'King of Country' Big Tom sang at gigs in old Hazel Hotel in Kildare

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'King of Country' Big Tom sang at gigs in old Hazel Hotel in Kildare
11:58 Tuesday 17th of April 2018

Country music singer 'Big Tom' who has died at the age of 81 held gigs in the past for fans in The Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin.

Tom McBride from County Monaghan was best known for hits including Four Country Roads, Back To Castleblayney and The Old Rustic Bridge.

The Hazel Hotel on the busy Dublin Road was a regular venue for country music stars but it now serves as an accommodation centre for asylum seekers.

The Mainliners frontman became the first person to be inducted into Ireland’s Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2016.

Watch Big Tom in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdUCtKTkOXA

His family say he passed away peacefully this morning.

Their statement said: “Dad passed away peacefully in the company of his family. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sent his condolences to Big Tom's family on the news of his death.

He said: "I was very saddened to hear of the death of Big Tom this morning. Big Tom was certainly a giant in Irish country music for over 50 years.

"With his band the Mainliners, he filled dance halls the length and breadth of the country. His songs were a reflection of Irish life and an important connection for the Irish diaspora.

"Not many people are known by their first name, but that was Big Tom. It shows his popularity and legendary status as the king of Irish country music.

"I want to extend my condolences to his family and his huge army of fans."

His wife Rose, who was also well known on the country music scene, died at the end of January.

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