The family of Gene Stuart are fulfilling his dying wish by releasing a poignant DVD of songs which the country legend had produced and filmed himself in the final months before his death of cancer last February.
The 72 year old devoted husband to Briege and father of three Barry, Colin and Karen was first diagnosed in September 2015 of pancreatic cancer but was determined that he would finish his last ever recordings as his parting gift to his loyal legion of fans.
Briege his wife of over four decades recalls how difficult it was when the show band legends health was rapidly deteriorating while filming, producing and editing the DVD which made it a very painful and extremely emotional task.
“I really had to brace myself to see Gene on the screen but it was Genes last wish to have this released for his loyal fans and I wanted to honour that,” she said.
Briege remembers how very weak Gene was at the time of the recordings and how he valiantly struggled to finish the project. “He wasn’t well and hardly fit to dress himself, but he insisted on travelling to these locations he had picked around his beloved home county of Tyrone to perform and film his songs even in really bad weather. Afterwards he was so exhausted he would go straight to bed. He was so determined to finish this himself. It was his labour of love.”
Gene got his first big break in 1969 when he auditioned to become the lead vocalist with the hugely popular Mighty Avon Show Band after former lead vocalist Larry Cunningham decided to pursue a solo agreed. He was given the job and was an instant hit and soon became a household name throughout Ireland. He later formed his own country band ‘Gene Stuart and the Homesteaders’ and toured extensively while releasing hit after hit.
Gene recorded over 20 albums in his career including one album and several singles recorded in Nashville.
Up until the country legend took ill he was still one of the most popular, respected and in demand country artists in Ireland.
The DVD, entitled ‘The Corner of My Life’, was released on October 28 and has twelve carefully chosen tracks by Gene and feature songs including A Heartful of Memories, When I Found Her, A Fool Never Learns and Heaven Country Style.
The DVD is available at all good music shops, online from www.genestuart.com and Stewart’s Music Store Dungannon.