Welcome to a brand new series on Belles and Gals, where we interview some of the most influential women on the country music scene. Our third interview sees us chat with Kerry Fearon, the host of Kerry’s Gold Country on Keep it Country TV and a fantastic recording artist in her own right!
Hi Kerry, to start, tell us a little bit about yourself? So how did you get involved in country music in
the first place? Was there a particular artist who sparked the flame? And what was it that made you
want to become a singer yourself? Have you wanted to sing from a young age?
I loved to sing from a young age but I never had the confidence to sing in public. My dad taught ,me
about all types of music from down through the years but when the Eurovision song contest was
reputable back in the 1980s he told me that someday he would write a song and I will sing it in the
Eurovision (which never happened). I grew up liking all sorts of music from Kylie to Burt Bacharach
to Oasis. The range is huge but country music was something my mother would have listened to a lot
and my father owned vinyl’s of Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash etc. We still have their huge cassette tape
collection which includes the likes of Glen Campbell and Nana Mouskouri.
No particular artists sparked the flame. It all just began in 2015 so I am new to this game!
My father was known locally as a great singer. He had an amazing voice and was partial to a bit of
’40 shades of Green’, ‘Galway Bay’ and the likes. He was sometimes referred to as ’40 shades’. He
had a band which played locally many years ago. Unfortunately in 2012 he was diagnosed with
Motor Neurone Disease. A horrible degenerative disease which eventually in September/October of
2012, caused him to lose the ability to use his voice. He resorted to writing any communication
down on a whiteboard and he was unable to sing anymore. This was an awful thing to watch,
especially when a song was playing that he would have enjoyed to sing along to. He lost his battle
to this incurable disease in February 2013.
After this I felt it was my duty to carry on his name and family tradition in some way so I had to
overcome my fear and sing. My first gig was supporting Mary Duff and Dominic Kirwan at the
Waterfront Belfast March 2015 where I met Wayne Golden who I would go on to record my debut
single and first EP with and everything started rolling into other things from then onwards.
In November 2015 I teamed up with John McNicholl as his contestant for the TG4 country music
series ‘Glór Tíre’ which I went on through all the live heats in March/April 2016 and I also reached
the final! Other highlights have been opening for Marty Haggard and winning a ‘Hot Country’ award this year!
As well as being an country singer you have a number of other roles including a teacher, radio DJ and
TV presenter. How do you find time to combine all of these?
It’s important to keep my feet on the ground as music can be a difficult life so I need to work. I am a
fully qualified teacher and I have taught in various schools but the last 2 years I have taught in
Special Education which was tough but rewarding. When in teaching work it is my main priority. So
it comes first and the rest follows. As long as I am well organised well in advance I can manage the
rest. It is a lot of looking ahead and planning ahead and checking when do I need shows done by and
what dates I’m not around etc. It left me very tight for time this year. I really had no life and
haven’t seen anyone!
Though I have been studying the past 2 years for a Diploma in Irish Language from the University of Ulster which required attendance of 2 nights a week so you can imagine just
how stuck for time I was trying to fit the rest in! It was crazy! However, I completed my final exams
in June and I will graduate (for the 4th time!) in August. I absolutely will be taking a break from
studying this year.
‘Kerry’s Gold Country’ is one of the most entertaining country music shows in the UK, featuring a
fantastic mix of music. Describe the show to anyone who has never seen it – and how/where can
they watch? Could you name one or two highpoints in recording the show?
I absolutely love doing my show. It has to be my favourite thing to do! So it goes out on Keep it
Country TV Fridays 8pm/ Tuesdays 4pm (Sky 376/ Freeview 87/ Freesat 516/ watch online
www.keepitcountry.tv/watch-live). A lot of the shows on the channel showcase similar artists so I
thought I would try and make my show a little different. Growing up listening to a wide range of
music I knew I had a good enough knowledge and knew where to seek out some different material.
However, when my show began in June 2017 things spiralled out of control (in a good way) and I
began making a lot of brand new contacts and I was being introduced to some fabulous music.
My show includes country music, Americana and roots, folk, bluegrass, contemporary country and a
lot of singer-songwriters. I have also had various interviews with artists on my show and a lot of live
performances too. I like to include a real mixture on every single show.
Highlights for me have been interviewing a lot of wonderful artists including the likes of Albert Lee,
Marty Stuart, Gallagher & Lyle, Jarrod & Claire Dickenson, Margo Price, Jenn Bostic, Sarah Darling,
Charlie Worsham, Ashley Campbell, Jerry Leger (just to name a few off the top of my head!) but I
have met some wonderful people through doing the show. A huge highlight was the personal touch
from some of the artists. For example, Sarah Darling travelled to Newry especially to do an interview
and live performance for my show and Charlie Worsham was happy to do a bit of a jam with me
which we luckily caught on camera.
I really have made great friends and I’m not long back from a trip to Scotland where I spent a day at
Bishopbriggs school of music interviewing/ filming 11 interviews with wonderful Scottish artists. The
folks at the Boshopbriggs school of music/ Katee Kross media were so kind to set this all up and
make it happen and they made me feel so welcome.
Tell us the last gig you attended, the last album you listened to and your favourite song right now!
And we hear you’re going on tour soon with a fantastic artist. Tell us all about it.
Last gigs I attended I think were the Rolling Stones, Ben Glover and Lindi Ortega.
Albums I’m listening to right now over and over are Ben Glover – Shorebound (I am addicted), Kim
Richey-Edgeland, Jason Isbell & the 400 unit –The Nashville Sound, Jaime Wyatt-Felony Blues, Kacey
Musgraves-Golden Hour, The 4 Of Us- Sugar Island, Lori McKenna –The bird & the rifle.
Yes I am a huge Kelly Willis fan. I have every single album wore out! So Kelly has released her first
solo album in 11 years ‘Back being blue’ (which should also be on my list) and she is doing a UK tour
in July. I was gutted to see that there was no Irish date so I thought I would get over to see her but
now not only am I getting to see her live, but I am opening up for her at the Maze Nottingham July
25 th and the Met Bury July 27 th . Tickets are on sale now! I am nervous but I cannot wait for this
amazing experience and to add this to the highlights of my 3-year music career!