Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ryan Kelly's "In Time" CD Review

Ryan Kelly solo album
Ryan Kelly, a longtime lead soloist for Celtic Thunder, released his debut solo album in the Fall of 2010 to fans' delight. In Time is a collection of mostly original songs, with the exception of one cover and one adaptation, all written by Ryan. The genre for this album is a little hard to pin down, flirting in turn with folk, country, and pop, yet not closely enough to safely sit down in any one category.

Fans of Ryan's from the Celtic Thunder show, used to his frequently energetic song styling, might be surprised with the content of In Time. It isn't overly upbeat. Instead, it often hovers around the melancholy of heartache and threads a curious pattern of self-deprecation throughout. The music itself sometimes reflects some odd arrangement choices, but where Ryan really excels on In Time is in creating relatable narrative in song. The album is full of music and story that a listener can really connect to and understand with their heart.

The Great

Go If You Want To is, by far, my favorite song on the album. Sung with strength of voice, there are some interesting cadences in the verses that are really pleasing to the ear. It's a good solid song with well-balanced background vocals touching on the frustrations of an on again/off again relationship.

Co-written with Kieran Lavery, In Too Deep is a beautiful ballad. Resplendent with moving heartache and emotion, it touches on love, loss, and moving on to start again. It is arranged beautifully, with the tone of the music supporting the heavy heart of the song's narrator.

Get Over You is another one that I liked a lot. It's a simple and sad song of loss and struggling to get over the person you left behind, very easy to relate to. The accompaniment isn't overly complicated, but is a nice complement to the sentiment of the lyrics.

The Good

Ryan Kelly Celtic thunderThe Village That They Call "The Moy" is the most, and maybe only, really Irish-y sounding song on the album. It's nice to listen to with strong accompaniment, and is a familiar favorite for fans who have followed Ryan for a long while.

A fun and cute little love song, Secret Bit of Right from Wrong is peppier than anything else on the album and is probably a needed respite from the heaviness that permeates through the rest of the collection. It's a good break to let the listener's heart rest up for a bit while listening to something light.

Perfect Man is a great story song. It's very jazzy in feel with a fantastic guitar lick in the background. I'm not a fan of the background vocals on this one where they hover around the cheesy just a bit too much. But, the strength of Ryan's singing on this track is enough to save it. It tells a story that I've seen fans struggle with accepting, but it's a story that doesn't apologize for not being politically correct or Disneyfied. It breaks your heart and makes you think.

The Ones I Skip

Broken Things, the lone cover, is a touching song. Love and pain are illustrated with broken grace and, as an acoustic tune, it's beautiful. If you ever see Ryan live, request it if he doesn't sing it. But, its beauty comes in its raw simplicity.  The album version of this song isn't acoustic. It's much more heavily orchestrated and that orchestration often overpowers the emotion of the song, removing from it what makes it so beautiful and so heartrending in the first place.

Not Far Apart, something of a Christmas song, has a comforting message for those who are struggling with missing deceased loves ones around the holidays. But, it definitely becomes melodically repetitive and redundant as it goes on, which makes me itch to turn it off.

If You Can Only Afford 3 Tracks

  1. Go If You Want To
  2. In Too Deep
  3. Perfect Man


  1. Maybe he'd do better to commit to one specific category so he woe those fans...sounds like sitting on the fence and therefore not doing justice to any specific genre? I'm not family with him at all, so can't speak to his style...just from reading.


  2. i agree with sandy... feels like sitting on the fence. Happy to connect. I am now following you via A to Z Challenge . Do feel free to drop by my blog Wilderness at

  3. Well, it wasn't really meant as a criticism... I just don't know what to call it! :)


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