I am not and never will be a fan of country music, be it Western or Irish or anything in between, and no amount of convincing will ever persuade me otherwise.
I do however have a lot of respect for those die hard fans who drive the length and breadth of the country to go jiving to their favourite band or singer. There is something so nostalgic about going out dancing, and I don’t mean bopping around the Crowes Nest.
I still love hearing stories about my grandparents going out dancing and stories about all the big dances that used to happen around Fermanagh and further afield. I love looking at old photos of my grandparents dressed up for the dances in the 1950s and 60s and it makes me a little sad that this has become pretty much a thing of the past.
When I went to see Strictly Come Dancing on tour I remember thinking how I would love to travel back in time to have been able to experience the big dance halls of the 1940s, 50s and 60s where people went out purely to get dressed up in their finest and dance the night away to a live band and alcohol never came into the equation. I love the idea of getting all dressed up and going out dancing but of course for me it would be all about the clothes and a little less about the dancing. In my imagination it would be a little bit like the ‘High School Hop’ in Grease or the ‘Under the Sea’ dance in Back to the Future. The only problem about this lovely idea however is that there is simply nowhere for this to happen as we don’t have dances like this anymore.
There is however a niche in the market for fans of country music. You will find a country gig somewhere in the county almost every weekend. For fans of county it’s all about the music, the dancing and of course getting dressed up. Although it’s not for me I admire Country fans who go out every weekend just to dance and enjoy themselves and I almost feel a little jealous that I don’t know the dances and I don’t know the songs. It has become much more than a craze and I often wonder what attracts young people nowadays to the Country scene.
Kilskeery sisters Karen Keys, Jemma and Kerri Crozier have been huge Country fans their whole lives and were brought up with jiving and line dancing. Their love of Country came from their parents Gwen and Jimmy and has always been a big thing for the whole family young and old. Line dancing was a big thing in Kilskeery when we were growing up and the Crozier sisters always lead the dances at Girls Brigade and Youth Club. Many country fans were raised on the music but for many the obsession is a new found thing. Local musician George Bracken believes that the emergence of young and attractive country stars such as Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh have created a hype. Girls flock to see Nathan Carter and the boys naturally follow where the girls go.
Whatever the attraction there is no denying that Country is the in thing at the moment and is here to stay. So if you want to be part of it get your heels on and do the Huckle Buck. If you don’t know what this is just ask one of your country friends, it’s a whole new experience.