Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Acoustically Irish" Album Review, Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly

"Acoustically Irish," the new album from Celtic Thunder's Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly, is here and you're going to want to pick it up.  Neil and Ryan have spent much of their free time over the past few years touring America with their popular "Acoustic by Candlelight" show, a pleasant evening of acoustically performed music and artfully delivered story. A natural outpouring out of those shows, the new album is an enjoyable representation of music previously performed and yet to come. Spanning a number of genres, "Acoustically Irish" would be a welcome addition to any acoustic, Irish or folk collection.

By far, the strongest draw of "Acoustically Irish" is the pristine blend of Neil and Ryan's voices.  Individually, they are both strong soloists, but they are singers who are extremely talented at blending.  Their harmonies are beautiful, the best part of the album, and my favorite part of any song that they're featured in.

At both ends of the album and right smack in the middle, you'll find three up-tempo tracks that you'll love. Replete with fun harmonies, all three are a joy to listen to. Don't Go has a cool banjo-y feel to the chorus, Saints and Sinners has the best cadence, and Brown-Eyed Girl is peppy and fun with guaranteed snapability. It won't be long until you find yourself bouncing along. These all got a huge thumbs-up from my 12-year-old daughter, as well!

Back Home in Derry is a great solo track for Ryan. Sung with powerful voice, it showcases the strength he can bring to a song. Coming on its heels is Neil's The Water is Wide. It's a lovely sad song, backed with a pretty piano accompaniment. Neil has a tender voice that grows in strength as the tune progresses, and is worth a listen.

But, my favorites on the album are some of the ballads. All of these are made so very beautiful by the harmonies infused into the choruses. I'm not just putting you on; they are achingly lovely. Beautiful Affair, such a sweet song, is my favorite on the entire CD, but Rose of Allendale comes close on its heels. The Fields of Athenry also showcases some lovely harmonies, but seems like it takes a really long time to get through.

In the end, if you like good music, if you like male gorgeously-blended voices, if you like acoustic-y goodness, Irish tunes, or anything with a slightly folksy feel, this is the album for you. Enjoy and come back to tell me how right I am!

"Acoustically Irish" can be purchased at Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes.


  1. I enjoyed it but wish it had come with liner notes so that all performers on the tracks were listed.


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