OVER 1,000 people packed into the conference centre in the Lyrath Hotel last Thursday evening, to witness the first ever Kilkenny appearance of legendary American country-music star Charley Pride.
Deputy Mayor John Coonan and his wife Ann met Charley and the band prior to the performance, where Cllr Coonan gave him a book on Kilkenny and its history. He also presented Charley with a civic recognition of his achievements in the world of music, entertainment and showbusiness, which read:
“A Certificate of Civic recognition to Mr Charley Pride for his outstanding contribution to country music and entertainment worldwide, in appreciation on behalf of the people of the City of Kilkenny.”
It was sealed with the official stamp and signed by Cllr Coonan.
Charley Pride is one of the few black country musicians to have had considerable success in a largely white country music industry. He has sold over 70 million albums, including 31 gold and four platinum records.
John Daines, who has been Charlie’s manager for 33 years, said the band had been bowled over by the reception they had enjoyed in Kilkenny during the day. The hotel was booked solid for the weekend, as long-time fans flocked to see the well-known singer of hits such as ‘Kiss an Angel Good Morning’ and ‘Is Anybody Going to San Antone’.
The band, comprising Billy Martin, Danny Hutchins, Derek Spigener, Reggie Rueffer, Ron Jones, and Ronnie Miller, were happy to relax in the bar afterwards and meet and greet well-wishers.
Charley and the band expressed enormous gratitude to the audience, the staff of the Lyrath, and to the people of Kilkenny generally for the kindness and the warmth with which they were received. He told the audience that the gig was by no means a ‘farewell tour’, and that the visit to Kilkenny would not be his last.