Byrne and Kelly, Artist of the Week
Runs July 25-29th
What began as Celtic Thunder’s Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly performing a series of shows together called ‘Acoustic By Candlelight’ back in 2012 has turned into what is now known as Byrne and Kelly. Driven by dynamic vocal harmonies, the duo seamlessly dives into combining genres like traditional Irish and Americana to create a fresh, Celtic folk sound.
In 2013 Byrne and Kelly was awarded ‘Best Duo in a Concert, Pub or Festival’ and ‘Best New Album’ for Acoustically Irish by the Irish Music Association. In addition, Acoustically Irish took the Billboard #1 position, World Album #1 on iTunes in the United States, Australia and Canada, Amazon #1 World Album and cdbaby Global Chart #1.
The duo’s second album release, Live in Australia, was recorded live at The Vanguard in Sydney, Australia in June of 2014. Following the release later in the year, Live in Australia quickly became the #1 World Album on Billboard, iTunes, Amazon and cdbaby.
Byrne and Kelly’s latest release, Echoes, is a collection of nine original tracks and the well known Irish classic ‘Step It Out Mary’. During a remote weekend writing retreat in County Cavan, Ireland with fellow musicians Nicole Hudson and Peter Sheridan, the seed for the Echoes album was planted. Just over a year later, the result is a 10 track album featuring songs that highlight their rich, Irish culture and experiences traveling the world playing music. Echoes received immediate chart success following its release in February of 2016 and hit the #1 spot on the iTunes World Music chart, Billboard Top 5 World Album, #1 Amazon Traditional Folk and #1 Amazon Traditional British & Folk charts, Amazon Top 100 Album, and Google Play Top World Album.
Music has been a huge part of Neil’s life since he was very young. A native of Bray, County Wicklow – Ireland, Neil’s father was a busy musician and it was at the age of 6 that he watched his father’s three-piece band play at a wedding. “The sound just completely blew me away,” he recalls. “I didn’t really understand what I was listening to but I just understood it was absolutely wonderful.”
What followed were lots of gigs the length and breath of Ireland and beyond with many bands including Chase (with his brother Paul!), Oden, Hipple Street and Phil Coulter’s band. It was this connection that lead to Neil becoming part of “Celtic Thunder”.
For the past seven years, Neil has been performing to hundreds of thousands of people across North American and Australia with “Celtic Thunder” as a lead vocalist and band member along with recording on Billboard’s Top World Artist, Album and Imprint for 2009 & 2011.
In addition to performing on “Acoustically Irish” and “Live in Australia”, Neil also produced both albums and continues to write and produce new music.
The village that they call The Moy in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, may be where Ryan Kelly resides, but he’s just as comfortable calling the studio and stage home. He began his love affair with music and performing early on in his life, and he’s remained faithful to his first love ever since.
Ryan developed his wide range of musical tastes from a lifetime filled with varied influences- from traditional Irish songs, to acoustic to rock to showtunes – and he’s combined them all into his own distinctive style as a singer/songwriter.
He currently tours and records as one of the stars of the highly successful, platinum and multi-gold selling musical show, “Celtic Thunder”. Performing with “Celtic Thunder” has allowed Ryan to showcase both his acting and singing abilities to audiences all across North America, Australia and beyond.
Ryan has performed live with West Life, Girls Aloud and Simply Red in the “Children In Need” televised charity concert at the Odyssey in Belfast, sung the US National Anthem for his beloved Boston Celtics, and has performed for the US President and his family at the White House.
Ryan’s talents don’t end with his phenomenal musical abilities. He is also an accomplished actor. He’s taken on roles such as that of Mickey Johnstone in the musical “Blood Brothers” and Judas Iscariot in “Jesus Christ Superstar” to much success and praise.