When it comes to country music, it’s no kind of exaggeration to say that Aoife, the girl from Gurteen in Sligo, is an angel of the west.
The winner of the Cowboys & Heroes festival’s search for a ‘New Country Star’ in June of 2017 has eased her way into every area of the country music scene in Ireland over the last couple of years. As you’d expect, that’s in large part down to a voice that warms the listener’s soul with all the peaceful simplicity of ‘hello’ when you hear it come your way from an old friend. As soon as Aoife begins to sing, you feel yourself settling into place to enjoy what’s coming. A rare and beautiful gift in itself, for sure.
But Aoife, who first began singing in her church choir at the age of nine - before going on to do likewise in her school choir and with local drama groups - is just as much at home behind the mic off stage as on. The multi-talented mum of three presents the popular Country Jamboree show on Ocean FM every Thursday night. And once a week Aoife trades being behind a mic of some kind for being in front of the camera, hosting All Things Country on the Spotlight TV channel.
It’s not everyone who can transition so seamlessly between so many roles, each one with its own particular set of challenges and demands. But the reason why Aoife has been able to make it seem as natural as she does is simply because, to her, it is natural. A better definition of a ‘people person’ and ‘what you see is what you get’ you’d do well to find even if you scanned the horizon for as far as the eye can see from Benbulben’s highest point. Combine her genuine love of country music in all its forms, with her ability on stage and always good-natured and charming personality off it, and it’s easy to see why Aoife has been winning over so many country fans.
On the recording side of things, Aoife released the brilliantly bubbly – and daringly against the grain – Go Down Swingin’ as her official debut single following her Cowboys & Heroes success in 2017, with the track hitting the #1 spot on numerous country radio station charts nationwide. Her competitive nature saw her enter the Sounds Like Country competition hosted by well-known Bundoran venue The Bird’s Nest in 2018. Finishing as runner-up on that occasion, Aoife went on to release the country classic Pick Me Up (On Your Way Down) as her second single, again soaring to the top spot on many country radio charts. The video for the song has amassed an impressive 36,000 views on YouTube to date.
When it comes to influences, you could hear Aoife put her twist on anything by artists such as Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, or Dr. Hook when she breaks into song as she goes about her day. Closer to home, artists like Sandy Kelly, Patrick Feeney, and Declan Nerney have all played a big role in developing Aoife’s love of country music.
Despite having achieved so much already, and supporting stars of the calibre of Mike Denver, Nathan Carter, and Jimmy Buckley, and sharing stages with legends like Philomena Begley, and modern giants of the genre such as Cliona, Robert Mizzell, and Derek Ryan, it’s hard not to think that there’s still so much more to come from the girl from Gurteen.
This angel of the west has only just begun to spread her wings and fly…
Pick Me Up On Your Way Down