Arts Q&A: Country singer Gerry Guthrie on George Jones, Bohemian Rhapsody and teeth sucking

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Ballina country singer Gerry Guthrie

Country singer Gerry Guthrie is among artists taking part in a night of country music with Hugo Duncan at Belfast's Grand Opera House on February 18

1. When did you think about a career in performing and what were your first steps into it? I can't remember a time when I didn't want to play music. A guitar that had been left in my grandmother's house by an uncle of mine who had emigrated in the late 1960s was my start. When I was 15 myself and a great friend of mine, Paul Newell, started out playing around the local gigs and the rest is history.

2. Best gigs you've been to? Billy Joel at the Aviva, Dublin 2018, Vince Gill in Dublin 2013 and George Jones in 2007.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? I'd say Queen – the original line up.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island? Definitely George Jones's Greatest Hits Collection. He is and was my favourite singer of all time.

5. And the book? I'm in the middle of reading the great country songwriter Bill Anderson's autobiography. It would be hard to get it from my hands if I had to go today.

6. Top three films? Walk The Line, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Bohemian Rhapsody (go and see it if you haven't already).

7. Worst film you've seen and why? Usually if I'm not grabbed by a film 20 minutes in, I just turn it off.

8. Favourite authors? Michael Harding and David Jason.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? The rest of the lads in our house when I was growing up were soccer, Gaelic and hurling mad, but I'm not a follower of team sport of any kind.

10. Ideal holiday destination? I have been promising myself a trip to Nashville for quite a while so that's top of my list for 2019. I do love a few days in Lanzarote or Tenerife though.

11. Pet hate? Loud chewing, or people chewing with their mouths open or that that thing people do sucking air through their teeth. The French even have a name for it – le tchip!

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Chicken fajitas. I attempt to make them at home, but the ones from the proper Mexican restaurant are best.

Dessert? Any kind of ice cream.

Drink? A cold pint of Coors Light.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? My oldest and best friend is Darren O' Boyle. Wee were reared on the same street – they lived in number six and we are number 22.

14. Is there a God? I like to think there is; it's the first place we turn in times of trouble isn't it? I'm playing it safe anyway with an odd prayer or a candle lit here and there along the way.

:: Gerry Guthrie will be appearing alongside Philomena Begley, Robert Mizzell, Barry Kirwan, Owen Mac and Hugo Duncan in Hugo & Friends, a special evening of country music at Belfast's Grand Opera House on February 18. Tickets from

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