Singer/songwriter LEE MATTHEWS is all set to return to the airwaves with the release of his brand NEW single IRISH WHISKEY ON THE SHELF, which drops on all major platforms on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4th. But not alone that, the native of Castlederg in Tyrone, is also celebrating landing a major publishing deal in NASHVILLE.
Matthews, now based in Strabane, and who first came to prominence almost a decade ago with the evergreen Sadie's Got Her New Dress On, has already seen hits like The Farmer Wants A Wife, There's Irish In Our Eyes, and Cotton Eye Joe make him a firm favourite on both the 'live' scene and radio in Ireland.
Now, the self-penned Irish Whiskey On The Shelf - which once again sees top producer Jonathan Owens at the helm - seems destined to delight Lee's legion of fans yet again.
Influenced by a reel called The Boys Of Bluehill, which is over a century old, the song is everything you'd expect from Lee, with a terrific melody powering the upbeat sing-along, floor-filler. Irish Whiskey On The Shelf - a song Lee has had on the back-burner for a while - tells the story of a man who just needs to get away from the pressures of modern life. In this case, though, there's more to the pub that proves to be his refuge than just the 'irish whiskey on the shelf'.
While Lee bounces back into the limelight as a performer here in Ireland, his reputation as a songwriter has earned him what country songwriters the world over dream of: a publishing deal in Music City itself, Nashville!
The recent Covid pandemic brought the lives of many in the entertainment world to a sudden halt, Lee's life-long passion for songwriting quickly filled the vacuum created by the disappearance of 'live' shows.
Part of this process involved Lee spending time with one of his co-writers, Pete Doherty (not he of The Libertines and Babyshambles), with a view to finishing some of the more contemporary American songs in Lee's catalogue. Eventually, via Lee's manager, Paul Tinney, one of the songs the pair had been working on found its way to David Howells in London, the manager of producer Steve Mac who has fifty-seven UK #1 singles to his credit. Howells, who at the time was busy with Steve's latest project, what would become Ed Sheeran's #1 with Elton John - Merry Christmas, had previously worked with US country music superstar Tim McGraw, on his US Billboard chart-topper, Leave It With Me.
Howells felt that there was something special about the song, and like Lee, believed that it would be a perfect fit for an artist like McGraw.
One thing led to another, and news soon reached Lee that a major publisher in Nashville wanted to speak with him. By March of this year, Lee had put pen to paper on a deal. A spokesperson for the company revealed that they had been impressed by the overall production of the song as Lee had first presented it to them, but also by Lee's ability - as a young Irishman - to write so authentically in an 'American voice'.
No doubt Lee's experience of working on projects with international elements earlier in his career - stateside as well as in London and Stockholm - alongside respected industry names such as Steve Mac and Wayne Hector, proved influential in this regard.
With his new single, Irish Whiskey On The Shelf, about to hit the airwaves here in Ireland, Lee the songwriter, just like Lee the performer, is entering another exciting stage of his career. With another new song already delivered to his publisher, featuring some of Nashville's top session players and produced by the Grammy nominated Matt Troja, Lee has never been more certain about his next steps...
"The plan now", he confidently declares, "is to get over to Nashville again and work on the next few songs I've already completed."
~ IRISH WHISKEY ON THE SHELF, the brand NEW Irish and UK single from singer/songwriter LEE MATTHEWS, will be available on all platforms from FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4th.