The County Affair: Meet the Yorkshire businessman who is now a full time rock star

Being a professional musician that records at world famous studios and tours the country with your best friend is the fantasy of many teenagers.

However for Kevin Brennan, this dream has now become a reality - some 40 years on. Mr Brennan is best known in Yorkshire for being the former chief executive of food brand Quorn.However today he works as a full time musician with his band The County Affair set to embark on a 21 date UK tour.

Their debut album Off the Grid, recorded at London’s legendary Abbey Road studio, came out in September and saw him reunite with his childhood best friend Tony Regan, with whom he played music as a teenager.

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In the intervening period both men enjoyed highly successful careers in business, with Mr Brennan having served as worldwide CEO of Quorn.

Kevin and Tony back in the day

During his decade at the vegetarian food firm it was transformed into a £1bn valued business whose products were sold all over the world.

However, after 10 years at the business, his first love of music began calling him.

“Some big investment decisions were coming and I did not want to leave in the middle of them being realised,” he said. “I had spoken for a long time with the owners that at some point I would make that change.

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A press shot of Kevin and Tony as The Country Affair

“In parallel I had started to go back to songwriting. I fell in love with it and then started to record some of the material. I thought how much I would love to have some more time to do this but I couldn’t because Quorn was 24/7.”

As is true for most success stories in show business, a stroke of good luck came his way.

Mr Brennan was interviewed by Radio 5 Live about his decision to step down from Quorn and mentioned that he had begun recording music.

Listening that day was veteran producer Tom Nichols at Abbey Road who sought out the band’s music.

He made contact and offered to help them record their debut.

“As soon as Abbey Road opened back up we were in,” he said. "I think we were the second artists to record after it reopened.

“Usually when I speak to The Yorkshire Post it would be about creating jobs in Stokesley or on buildings we had invested in, so this is a slight change of topic.”

The County Affair sees Mr Brennan reunite with his lifelong best friend Mr Regan.

The pair had been in bands together as teenagers, making their money playing live shows each weekend while their classmates worked Saturday jobs.

They even toured in the USA in their early twenties playing infamous venues throughout Texas and San Francisco and were approached to sign to management and go professional.

But with post-graduate jobs waiting for both of them in the UK, they entered the corporate world.

Deep in the heart of his business career Mr Brennan admits he came close to giving up on music altogether but said a then neighbour of his - also a songwriter - encouraged him to give it another shot.

Soon, the desire to play music again was too much.

“I just thought I don’t think that is me anymore,” he said. Suddenly I just really wanted to make music again. Tony always just had a great natural voice. I thought how great it would be to work with him again so I reached out..

“It just gelled and we loved working together. We are very fortunate that the desire to get together and make a go of it has been proven.”

The County Affair draw from Irish country and American influences that dominated their youth.

Mr Brennan said that when his friends were listening to The Clash, he and Mr Regan were listening to Gram Parsons.

It is this Americana theme that runs through the new album, which has already been met with critical acclaim.

The band's London show sold out within days and shortly after, the band were approached by Ward Thomas to join them on their 21 date UK tour in November.

The County Affair will play at Leeds’s City Varieties venue on November 10.