live venues, the arrival of the summer season looks set to see a dramatic increase in those choosing to attend sporting and entertainment occasions in greater numbers.
“On a personal level I am delighted to be doing shows again. It is lovely to renew acquaintances with friends around the country and you can see the joy in their faces as music has been such a part of all our lives down the years. There are some who just come along and sit down and listen to the music. They are delighted to be back out again.”
One of the highlights of 2022 for TR will be Joanie Madden’s Folk ‘N’ Irish Cruise which this September will take place on the Mediterranean from 4-11 September departing from Barcelona and taking in Corsica, Rome, Naples, Florence, Cannes and the Balearic Islands.
“It is a fabulous occasion and Joanie runs a brilliant show. There are so many Irish and Americans artists on the cruise. I am so much looking forward to it.
“It is also wonderful to see the Irish music holidays to Spain and Portugal back again after three years. It gives us all a lift. We have to try and keep on the sunny side of life,” says TR.
When it comes to country music icons in Ireland, Ray Lynam commands a special place. The singer from Moate, along with his renowned band, The Hillbillies, burst onto the Irish country scene in the early 1970s. They went on to become one of most cherished bands to grace the stages all over the island of Ireland.
It was back in the 1970s that a young Ray Lynam was first introduced on stage at the Ryman in Nashville by Grand Ole Opry favourites, The Wilburn Brothers. The Opry audiences took an instant shine to the Irish singer.
Ray was a regular performer at the famous Wembley International Country Music Festival in London for several years and was joined by Philomena Begley as a guest on a few occasions.
Gypsy Joe and Me is the song most associated with Ray over the years. The Dolly Parton composition is a “must do” number every night he goes on stage.
There are a host of other songs that are also synonymous with Ray and many of them can be found on the recently released Ultimate Collection 2CD set.
Yvonne Clerkin from Rosette Records says followers are in for a real treat with this special CD set. “Ray Lynam is the real deal country singer and it is appropriate that 42 of his best loved songs from over half a century of recordings have been carefully selected for this aptly titled The Ultimate Collection.
“This truly is a stunning collection of favourites spanning his legendary career. Many of these quality original recordings were never re-released after Ray recorded them on vinyl during a peak in the popularity of Ray and The Hillbillies in the 1970s and early 80s.”
Recent weeks have seen Ray out on tour with Mike Denver performing guest spots on Mike’s concert tour around the country. He remains in constant demand for guest spots on various concert shows and is looking forward to another busy summer ahead.
Between performing on stage and relaxing playing golf at his beloved Moate Golf Club, the renowned laid-back style of Ray Lynam looks set to continue. Some things never change and we should be thankful for that.