Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

For One Night Only – Susan McCann honours the legendary John Murphy Bandshow

Fans of the Showband era are in for a treat this weekend when a special show in the Carrickdale Hotel will recreate the sounds of that acclaimed musical era.

As part of her String of Diamonds Festival Weekend, renowned First Lady of Country, Susan McCann, will take a step back in time to more than 40 years ago when she experienced her first taste of the music industry on stage alongside the famous John Murphy Bandshow.

It was at an event in Forkhill in the autumn of 1966 when a teenage Susan was invited to join the legendary John Murphy and his band on stage where she entertained the audience with her dulcet voice, and did enough to impress John who subsequently invited her to join the band.

Susan McCann began her career in the music industry as part of the legendary John Murphy Bandshow.

At that time, John’s band was primarily Céilí and Old Tyme but Susan brought a new impetus to the stage and prompted a shift to more Country and Western music.  From those fledgling performances as a young woman starting out in the music industry, Susan’s career blossomed, making her a household name and has taken her across the globe.  But she has never forgotten her roots and she credits the influence of John Murphy for much of her success.

This weekend Susan will host a three-night festival in the Carrickdale Hotel, Carrickarnon, beginning on Friday, and her final show on Sunday evening will honour the famed musician from whom it all began, the John Murphy Bandshow.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Sunday’s show will relive the 1965-1970 Showband era, recreating the instantly recognisable tunes of well-known céilí dances such as The Haymaker’s Jig and Siege of Ennis, while also featuring the ever-popular waltzes, foxtrot and quicksteps.  While Susan will focus primarily on some of the big hits at the time including ‘Goodbye Johnny Dear’ and ‘A Bunch of Violets’.

The original band featured John Murphy; Leader & fiddle; Teddy Campbell, guitar & vocals; Peter Murphy, bass; Kevin McKenna, drums; Fintan Callan, Accordion; Dennis Heaney, Accordion and Susan on vocals.  Unfortunately just Susan and Dennis are the only surviving members of the original line up.  However, the show will have an added momentum when invited relatives of former band members will join Susan and Dennis on stage to recreate some of the outstanding music performed by their fathers and grandfathers.

Susan says she is particularly looking forward to this show, which she says she was prompted to include in her schedule following the sad passing of prominent band member Teddy Campbell just over a year ago.

The variety of music at Sunday’s concert will be complemented by a slideshow of photographs, tickets and posters depicting various shows and events where the band performed during their hey-day and are sure to prompt happy memories for many fans.

The Susan McCann String of Diamonds Festival will get underway this Friday 24th and she will be supported on stage across the weekend of shows by various artists including Olivia Douglas, Kerry Fearon, Boxcar Brian, Louise Morrissey, Hugo Duncan and support band Country Harmony.

Tickets for all shows are available from the Carrickdale Hotel on 00353 42 9380 900 or online

Susan will also officially launch her new album ‘The Older I Get’ during the festival.  The album features a mix of her early hits, including an updated version of ‘Big Tom is Still the King’ – her first Number One single more than 40 years ago – as well as her three latest singles ‘Teach Your Children’, ‘Christmas In Ireland’ and ‘Through The Years’.

Among the 30 tracks are previously unreleased gems recorded in Nashville and duets with her singing partners Ronan Collins, Sean Wilson and her granddaughter Sinead Heaney.