Daniel O’Donnell, Snoop Dogg, Hugo Duncan and Westlife share a common experience; they have all performed with a young country singer from Castlederg during their careers, a certain Lee Matthews (or as he was at the time, Lee Mulhern).
In his early days Lee has performed on stage with the likes of Daniel, Brian Coll, Philomena Begley, Michael English and even appeared on Hugo Duncan’s BBC TV show ‘Hugo and Friends’ as a fresh-faced nine-year-old. McFly too, Shane Ward, the Sugababes… the list of those who can claim to have shared the limelight with Lee is long and distinguished – and then there was that collaboration with the Doggfather himself.
These days, Lee is returning to his country roots and to that end has released his new single, ‘Sadie’s Got Her New Dress On’, the video for which features another of Castlederg’s most talented, Chloe Coyle.
It was during a recent spell in America that Lee’s love of country music was reignited, influenced by a new generation of country artists including Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and The Zac Brown Band.
“In America I got a buzz from seeing the country scene explode with a new generation of young country artists making country cooler,” Lee explained this week.
“When I got back to Ireland I was so excited to see that Derek Ryan and Nathan Carter were also making country cool again here.
“It’s such a buzz to be back on stage again singing great songs that people love and enjoy dancing to.
“The people in Ireland appreciate good country music and they go out of their way to make you feel welcome.
“The first couple of gigs I did this year people were coming up and thanking me and shaking my hand and just talking country music, it’s great.”
Filmed in Strabane and Letterkenny, the video for ‘Sadie’s Got Her New Dress On’ is available to view on Youtube and will go live this November on all three country Sky TV shows – Phil Mack International Country Show, Ireland West TV and Hot Country.
Lee himself had the idea of asking All-Ireland Talent Show Chloe Coyle to get involved, not least because they’re both trying to put Castlederg on the international map.
Looking back on his musical journey as a learning curve, Lee says he is grateful to all those who opened doors along the way.
“I have come full circle,” he remarked.
“When I was in America I got the opportunity to realise what I was missing, as I listened to great country artists and songs on the radio there every day.
“I knew country music was in my blood. Music is my life and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love, sing.”
Lee Matthew’s official tour launch will take place this February, with details yet to be announced.