Like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the films, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton and George Jones and Tammy Wynette were the standard setters for Country music duets.
Back home in Ireland Ray Lynam and Philomena Begley were the pacesetters in the 1970’s. Since then Ireland’s Country Music Arena has produced numerous duetting combinations. Some of these collaborations took the form of recording studio partnerships or short tours to promote an album and seldom really transpired into anything more substantial.
The next generation of country music in Ireland brings us a new alliance in the form of Thomas Maguire & Fhiona Ennis. This Co Fermanagh/Co Wexford combination was born in 2005 with the release of their very first duet “Promised To John”. At that time both artists were working separately with their own bands but as time would tell both artists would combine their talents to form Irelands current only male/female country duo on the bigger touring scene.
Before teaming up with Thomas, Fhiona Ennis has enjoyed great success with her own solo career having fronted her own five piece band. In that period she toured with USA singer/songwriter legend Leona Williams and Moe Bandy as part of their Irish schedules. Fhiona also joined Leona in Nashville for some concerts during the CMA Festival 2005 including a live broadcast on The legendary Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree Radio Show.
Thomas who hails from Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh served his musical apprenticeship on the London entertainment scene before returning to Ireland in 2000 after being voted Best Act on the London Circuit at The Irish World Millennium Awards in the famous Galtymore. Now in his ninth year on the road with his band under the management of Henry Mc Mahon, Thomas has picked up numerous awards for his contribution to country music and is also no stranger to our television screens having appeared on RTE, BBC and TG4 television.
Thomas & Fhiona’s stage act with their live band is receiving glowing reviews as they gig the length and breadth of Ireland and the U.K. and their reputation as an up and coming vocal combination is quietly spreading. Their website www.thomasmaguire.com is testament to this, boasting entries from Ireland, the U.K., Europe, USA and Australia.
2009 proved an extremely good year for Thomas, Fhiona and their band as they continued to tour Ireland, Scotland and England, quietly building up their ever growing fan base. Highlights through the year included the UTV Country Fest where they appeared on the same bill as American Country Legends Randy Travis, Martina Mc Bride and Ray Price to name but a few, an appearance on RTE’s “Late Late Show”, an 18 week contract at The Harvey’s Point Summer Cabaret show in Donegal, a special guest appearance on “The Gerry Anderson Christmas Shows” and numerous nominations and awards along the way.
Thomas and Fhiona are currently in the studio putting the final touches to their third studio album which will be released early 2010.
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