Daniel O’Donnell: Back Home Again Tour
It’s no surprise that Daniel O’Donnell is one of the best loved artistes of our time, both at home and abroad.He has had a remarkable career. He is the only artist in the world to score a hit in the UK album charts every year for the last 29 YEARS. In doing so, he has outshone everyone from Michael Jackson and Madonna to U2 and the Rolling Stones.Daniel has also achieved eight number one hits in the UK music video/dvd charts over that period. He makes regular appearances in the Billboard World Music Chart and has been voted Entertainer Of The Year in Ireland three times – to mention but a few of the many accolades that Daniel has been awarded. And after more than 30 years in the spotlight as an engaging entertainer, he is still in love with performing and with audiences the world over.
ALTHOUGH he stepped back from touring in the last year,Daniel O’Donnell hasn’t been idle.He also enjoyed recording the reality TV series called ‘Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip for UTV Ireland during the summer – touring the B&B guest houses of Ireland with his wife, Majella.”The B&B was a lot of fun because we were on the road together,” Daniel says, adding that he got to see and experience many places in Ireland for the first time. “While I’ve travelled the length and breadth of Ireland touring with the band, I never got to stop and really see the places and meet the locals,” he points out. “We got a tremendous welcome in every B&B and I hope the show will convey to people how wonderful it is to stay in people’s homes and to enjoy the Irish hospitality.”There were charity shows and surprise guest performances, including serenading the 2015 Rose of Tralee live on TV and appearing on the ‘Mary From Dungloe’ Finale which was broadcast live for the first time in its 48 years on Irish TV, Sky Channel 191 and of course, the recording of that years album release – a tribute to the American country legend that was Hank Williams.The absolute icing on the cake though for Daniel was the offer to be a contestant in the 2015 series of Strictly Come Dancing, one of the BBC’s top rated shows and one of Daniel’s all-time favourite TV shows. “When the email came in I just couldn’t believe it,” he says. “As luck or fate would have it, this is the only year that I could have done it because normally I’m performing in Branson at that time of the year. “I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to dance on Strictly,” It’s such a huge show and the BBC have their pick of people, so I’m flattered that they asked me. It took me out of my comfort zone, but I had a lot of fun doing it.”But back to the music: Daniel says he fell in love with his last single, Blue Moon Over My World, the moment he heard it. Written by Donegal singer-songwriter Shunie Crampsey, the song was inspired by the loss of a close friend.”The first time I listened to it I was touched by the words,” Daniel says. “Shunie told me that he wrote it about a friend who was a father figure to him. “He was left distraught by the man’s passing and wrote the song a day later. “Sometimes when you know the story of a song it resonates more with you. It’s a song that can relate to the loss of anyone. “When you lose somebody, as I did when my mother died, it’s even more relevant to your life.
“I’m delighted Shunie sent it to me. When I heard You Raise Me Up for the first time, I knew it was going to be a huge hit. I felt the same about Blue Moon Over My World.Daniel’s 2015 album release, The Hank Williams Songbook (Release in Oct last year), was also a personal favorite. “I’ve always been a fan of Hank Williams,” he says. “Down through the years I’ve sung many of his songs in different situations and different shows. “Anybody who has a bit of country blood in their veins has been touched by the songs of Hank Williams at some stage. “I find them fantastic songs to sing. The ones I chose for the album were my own personal favorites. “I didn’t pick some of his big songs that people might expect. I just selected the ones that I loved myself.”They included the love song, Half As Much. “I love the sentiment in that song, particularly the line, ‘if you love me half as much as I love you.’ It’s such a great love song,” Daniel says. “Another song I recorded for that album was My Son Calls Another Man Daddy. I used to sing it years ago, but this was the first time I recorded it. “I recorded Your Cheatin’ Heart differently to the way Hank Williams sung it – we did it a little slower and I just love singing it. “Kaw-Liga is a song that brings me back to the Wembley Country Music Festival in1979. I remember standing at the side of the stage that year watching Charley Pride singing it. When I was recording the song it brought me right back to that moment.”
Hank Williams also wrote gospel songs under the pseudonym Luke The Drifter, and Daniel has included I Saw The Light on his new album.He says: “Hank Williams was incredibly talented. When I was recording the songs and listening
closely to him singing them himself, I found it hard to believe that he did all of that before the age of 29 when he died of heart failure. You’d think they were the work of somebody who had lived a long life and had all the experiences that go with that. I know he had a very hard life, and sometimes it’s out of those backgrounds that great songs are created.”Daniel has made record breaking chart history (yet again) by becoming the first recording artist in the history of the UK Artist Albums Chart, to have charted at least one new album every year since 1988, an unprecedented and unbroken 29 year span.He accomplished this with his latest album ‘The Best of Music And Memories’, released in February this year, it charted on the midweek chart at No. 7, the third highest new entry on that weeks’ UK Artist Albums Chart.In total, Daniel has now reached the UK Artist Albums Chart with more than 35 albums and has now amassed TWENTY-NINE Top 30 albums over the course of his career.
As for the future, Daniel is looking forward to returning to touring later this year with a revamped band. “We’re introducing some new musicians and some different instruments in the band because I think it’s time for change and I’m really excited by what’s to come,” he adds. There is no doubt but that Daniel intends to continue touring around the globe with his unique, life affirming shows of music, song and laughter.