Childhood friends regroup after 30 years as new Americana duo “The County Affair”

Childhood friends regroup after 30 years as new Americana duo “The County Affair”

The County Affair’s story is that of music, friendship and adventure. Childhood best friends Kevin Brennan and Tony Regan met in Nottingham in the 70s. Travelling together on the same school bus each day, they talked endlessly about music and the ‘country rock’ and ‘outlaw country’ sounds that were emerging from the US at the time. As teenagers, they joined The Moonshiners, an Irish country band led by Kevin’s father, and were playing up to three gigs each weekend whilst their schoolmates worked in shops and on paper rounds. Before long they had started their own band, The Rambling Boys (borrowed from a song) and took to the road. Though grounded in the Irish country they had grown to love, they began to introduce their audiences to the country-rock of Waylon Jennings, Creedence and Joe Ely in their sets.

The band parted ways as Kevin and Tony left to study at different universities, but their friendship endured. A couple of years later, they found themselves – separately – on the east coast of the US, Tony as part of his studies and Kevin coaching a kids’ soccer team. As if fate had brought them back together, they seized an opportunity to play for a new crowd in Houston and there the real adventure began. Zig-zagging across the US the duo spent extended periods in Texas where they became a household name within the wider local Irish community, receiving glowing reviews from local press and radio. Eventually landing in the thriving music scene of San Francisco, they became sought after by venues across the city sometimes playing up to 4-hour sets, four nights a week. They were approached to sign to management and go pro, but with post-graduate jobs waiting for both of them in the UK, it was time to go home.

30 years later, married with families and successful careers under their belts, the duo are picking up where they left off. Kevin, who recently stepped down from a significant role at a major international brand, had been penning his own songs for the last several years. He would send these onto Tony, who tweaked the vocal and lyrical arrangements, adding in chords here and there… and just like that, The County Affair was born. The band caught the attention of veteran producer Tom Nichols, a partnership was struck and their Abbey Road album soon took shape.

Having grown up entrenched in the traditional sounds of Irish country and being so inspired by the American influences that dominated their youth, it only made sense that their own sound would be crafted on a wealth of Country, Americana and Blues. Their debut single ‘Every Ghost’ is a song of acceptance and taking the time to understand another person’s story. After hearing the experiences of several homeless men a few years ago, Kevin began to notice a common thread. People too often assume homelessness to be the result of poor choices. Often, what this assumption overlooks are the life-changing events that can cause a person’s world to collapse entirely. ‘Every Ghost’ humanises the story of the stranger sleeping in a doorway, and calls for us to stop, ask and have empathy rather than drawing our own conclusions.

“This song is very much about capturing stories of life everyone can relate to, even if it has not happened to them” explains Tony.

The duo recorded ‘Every Ghost’ at the infamous Abbey Road Studios, led by producer Tom Nichols who captured their vision and influence from the likes of Dave Alvin, Steve Earle, and Joe Ely. 40 years of friendship founded on a shared love of music has paved the way for The County Affair’s distinctive sound with a strong Americana band feel and powerful storytelling.

“Having listened to Americana for decades there are lots of songwriting influences. Time and again through the strongest are Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Steve Earle. These for a long time have written songs and had a sound I’ve been inspired by.” – Kevin

Things are just getting started for The County Affair, and with a highly anticipated album due for release later this year, they’re raring to go with their next adventure.

Artist: The County Affair

Release: Every Ghost (single)

Release Date: 13 April 2021

For Fans Of: Dave Alvin, Steve Earle, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton