Crooner Daniel O’Donnell is back in Branson through Dec. 8.
O’Donnell, who earlier this month announced he’s performing at Andy Williams Moon River Theater in 2013, has been performing at the Branson Events Center, previously known as the Tri-Lakes Center, since Nov. 1.
His Branson shows are bookended by significant breaks in his touring schedule, he said.
“This year, I had a bit of time off,” O’Donnell said. “The plan was to do shows for six months, broken up, but spread out over an 18-month period to have about a year off.”
Breaks are uncommon for O’Donnell, the Irish country tenor who earlier this year became the first artist in history to have a different album in the United Kingdom charts every year for 25 consecutive years.
That figure is from the U.K’s Official Charts Company, which has tracked 33 O’Donnell albums, and 19 singles, on the chart over the past 25 years.
O’Donnell said he was delighted at the accomplishment, even though he has never had a No. 1 album.
His best performing single was 1998’s “Give a Little Love,” which topped at No. 7. He has had two albums climb as high as No. 3 and has had 15 top-10 records over his career.
O’Donnell has been a mainstay in Branson, as well.
This year marks his 16th year performing in the Live Music Show Capital of the World.
He said his plans call for one new album a year, and he’ll continue to create new albums as long as his fans want them.
It’s a long way to have come for a singer who began his music career as a member of his sister’s band.
In 1980, O’Donnell, unhappy with his life as a student at Galway Regional College, joined his sister Margaret’s band.
Margaret O’Donnell, better known as Margo, was an established Irish country musician, having released her first singles in the 1960s.
In 1983, Daniel O’Donnell recorded a single of his own, using his own money to do so.
The following decade, he started selling out concerts across the U.K.
O’Donnell has remained true to his Donegal County, Ireland, roots.
Maybe that’s why he says to this day being named Donegal Person of the Year in 1989 was the greatest honor of his career.
O’Donnell also has been named Irish entertainer of the year three times.
In addition to numerous artist and entertainer of the year awards, he was named an honorary member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2002 for his services to the music industry and to charity.
According to his record label, O’Donnell has sold more than 12 million albums. He has also been featured on several PBS concert specials.
He is so popular in the United Kingdom that he has been spoofed and parodied by numerous sketch comedy TV and radio shows.
While he has had a lifetime of success already, O’Donnell said the happiest day of his life was something much more down to earth; when he was united in marriage to his wife, Majella, Nov. 4, 2002.
While he’s had a mostly happy past, despite the death of his father at the age of 6, O’Donnell said he's enjoying where life is taking him now.
His latest album, “Songs From the Movies and More,” came out recently in the United States and debuted in the U.K. about a month ago.
It debuted as the No. 7 album on the U.K. chart in early November.
“(The album) has a lot of very familiar songs from movies,” O'Donnell said.
Tracks include “That’s Amore,” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “Singing in the Rain” and more.
O’Donnell said some of those songs are included in his Branson shows this year.
“We don’t have the same songs every day,” he said. “And while our show is around Christmastime, we really don’t do a Christmas show.”
O’Donnell spoke candidly about his move next year to the late Williams’ theater.
“We’re looking forward to moving to Andy’s” he said. “We had to think about what we were going to do. A lot of places in Branson were very kind to us and offered us a place.”
The Branson Events Center was sold during a foreclosure auction Aug. 28 to Ozark Mountain Bank.
The bank is leasing the theater to Branson Events Center, an arm of O’Donnell’s U.S. company, Brockwell Events LLC. The lease ends at the end of the year.
For more information about O’Donnell, visit danielodonnell.org.