*Editor's Note: Welcome to season two of Mike Farragher's "TAYSHT" series, his column and podcast exploring Irish America's culture and food. You can read the previous installment here.
Not long ago, Andy Cooney was crowned by none other than The New York Times as Irish America’s favorite son, and that doesn’t appear to be fake news to his legions of fans!
"Take Her in Your Arms" is his new collection of songs, recorded during the pandemic, and features an engaging mixture of old country standards and unsung Irish classics.
Like his legendary live shows, there’s something on this album for everyone. He drops his famous tenor a few octaves to tackle “She Thinks I Still Care,” the George Jones chestnut, and offers a sweet read of The Waterboys’ “In Search of A Rose.”
He has just as much reverence for Tommy Mulvihill’s lesser-known “Keep The Tradition Alive.” The lyrics in that tune will surely resonate with Andy’s rabid Irish American fan bases.
“Proud Irish stock/keep the tradition alive/
O’Brein’s and O’Neils on each side.
Reddy faced rogue would speak with a brogue”
One of nine children born into a deep-rooted Irish American family from Long Island, NY, Cooney has been singing Irish songs for most of his life. As a young lad, he sang at family and church gatherings, with his professional career beginning at the young age of 17.
He began appearing in many of the well-known Irish establishments in the New York area entertaining audiences with his piano playing and singing, and at 19 in 1986, the well-known Irish bandleader, Paddy Noonan, asked Cooney to tour with his show. For the next several years Cooney toured with Noonan gaining national exposure.
Because so much of country music has Irish roots, Nashville soon took notice of his talents. Cooney has worked with several of country music’s finest, including The Oak Ridge Boys, The Statlers, Larry Gatlin, Charlie Daniels, and Crystal Gayle. His CD, Irish Country Skyline, was released in Ireland and the UK in the summer of 2016 and still enjoys airplay on Irish country music stations.
Cooney has launched countless entertainment endeavors that have seen him lead tours of Ireland and the high seas. His latest includes the wildly popular Irish Music Hour podcast, available on most music streaming services.
Just like Paddy Noonan did for a young Andy Cooney back in the day, Cooney is keen to share his spotlight—and the podcast airwaves and slots on his annual boat cruise—to showcase up-and-coming talent.
On the latest installment of the TAYSHT podcast, I talk to Andy Cooney about the resurgence of the Catskills, working with his son, Ryan, on the new album, and his plans for a jam-packed 2023.
For all things Andy Cooney, check out AndyCooney.com