The County Affair Release Unplugged Single ‘Playing Poker’
Childhood best friends Kevin and Tony have reunited after 30 years as new duo The County Affair and we are delighted to announce that they are our Country Release Friday pick this week with MAM Roots. Their new unplugged single Playing Poker comes hot on the heels of Every Ghost and draws from the Irish country and American influences that dominated their youth in the 70s. Embodying the spirit of country/Americana storytelling, The County Affair have a sound rich in influence from country, Americana and blues.
Talking about Playing Poker, they reveal, “The song tells the story of a character we all have known or met…the chancer, always convinced the next thing is a sure fire winner….but just lands in more trouble.”
Inspired by the Coen Brothers, Kevin approached Playing Poker like a screenplay and paints a picture with each line. The band found a fuller sound in the studio, and with electric guitar licks, pedal steel and a sprinkling of keys, it’s an immersive listen into the story of a character we’ve all encountered in our lives.
Having grown up entrenched with the traditional sounds of Irish country, childhood best friends Kevin Brennan and Tony Regan regrouped after 30 years as new duo The County Affair. The pair met in Nottingham in the 70’s and their story is one of music, friendship and adventure. From talking about music endlessly on the school bus, to joining The Moonshiners as teenagers, an Irish country band led by Kevin’s father, their friendship has always been rooted in their shared love for music. It wasn’t long before they had started their own band, The Rambling Boys (borrowed from a song) and took to the road. Enthralled by the ‘country rock’ and ‘outlaw country’ sounds which were emerging from the US at the time, 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.