Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Levi Riggs:

Hillbilly Superstar and There's Still A Place for That 

I didn't know who Levi Riggs was at the time, until I went to work  on July 18, 2013.  He was to be the first opening act for Travis Tritt at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, MI.  Originally, the only opener was the Kentucky Headhunters but Levi Riggs was a last minute addition. 

It had been pouring rain that evening and wouldn't stop until later that evening.   There wasn't a huge crowd of people in the pavilion when he took the stage that night along with his band.  Most of the people who had arrived early for the concert that evening were treated to an awesome performance by a young talented up and comer from Indiana.  

Levi Riggs performed a total of eight songs that evening.   The crowd seemed to enjoy the music they were hearing.  I wasn't as familiar with his music as some in the crowd seemed to be.  I did enjoy myself, he has an awesome voice and an amazing band.

Three of the songs in his set list from that night came from his album Hillbilly Superstar. He sang the title track from the album along with "Easy" and "My Best Friend's A Girl."  "Down Home Boy" another song from his list comes off his album There's Still A Place For That.  The other four songs he performed that night came from his yet to be released album I'm Good which is due to be released on Aug. 20, 2013.  

Through out his entire performance Levi made it a point to introduce himself to the crowd. He definitely wanted people to get to know him a little better by telling them to join him on Facebook and Twitter.  He even said that if you follow him on Twitter that he would follow you back.  He even suggested the audience visit his website leviriggs.com for more information about him and his music.  

By the end of his set everyone knew his name and where to find him when they got home. Even though I wasn't watching the stage I heard every beautiful word he sang. 

When I got home after the show ended I went straight to my Twitter account so that I could follow Levi Riggs.  A few minutes later I had a new follower, Levi Riggs.  He was definitely true to his word.  I posted a couple tweets which got favorite by Levi Riggs.  I also logged into Spotify to see if I could listen to any of Levi's music.   Sure enough both of his albums were available on Spotify.  

I started listening to all the tracks on Hillbilly Superstar via Spotify.  I also went to Levi's website to find that I could sign up for Exclusive Access to receive seven songs of his for free.  A video and free downloadable song a day what could be better.  He even responded to some of my tweets and the message I wrote to him on Facebook.

The first downloadable song was "Hillbilly Superstar" the title track from the album of the same name.  It's a song about a guy who's entertaining his family at the backyard barbecue and he only has three strings on his dad's guitar.  He doesn't care cause he wants to rock out like Elvis.  

I never heard a song I could sing along with only after listening to it just once.  This song was amazing.  I loved the lyrics they were so easy to recall that I actually started hearing it being played in my head.  I also found that it is a great song to listen to while walking the dog or even working out.  Its also easy to dance to.

In the first video I learned that  his early influences were Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Harry Chapin along with Alabama's harmonies.  

He got his first taste of what it might be like to be a country singer in the fifth grade musical where he sang the John Micheal Montgomery song "Sold."   He walked up into the crowd and sang the song to his teacher.  

In high school he was in four musicals, three of which he was the lead.  He starred in Bye Bye Birdie where he played the lead.  Decked out in a gold suit he rocked the stage as the girls swoon around him.  He realized this is what it might be like down the road.

He went to Purdue University after high school.  He got his degree in Agriculture Sales and Marketing.  He also was a part of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club.  When he got his conformation call that he got into the Glee Club he was working  at his family's dairy farm in the dairy parlor.

The second song "F-150" was released as a single on Feb. 6, 2010 for download from Amazon and iTunes.  Its a song about a guy having fun in his '92 F-150.  It's also a love song about a girl the guy was in love with at the time.  It has a great beat to it and the lyrics are memorable which is always a good thing for me.  I love listening to it when I take my dog for a walk.  Its another song you can sing along with and never miss a beat.  The only way to get this song is by downloading it but its definitely worth the money in my opinion.  It's one of those song you just can't get out of your head.

The song for day three was "Tailgate Time" another song released as a single and only available on download.  It was released Aug.  26, 2010.  It's a song about having a good time with friends in the parking lot of your favorite football team.  It's about being a great fan whose committed to his favorite team.  I love this song even if I'm not a big fan of football.  I love the idea of being a committed fan.  I'm a committed hockey fan whose devoted to my favorite team even when they are down.  He performed this song at the Superbowl in January 2011.  He got to meet his idol Randy Travis when he performed "Tailgate Time" at the Superbowl.

"My Best Friend's A Girl" is the number four song and track two off of Hillbilly Superstar.  The song is about a guy who's wife is always bugging him about going down to Disney World as well as having babies.  Another great song from Levi Riggs and one that is definitely worth a listen.  If you have Spotify this another song that deserves to be listened to over and over again.  Its a great song to listen to especially if your best friend's a girl.  

So far all four songs have been incredible and I love listening to them.  I even got a friend of mine to sign up for his video/song a day.  Can't go wrong with a free song that you can download and put onto your iPod or your mp3 player.  

Day five was a song entitled "Down Home Boy" which comes from his album There's Still A Place For That.  This song talks about raising your kids up with morals and values with grandma's bible and grandpa's rifle, everything that makes America strong and it all relies on agriculture.  He took everything he learned in the FFA and applied to every aspect of his life and even his music career.  

So far every song is note worthy and definitely worth purchasing.  All his songs are great to take with you on a walk with your dog.  I find myself singing along with the music as I'm walking.  I don't care who hears me because where I live its 100 times better than the crap I hear coming from cars that drive down the street.  

Day six I downloaded the song "Easy" which also appears on Levi's album Hillbilly Superstar. There isn't much to say about this song except that its awesome.  He has a great time performing on stage with his band and the fans make it "Easy."  I've never seen another artist who seems to have a great connection with his audience.  The next time he's in town I'm gonna make sure I get tickets.  His music really appeals to me.  It puts you in a good mood and it makes you smile.  

The last day of his week of free music ends with "There's Still A Place For That" which is the title track of the album with the same name.  He filmed his first music video using this song.  The song is about there still being a place for morals in this country, there's still a place for God, about respecting your parents and your elders, treating people the way you want to be treated.  These are all messages that connect with Levi.  

So far I've downloaded seven amazing songs each one unique as well as memorable.  If you've read this blog all the way through to the end then I think you need to definitely check out Levi Riggs.  I guarantee you won't be sorry, I wasn't and neither was my friend.  You can listen to his music on Spotify for free and then go to his website leviriggs.com to sign up for the Exclusive Access and get seven free songs.  Who can beat getting something for free.  My advice is take advantage of what you can get for free.  

If you like what you hear then by all means go purchase his albums either getting a hard copy or downloading them.  I can only seem to find them at either amazon.com or on iTunes.  Both albums were released in Aug. 2011 and are available for download on both Amazon or iTunes, but the only place to find a hard copy of both albums is on Amazon.  His new album I'm Good was released on Aug. 20, 2013 but is currently only available for download from iTunes and Amazon.

Here is the music video that goes with the song from day seven of the Exclusive Access.  http://youtu.be/jVLq4cZQgA4

I sure do hope you enjoy Levi Rigg's music as much as I have.  Please remember to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.  If you like his music send him a Tweet.  I'm sure you'll get a reply or even have it favorited.  Remember if you follow him on Twitter he'll follow you back.

Thanks you for taking the time to read this.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

A Day filled with Green, Good Craic and Great Music

Today is St. Patrick's Day: a day filled with everything green, good craic and great music along with a few surprises thrown in for good measure.  A day in which consuming green beer isn't frowned upon and if you find a Leprechaun hold him hostage and he will grant you 3 wishes in exchange for his release. My only wish would be bring to your pot of gold but that just isn't gonna happen instead I'll settle for having a unique St. Patrick's Day filled with lots of new findings and plenty of Mexican food. 

Early this morning I was searching YouTube.com for a video about County Tyronne, Ireland.  A young friend of mine, Alyssa Schaefer, is preparing to visit Ireland for school and was interested in any videos about 'The Moy which is in County Tyronne.  

For those of you that are not a Thunderhead or an fan of Celtic Thunder, 'The Moy is home to Ryan Kelly, one of the lead singers of the group.  Mr. Kelly has been known to frequent Tomney's Bar in 'The Moy when he's not on tour with Celtic Thunder in either US/Canada or Australia.  

After finding the video that I've seen a few times prior, I decided to see if there were any videos about 'The Moy which might include the bar but all I found  was the video for Ryan Kelly's The Village That They Call 'The MoyI then decided to see if there were any videos about the bar itself but again I got nothing except, Geraldine Quinn's YouTube Channel which has a couple videos recorded in Tomney's Bar in 'The Moy but none about the bar itself.

I just happen to come across this lovely little gem of a video http://youtu.be/JBptjW59Ac4 by Derek Ryan who is from County Carlow, Ireland.  I checked out some of Derek Ryan's other videos that were posted on  YouTube.  Derek Ryan's Mary http://youtu.be/IyAlpq1dqVI which is a truly beautiful original song.  I then happened upon this video by sheer coincidence http://youtu.be/WZnQkvQYlNw which seems to have been recorded inside Tomney's Bar and outside in various locations in 'The Moy.  Next I came across an interview of Derek Ryan with Seamus Quinn on Country Time With Quinn http://youtu.be/m560f5_3LyQ that's when I found out Derek Ryan is a country music artist. Here is the link to Derek Ryan's website http://www.derekryanmusic.com/

Again I found another video from Country Time With Quinn this one featuring Nathan Carter, who is another country music artist in Ireland. I then found another performance and interview on The Nolan Show on 1/23/2013 http://youtu.be/CMxcif8HSdE . Nathan currently resides in Fermanagh after having spent 3 years in Donegal.  He puts a country spin on various traditional Irish songs including Caledonia http://youtu.be/2Fo2Jyw3hrs which was also recorded by Celtic Thunder. Here is another video from Nathan Carter http://youtu.be/fLBHIAxWA8Y, it starts out with Spanish Lady which has been recorded by The Kilkenny's and appears on Celtic Thunder's newest album Mythology.  This video also features the song Holy Ground which Celtic Thunder along with The Kilkenny's recorded.  The last part of the song, Westmeath Bachelor, I never heard of until now but its kinda funny because it talks about Mullingar which is Emmet Cahill's hometown.  I found that he has recorded  country music that I am familiar with including http://youtu.be/sJj-xXFxzMg.  Here is the link to Nathan Carter's website http://nathancartermusic.com/

All of this happened purely by accident.  It's like discovering new talent even when the talent in question has been around for awhile. I'm very happy to have found them and to share them will all my friends :)   I guess that's what happens when you live in the United States and aren't very familiar with country music artists across the Pond in Ireland.  

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona

Happy Saint Patrick's Day !!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Celtic Thunder Christmas CD

This is only the second month of the new year and I feel like time is just slipping by, before I know it March will be here along with PBS promos for Mythology.  I still need to figure out how I'm gonna get the two disk deluxe CD from the CT Website but I'll get it eventually.  Since the new CD is already in the bag I think its time the Lads record and produce a new Christmas CD since that's the only way they will have Christmas Shows again.  

With the addition of Colm Keegan last year and Emmet Cahill the year before I think its high time they did just that.  I know that last summer Lady A recorded their new Christmas CD that came out before Christmas and this coming summer seems like the perfect time to record a New Celtic Thunder Christmas CD.

Their first CD contained: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas and When You Wish Upon A Star which were both solo's of Neil Byrne.  Then there was Winter Wonderland and Our First Christmas Together which were  solo's of Damian McGinty, who is no longer with the group.  Then there's Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow and Baby, It's Cold Outside two solo's by Ryan Kelly.  Last Christmas and All I Want For Christmas Is You which are two amazing solo's by Keith Harkin.  Going Home For Christmas and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday two solo performances by George Donaldson.  Then there was Ave Maria the only solo performance by Paul Byrom, who also is no longer with the group.  Then you have a bunch of ensemble performances which includes: Silent Night, Christmas 1915 and a Christmas Medley of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year/We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

I've asked a few people who are frequent visitors to the CT Pub which is part of the the CT website for help in coming up with a list of Christmas songs the lads might sing on a new CD.  I created a playlist on Spotify which I posted on both Facebook and Twitter.  The following is a list of songs that were chosen and the artist who has recorded it: 

1.   Blue Christmas, I chose the Michael Buble not the version recorded originally by Elvis  the following video as taken from Michael Buble's Christmas Special on NBC http://youtu.be/CxieY7dKyt0 

2.   Wonderful Christmastime  recorded by  Paul McCartney

3.   Step into Christmas recorded by Elton John http://youtu.be/9Fjik78LapA

4.   Carol of The Bells (voice)  the version that John Williams recorded  which was apart of the Home Alone soundtrack http://youtu.be/xajv-YAYUJk

5.    Christmas[Baby Please Come Home] recorded by  Michael Buble the following was part of the X-Factor Live Final http://youtu.be/pbwO2nyUYYA  

6.    (There's No Place Like)Home For The Holidays recorded by Perry Como  http://youtu.be/7WqdBtEXoWo

7.    Little Saint Nick recorded The Beach Boys, the following video is  an original video so its in black and white

8.    Christmas Dreaming recorded by Frank Sinatra

9.    It Came Upon A Midnight Clear  recorded by Josh Groban, the following video came from the Dec 10, 2007 episode of Regis and Kelly  http://youtu.be/cXTk9tadkvY

10.  Jingle Bell Rock the Glee Cast version not the original version by Bobby Helms   http://youtu.be/r9lfPy5eCk0

11.   Happy Christmas (War Is Over)  the Glee Cast version not the John Lennon version  http://youtu.be/Dh5aNLVJvkE

12.  Twelve Days Of Christmas  recorded by Bing Crosby 

13.  White Christmas which was made famous by Bing Crosby,  this is from the movie Holiday Inn which also features White Christmas   

14.   Christmas in Killarney another song recorded by Bing Crosby   http://youtu.be/_KgoUNH2f8c

15.   Home (Christmas Version) recorded by Blake Shelton featuring Michael Buble can be found on Blake Shelton's Christmas CD the following video was part of  Michael Buble's Christmas show on NBC http://youtu.be/wKEPXzfxPRc

16.   We Need A Little Christmas the  Johnny Mathis version of the song from the musical Mame, its the version I hear every Christmas   http://youtu.be/_FB3h8IFCro

17.   Marshmallow World the Dean Martin version  http://youtu.be/f1HCQ3pOdRY

18.   River recorded Sarah McLachlan http://youtu.be/E2t9J4YBI_0

19.   A New York Christmas recorded by  Rob Thomas the following video is from Live at Rockefeller Center 2009 http://youtu.be/X2-vMdNk7fw

20.  Do They Know It's Christmas the Band Aid version is the best but I couldn't find it so I went with The Pop Royals instead.  The following is a video of the original 1984 Band Aid from Top of The Pops http://youtu.be/NoGAC7ELG9Q

21.  Grown-up Christmas List recorded by Anthony Evans and Amy Grant, the following video is the Amy Grant version http://youtu.be/RmF2rsDHOZc

That's a lot of music but its all songs that have been recorded at one time or another by other artists. I'm pretty sure most everyone has heard these songs played on the radio during the Christmas season.    As for who should sing what, I'm still working on that but here's what I've come up with so far:  Little Saint Nick and Step Into Christmas would be ideal for Keith while Neil could really brighten up the song Blue Christmas; It Came Upon A Midnight Clear would be an excellent choice for Emmet to sing, I can hear him singing that song right now;  Ryan would be perfect choice to sing Christmas in Killarney while I think George could definitely bring new life to the song Happy Christmas(War Is Over) which was made famous by John Lennon/Yoko Ono and even though the song River was recorded by Sarah McLachlan I definitely think it would make an excellent choice Colm to record.

I know that's not every song on the  list but its a start.  I definitely think that 12 Days of Christmas and Do They Know It's Christmas would have to be an ensemble songs. I think the Christmas version of Home would be an excellent duo between Ryan and Colm.  

I'm pretty sure that there are more songs that I could add to this list but I thought this would be a great start.  If you know of any Christmas songs you think the lads should record please leave me a comment with the title of the song and who recorded it also let me know  should it be a solo, duet or ensemble piece.  If it should be recorded as a solo let me know which one of the lads should sing it. 

It really is time they recorded a new CD besides they won't do Christmas shows until a new one is recorded.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Year in Review

I know this blog is about Celtic Dreams which would usually be centered around the guys of Celtic Thunder but since I wasn't able to go to a CT concert last year this time its just gonna be about MY year.

I started Jan. 1, 2012 unemployed and not so sad about loosing my job, a job I really grew to hate over the last few years.  I figured it was time for a change of scenery but I assure you I was not ready for the nightmare that was my year.

I was lucky that I had some money in a 401K but that didn't last long especially when I had to visit a specialist about my breathing.  The summer was not good at all.  I spent 3 hours the day before my birthday in the ER and the only thing they did was do a CT scan.  It was specialist that I feel like I wasted my money on but the up side was that it didn't cost me thousands of dollars to see him.  The ER visit cost me 2900 which I can't pay for since I don't have a job or any form of insurance.

I met some new friends in the CT Pub which is a great place for me to relax especially when I need to unwind.

My mom went to the ER the night before Thanksgiving and was admitted on Thanksgiving morning.  I had already made some things for the dinner but now we were going to be 1 less this year.  I made the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes.  She was in the hospital until the following Monday when she was transferred to a skilled nursing rehab facility.  She stayed in there 20 days though I think the PT people wanted her to stay longer but she kept telling them that she couldn't afford it.  My mom takes care of the finances so she knows what she can afford and what she can't.

On the 16th of December she finally got out of that place.  They didn't work with her to help prepare her to come home so when she came home that Sunday she almost didn't get into the house because she was afraid to fall.  She had only did the stairs in rehab once which wasn't enough especially when we have 3 steps you have to climb in order to get in our kitchen.

Christmas was not so good last year it wasn't so bad at least I got to see CT at the Fox Theatre in Detroit but not this year.  I did see Neil and Ryan at the Old Shillelagh in Detroit on May 11, 2012.  It was probably the highlight of my year.  Santa did not visit my house this year and its not because I was on the naughty list it was because no one could afford it.  I was happy when I was baking cookies or bread but it was the time in between that was the darkest for me.

I ended the year just as I started the year broke and unemployed, two things I never thought would happen to me.  I so wanted to work but it just wasn't in the cards for me but not this year.  I have a new train of thought and I've decided to go for the Brass Ring its the only way for me to be happy.  Ever since I changed the direction of this blog I've become one with the music that I love.

One of my resolutions is starting to come true now if I can just stick with my goals and plans I will be a new person at the end of next year 2013.

Look out 2013, this is my year.

Sorry its a bit late, but better late than never.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pale Blue Jak

This post is dedicated to the one guy who re-lit my fire or rather my passion for writing.  He's the one whose beautiful music can put a smile on your face. The one who is there when life is good and bad. He knows how to make women of all ages swoon.  He is my sunshine,  my only sunshine.  He is my muse, in a round about way.  The leading man in most of my CT fan fiction stories online and offline.  Neil Byrne is definitely one of a kind, an original. He makes the world a better place doing what he loves, making beautiful music.  His passion for his music is what drives him to succeed.


Pale Blue Jak is the brand name that was created to express a new form of music that is unconventional, energetic, charismatic and very quirky.  If you never read his blog on http://www.neilbyrnemusic.com/2011/10/pale-blue-jak/you'd never know that Neil Byrne of Celtic Thunder fame and Pale Blue Jak are one in the same.

It's not really a name one might think would be in the same category of musicality as Madonna, Lady Gaga or even Adele.  He is truly a unique character.  His songs are as varied as are the tempos. One song on Pale Blue Jak's album Faces can be found on Neil Byrne's Sensitive Souls Ep.  Sadie Jones is quickly becoming a popular lady that many female fan would love to trade places with, if even for a moment.  Here is the video from YouTube so you can decide if you'd like to be Sadie for a day, month, or year. http://youtu.be/OIsg8KKwrcw

This is not your A typical pop album you might get from any random artist.  This Cd was put together with a lot of thought  into what would not only please the listener but the artist as well.  When you listen to the album in its entirety you can really get a sense that this wasn't just thrown together but carefully crafted.  Each song shares a common thread that is carefully woven into a fine silk tapestry. 

This album will excite your visual taste buds.  Every character is unique with his/her own style.  It is not hard to imagine what a video for any of the 13 tracks might look like.  Its as if this album is a part of a bigger picture or maybe a larger compilation of music.  

I was really impressed by the quality of the music on this Cd, not only did I find myself tapping my toes but dancing about the house.  I don't own a lot of albums simply because there aren't generally enough tracks to warrant making a purchase that big.  I generally only  like a couple songs on a particular album but that is not the case with Faces.  I love every song.  I guess I'm a bit biased but I think I know what good music is when I hear it.  I am a fan of Madonna, Lady Gaga and Adele but I don't think I'd ever purchase one of their albums simply because there's only maybe one or two songs I really like on any one Cd.

Faces was released on Oct. 14, 2011.  It is definitely a favorite of mine as well as many other Thunderheads.  We know him as Neil Byrne but with the release of his debut solo Cd he's has become the personification of Pale Blue Jak.  This album is nothing like his Ep Sensitive Souls cause there are more characters to fall in love with as well as more interesting stories to be told this time around.

The first track on the album is "Captain Lane",  who comes and goes in the blink of an eye.  This character is unlike any I can imagine but he may come close to Captain Morgan in "Two Pina Coladas" by Garth Brooks.  Captian Lane is the alter ego for the shy guy but he's only interested in one night stands.  One day the guy finds a girl he likes, someone he'd like to see more of but she ends up pulling a Captain Lane on him, leaving before he wakes.  The moral of this song is you'll never be able to find true love as long as you rely on Captain Lane to help you out.  Here is a sneak peek at Captain Lane with Neil Byrne and Declan O'Donoghue. http://youtu.be/ct5CWzKLJf8

Second track is "Pale Blue Jak," usually the title of the Cd is one of the tracks on the album but I guess that Neil wanted to change things up a bit by creating a track for the brand name.  This track is very upbeat and uptempo. When you listen to this song you'll find yourself taping your foot as well as dancing about the room.  After listening to this song a few dozen times I see that Pale Blue Jak is a DJ/VJ at a local radio/TV station and  a singer is asking him to play their Cd again.  The song kinda reminds me of "Music" by Madonna.  In that song Madonna is asking the DJ to put on a record to dance to. In "Music" the DJ is at a club where as in "Pale Blue Jak" the DJ/VJ at a radio/TV station.  He mentions going from the TV to the radio which means he does a live music show on television maybe something like American Bandstand.

The third track on the album is "Grenade" which was originally recorded by Bruno Mars.  Track number seven, "Mr Blue Sky" was recorded first by Electric Light Orchestra and track 10, "Let Em In" was recorded by Paul McCartney.  These are the only tracks recorded by other artists prior to them appearing on this album.  Even though these three tracks that were originally recorded by someone else before, I think that Neil put his special touch on them, to make them in a way his own.   The other ten tracks are all originals which is great to see on an album of this caliber.  

Upon further research into this debut solo album by Neil Byrne a.k.a. Pale Blue Jak, I've found that you never know what this guy is thinking.  He isn't into really depressing or sad songs which are usually steeped in country music but then again there are songs like "Candlestick" and "A Life I Once Had" which causes you to take a step back and rethink the meaning of those songs. These are the kind of songs that have an air of perplexity about them, they are the songs that make you wonder what was he thinking.  I think you'll find quite a few songs that will cause you to have that reaction which is a good thing, I think.

I don't really want to give away too much of this album because the whole point to this blog is to get you interested enough to buy it.  The one major flaw in that argument is that it isn't available at any retail stores just yet but can only be acquired online either by purchasing the physical album itself or by downloading it directly to your computer.  I found that Amazon is definitely the best place to either purchase the CD or download all 13 tracks.  It will cost you $17.44 for the actual Cd or $8.99 for the download at Amazon.  There are other options at Amazon if you want to buy the tangible product but downloading seems to be the most economical option available.  It's also available for download on iTunes for $9.99. You can download it at eMusic.com for $5.99 when you become a member. It can also be purchased through Neil's website in the CDs and Limited Edition items with free postage to anywhere in the world.  http://www.neilbyrnemusic.com/limited-edition/

Before I end this post I need to thank those who gave me the inspiration to write such eloquent words that I am overwhelmed and somewhat speechless every time I read it. I know I've already got three other posts under my new name but this one just feels different.  Maybe I have a greater connection to this music. I'm not  really sure but I feel like this is my maiden post, my baby.  It's taken a little longer than I thought to finish this post about Pale Blue Jak - Faces but I definitely think it is worth the wait.  

I need to thank everyone from the Listening Lounge for Neil Byrne's Fans on Facebook, CT Fans as well as anyone who helped me during my hour of need.  I'd also like to thank everyone that contributed to this album, those whose talent has made this one terrific CD to listen to. I'd also like to thank those people who have always supported Neil.  


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ryan Kelly


On Oct. 11, 2010, In Time the break out solo Cd for Ryan Kelly of Celtic Thunder was released to much acclaim and success.  All the information in this blog is taken from either www.ryankellymusic.com or from www.facebook.com/RyanKellyMusicOfficial.

The first time I ever saw Ryan Kelly was on Detroit Public Television on Easter Sunday in 2011 when he appeared live in studio with fellow Celtic Thunder member,  George Donaldson. There was just something about this black haired blue eyed man I couldn't quite put my finger on.  Maybe it was those piercing blue eyes or was it something else?  I wouldn't find out until I did some more reading about Ryan Kelly.

I didn't know he had already released a solo Cd given the fact that I just became aware of Celtic Thunder in 2011.  I bought the Heritage Cd in late summer of 2011 before their concert in December.  I just started to explore YouTube to see what I could find from Celtic Thunder.  I even started going to the group's website and then one day I was reading a blog post that said Ryan was leaving the group. I think my heart stopped. I bet I wasn't the only one that felt that way.  Neil Byrne who was the lead guitarist joined the other lads as a performer taking over for Ryan who left unexpectedly.  Emmet Cahill joined the group in 2010, he took Paul Byrom's spot but wouldn't go on tour with the rest of the lads until 2011.

Then before the fall 2011 tour started it was announced Ryan would be returning and that Damian was leaving to do Glee.  There were lots of changes for 2011 but everything worked out.  Ryan was back that was all that mattered.  Now I was searching for Ryan Kelly on YouTube to see what I could find that's when I came across the Official video of "Not Far Apart."  The first time I listened to the video I cried, the second time I listened to it I cried.  This song just brings back memories of my grandma.  Though she's been gone for a while its still hard because she's not there anymore especially when she loved Christmas.  Loss is a terrible thing to experience and this song really speaks to that emotion. Here is the link for the video of "Not Far Apart."  http://youtu.be/y0AfdSgK9Mc

The next song on YouTube I found  was the fan video for "Broken Things" which is another sad song. This song is about a broken heart which I can relate to 100 percent, because I have had a broken heart as do a lot of other people who've listened to this CD.  This was one of the first songs Ryan sang from In Time at the Acoustic By Candlelight show, it was the song he'd received a lot of comments about. I'm pretty sure there isn't a fan of either Celtic Thunder or Ryan Kelly that hasn't experienced heart break.  Loss of a loved one is heart breaking but loss from a breakup is just as bad.  With so many broken hearts its no wonder this song is so popular even if it is sad.  Here is the link for the fan video for "Broken Things." This is the video that was uploaded by RKMusicLTD. There is another fan video for this song but its not as good.  http://youtu.be/vaw8qI-QB0o

After "Broken Things" there was "The Village That They Call The Moy" which features photos of Ryan's beloved Moy in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  I love this video because it gives you have a peek at the town Ryan holds so close in his heart. I know everyone that has seen that video can't wait for the chance to view The Moy for themselves.  This is one of four songs that have a uptempo beat, I could be wrong but then again I could be right.  Since it is not possible for me to put into words what this song means I'll just include the link to the YouTube video for you to enjoy.  http://youtu.be/duXXKPAJZ10

You can find just about all his music on YouTube with the exception of "Secret Bit of Right from Wrong" and "Heaven Bound."  Those seem to be two songs that fans haven't figure out how to create a video for.  I could post every link to all his songs but that would take up too much space besides I have much more to write about and I don't really want to cloud this blog with too many videos.  There seems to be only one official video for the song "Not Far Apart" and two fan videos that have been uploaded by RKMusicLTD, they are "In Too Deep" and "Broken Things."  If you want to check out any of the videos Ryan's fans have created just log into YouTube and search for the title of the song making sure to include the phrase "by Ryan Kelly" which will help narrow down the choices.

I only recently downloaded Ryan's CD In Time which I purchased from www.emusic.com which is available to members for $5.39.  At iTunes you can download In Time for $9.99.  You can purchase the actual CD from CdBaby via Amazon for $19.99 or just download it from Amazon for $8.99.  It is also available on Amazon from other suppliers in the US priced from $19.42 - 28.11 plus 2.98 shipping.  There are also 3 suppliers that ship from outside the US but be aware of import fees associated with making a purchase from them. Shop around to find the best deal especially if your just going to download it, you can still save some money.

Ryan Kelly is a gifted artist with many talents.  Lets not let his talents go to waste because with our support he can shine.  His music speaks to many of us, it comforts us in our time of need without it where would we be.  Personally I am willing to do anything to help him in his career, I'll write about him and I'll write about his music.  I'll sing his praises because he's the genuine article.  He is sincere and sweet and oh so suave.  He is the total package which is a rarity in the music business.  I've had the pleasure of meeting him twice once on Dec. 7, 2011 and once on May 11, 2012.  He is a perfect gentleman with his female fans who absolutely love him.  So please check out his Cd and the various videos on YouTube you won't be sorry.  I love In Time and wouldn't trade it for anything else.  I also have a signed copy of his Cd which I hold very close to my heart.

Please check out my other posts again you won't be sorry.

Update: In April of 2013, Ryan Kelly asked his fans to send in photos to help him create a special video for one of his songs from his debut album In Time.  Fans from all over the globe submitted their pictures helping to create a one of a kind video for the song, "Secret Bit of Right From Wrong"a video for the fan by the fans.  The following link is the end result that was posted on YouTube on May 5, 2013. http://youtu.be/9mn4SGx3EHI

Friday, May 18, 2012

Neil Byrne

Sensitive Souls - EP

This is my second new post since I've changed direction from what I'd previously blogged about.  Now I'm going to delve straight into the subject matter for which I am dedicating this blog to.  My first subject  is going to be Neil Byrne's EP - Sensitive Souls.  I started re-reading his bio again today to see what else I might say about him that isn't already known.  He is a sensitive soul there is no denying it.  He is true to his craft and deserves nothing but great success in his future endeavors.  However there is one thing he needs more than anything, he needs our support to get him over the hurdle that lies ahead of him.  In order to be a success you need to have fans willing to give you 110% of their time.  When we purchase his Cd's, merchandise and pay to see him perform live we are helping to further his dreams.

When I watch his videos on YouTube I'm mesmerized by his fingers and the way they move.  I know it sounds weird but I've always been intrigued by musicians that way.  Like the way Declan attacks the drums during Heartland.  The way his fingers move from one note to the next is very interesting.  I like paying attention to details like that which is why I've grown so attached to him as an artist.  His voice is very soothing to the ears and he's not to bad on the eyes either.  He has a way with words and is a very gifted songwriter as well as guitarist.  He was lucky that he didn't have to go through the audition process like the other lads in Celtic Thunder.  He was hired to do the the backing vocals in the studio for Phil Coulter's new show "Celtic Thunder" and  he would also be asked to be the guitar player for the production as well.  He is the complete package, a one man band with the talent and the skill to back it up.  His first venture outside of Celtic Thunder is a testament to his drive and ambition to be the best.

Sensitive Souls is his debut EP which was released on September 6, 2010  has 3 original songs and one song most everyone should be familiar with because it was originally recorded by Madonna as a dance track.  Sadie Jones and I is the first track on the Cd, Neil and his dad wrote the lyrics for it and he wrote the music.  It's an uptempo and lighthearted song about meeting a girl, going to work every morning and years down the road marrying this girl and having a family with her then reflecting on the whole thing.  Raoul and Her Ladyship is the second song on the Cd was co-written with Nichole Hudson. The third song is Truador which is an acoustic version of the song that was on his website.  The fourth song  is Cherish which has been reworked into a love song after the tempo was lowered.  I really can't do an introduction to Sensitive Souls the justice it deserves so I've added the actual introduction to the EP that Neil Byrne uploaded toYouTube. http://youtu.be/q702RhfsrSk.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I absolutely love this Cd even though I only recently downloaded it from eMusic, I have seen several of  Neil's acoustic videos  plus the video of Sadie Jones which is really great and can be seen on YouTube.  I've listened to some of his music from his reverbnation page.  Once you get hooked your basically hooked for life.  He is good at drawing you in and keeping you there for the long haul.  I'll write more about Neil when I take a look at his solo Cd, Pale Blue Jak - Faces. Please check out Neil Byrne on Facebook and on YouTube.  He's definitely worth it.  I've had the pleasure of seeing him perform live as well as meeting him twice.  He's an absolute doll but next time I think I'll ask for a hug and give him a kiss.