The love of country music has been in Derek Ryan’s heart since he was twelve when he was inspired by seeing Garth Brooks in Concert.  Now many years later, with scores of hit songs and a hectic touring schedule, the music has gone to his soul with the release this week of his fourth studio album.

‘Country Soul’ is a fourteen track album that features six of his own self-penned compositions which also includes his unique take on this summer’s biggest dance floor anthem; ‘Wake me Up’.  Having recording the album through the summer, it draws on a mix of songs that are pure country, Irish country, rock and roll and chart classics.

Also featured on the new CD are covers of some of America’s biggest rock ballads including Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ and Bruce Springsteen’s power ballad ‘If I Should Fall Behind’.  These blend pleasantly along with ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ an old traditional song that the Waterboys made popular.  Pure country is also covered with the Don William’s classic ‘Love Me Tonight’ and the Vince Gill hit ‘Turn Me Loose’.

Having become a prolific writer in the last few years, with Daniel O’Donnell recording two of Derek’s own songs, the former D-Side lead singer has teamed up with some co-writers on ‘Welcome Home (The Gathering), ‘Leave A Light On’ and ‘Country Soul’.  The album also features his summer single ‘100 Number’ that was written whilst living in a bedsit in London where he played bars and clubs on his own.  Derek’s success today is a far cry from those days, now touring Ireland and the UK with a five piece band.

His latest single from the album, ‘Better Times A Comin’, is a sentiment that many in Ireland hope reverberates throughout the country and the economy after many years of downturn.  The uplifting feel good tune has a melodic bluegrass melody.

The Co. Carlow man said that life on the road has been a huge inspiration for his song writing.  “The new album has a collection of songs, with something to suit everyone”.

Derek added:  “I’ve included some of my own original music, which I have been inspired to write by the people I meet on the road.  My song ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ was inspired by seeing a young couple in their teens jiving at one of my festival shows this summer.  It was a beautiful moonlit night and on my way home I got the idea from seeing the young people who appeared to be so happy and carefree.”

Currently in the middle of an extensive dance and concert tour, which has seen Derek perform to sell out audiences in Ireland and the UK, his popularity is soaring, attracting a new young audience who in the past shunned country music. In a few weeks time he releases his first live DVD.

‘Country Soul’ is available from Sharpe Music or via iTunes download and is released on Friday 25th October.

Derek Ryan’s Album Launch at Stewart’s Music Shop, Dungannon