SHE’S Ireland’s First Lady of Country and Susan McCann has had a remarkable life in music, performing everywhere from the marquee in her native Forkhill, South Armagh, to Nashville’s famous Grand Ole Opry.
As Susan tells it, she came from humble beginnings growing up among a family of 11 in a two-bed house with no electricity or running water.
Starting off as the singer in her local céili band, at one point money was so tight for the future star she says she couldn’t afford the ticket price to see Philomena Begley performing.
However, in 1977 Susan shot to fame in Ireland when she had a smash hit with a song called Big Tom Is Still The King.
“If it wasn’t for Big Tom I might never have made it,” Susan says today.
In Nashville, Susan was embraced by Porter Wagoner, the singer and TV presenter who gave Dolly Parton her big break, and who inspired her song, I Will Always Love You.
She recorded several albums in Nashville with musicians who’d played on some of her favourite American country music records, including Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.
Here, in My Country Life, Susan talks about her childhood, her rise to stardom and meeting the love of her life.