Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly | Acoustically Irish

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Acoustically Irish

by Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly

What started out as Celtic Thunder's Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne performing a live show together "Acoustic by Candlelight" has now developed into an album. Blending traditional Irish music with Americana sounds and many World influences
Genre: World: Celtic
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1. Don't Go Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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3:40 album only
2. Beautiful Affair Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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3:21 album only
3. The Rose of Allendale Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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4:09 album only
4. Back Home in Derry Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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5:04 album only
5. The Water Is Wide Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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4:28 album only
6. Brown Eyed Girl Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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3:48 album only
7. No Man's Land Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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6:12 album only
8. Captured Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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4:12 album only
9. The Fields of Athenry Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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5:54 album only
10. On Raglan Road Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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4:45 album only
11. Saints and Sinners Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
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3:33 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
What started out as Celtic Thunder's Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne performing a live show together called "Acoustic by Candlelight" has now developed into an album called "Acoustically Irish".

Crossing traditional Irish music with Americana sounds and many World music influences, this album contains both classic tunes and some contemporary ones too - seamlessly reworked into a fresh sound. At the core of this album are Ryan and Neil's vocal harmonies.

The songs on "Acoustically Irish" were all carefully chosen and embrace Celtic and Irish sounds, ranging from "The Fields of Athenry", "The Rose of Allendale" and "The Water is Wide" to the Hothouse Flower's "Don't Go", Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and Paddy Casey's "Saints and Sinners" - amongst many others.

Joining Neil and Ryan on the recording of this album are the highly skilled and talented group of musicians; Declan O'Donoghue (Percussion), Nicole Hudson (Violin and Viola), Barry Kerr (Tin Whistle) and Seamus Brett (Piano).

Photography for the album was captured by Aleksandras Tiunaitis with graphic design by the always creative Philipp Suttkus.

Recording and mixing locations included Silverstream Studios in County Louth, Green Fields Studios in County Galway and Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin City - Ireland.

Neil and Ryan continue to perform their "Acoustic by Candlelight" live show on a regular basis, check out the official website for listings.


Reviews


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Crystal Waybright

Acoustically Irish Exceeded My High Expectations
Acoustically Irish Exceeded My High Expectations

With Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly collaborating on this new Acoustic By Candlelight inspired CD called "Acoustically Irish" I knew it was going to be good. I heard the sample tracks and was thrilled at just how amazing they sounded. Though you will not begin to imagine just how wonderful this CD is unless you hear it for yourself. The best way I can describe it is Breathtakingly Beautiful a genuine Treasure to have in my music collection. If you enjoy beautiful harmonies, amazing backing instrumentals and a new flavor to some of your favorite songs then this is a Must Have. It has everything from Neil's Sweet & Soothing vocals on "The Water Is Wide" that brings a tear to my eye to Ryan's Hauntingly Beautiful a cappella at the beginning of "No Man's Land" to the upbeat rhythm of "Don't Go" that will get you out of your seat and make you want to dance. You do not want to pass up Neil & Ryan's CD collaboration it is not one to be missed.

Michelle Eisenberg (MMEPhilly)

Thunderous Applause for “Acoustically Irish”!
The much-anticipated album from Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly is finally here! After three successful tours of their “Acoustic by Candlelight” show, Neil and Ryan surprised their fans with the news that they spent their down time from Celtic Thunder working on an album. Are these great guys who love their fans or what?!
I bought “Don’t Go” as a single from iTunes, physical CDs of “Acoustically Irish” from CDBaby and Amazon, as well as a digital download of the album from Amazon. I highly recommend buying the actual CDs, as there are gorgeous, artistic photos of the dynamic duo on the CD face itself, with several different images on the cover and inside liner notes.
The 11 tracks on “Acoustically Irish” vary from well-known classic tunes, such as “The Water is Wide” and “The Fields of Athenry,” to modern hits from Irish artists, like Hothouse Flowers’ “Don’t Go” and “Beautiful Affair” by Stockton’s Wing. Even listeners unfamiliar with any Irish music will embrace this album once they hear the duo’s catchy cover of universally known “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison.
Every time I thought I had a favorite track, the next song came on and my heart was lost again. Each track is perfect, making you feel as if Neil and Ryan wrote each song themselves (this would not be a surprise as they are both accomplished songwriters).
One of my favorite Celtic Thunder recordings is “The Green Fields of France,” found on the “Take Me Home” CD. I never got to hear CT perform it live, so I was awed when Ryan sang a new cover of the song during the “Acoustic by Candlelight” gigs. On “Acoustically Irish,” Ryan takes lead vocals on “No Man’s Land,” with a heartbreaking a cappella first verse, with soft guitar playing joining him on the chorus.
So glad they included “Captured” after it was a huge hit with fans when Neil posted an acoustic cover of it on YouTube last year. But here there are additional instruments and Neil has made this song, originally performed by Brian Kennedy, his own. Neil captured my heart long ago – after hearing this, it’s no wonder why!
I loved “Brown Eyed Girl” when Neil performed it with both “Acoustic by Candlelight” and with Celtic Thunder. But here, Ryan also joins in on this fan favorite and they gave it a real “Irish” feel with fiddle and mandolin, in addition to guitars. Even made this song my new cell phone ringtone!


I love how Ryan’s passion and energy come through on “Back Home in Derry.” Such a great song choice for him!
I truly believe “The Water is Wide” is Neil’s best vocal work yet on any of his albums, either solo or with Celtic Thunder. He’s refined his voice and you can tell he really feels the lyrics. He kept the arrangement simple – just piano and his beautiful, tear-inducing voice. No one does a sweet, sentimental love song better than Neil!
So glad they included “Beautiful Affair” and “The Rose of Allendale,” two of my favorite songs from their ABC shows, and Neil also sang the latter during Celtic Thunder’s summer residency in Atlantic City in 2012. But here, Ryan joins Neil and turns “The Rose of Allendale” into an amazing duet.
They made an interesting choice of Paddy Casey’s “Saints and Sinners” as the final track on the album. They did an awesome job with it, ending on an up-tempo tune, but I’m curious as to what they mean with this parting message. Are they simply closing out “Acoustically Irish” with a catchy, motivational tune to tell fans, just one year after Ryan’s life-changing accident in his home, that life is short, chase your dreams and “go and be a star”?
Neil and Ryan have obviously learned where their strengths are musically, and “Acoustically Irish” beautifully showcases that. They know what songs their enthusiastic fans love to hear and it’s evident they took fan input from their “Acoustic by Candlelight” gigs, YouTube videos and messages on social media when compiling “Acoustically Irish.” They also know what types of songs suit their voices and styles, and what they can convincingly interpret to their listeners, especially evident on “The Water is Wide,” “The Rose of Allendale” and “On Raglan Road.” They don’t just sing a song –they truly feel each lyric and note in every song.
Celtic Thunder was instrumental in putting this CD together, as CT Band members Nicole Hudson (violin and viola), Declan O’Donoghue (percussion), Barry Kerr (tin whistle) and Seamus Brett (piano on two tracks) lent their amazing talents to this authentic Irish album. I especially love Nicole’s awesome fiddle work on “Don’t Go” and how her violin poignantly enhances the sentimental songs like “On Raglan Road.”
However, it’s Neil – ever the multi-instrumentalist – who recorded the majority of music heard on “Acoustically Irish,” contributing guitars, bass, piano and mandolin, as well as arranged the songs with Ryan. Neil also produced the album. Not sure when this gifted lad sleeps when he was even in the studio mixing the album!
But even with the added instruments beyond the guitars, tin whistle and tambourine the guys play at their gigs, the instrumentation here only compliments the true selling point of this album: Neil and Ryan’s gorgeous harmonies.
With its diverse track list, this album would make a great gift to new Irish music lovers, and it also makes long car rides more enjoyable with the many sing-along up-tempo tunes (“Don’t Go,” “Back Home in Derry,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” Paddy Casey’s “Saints and Sinners”).
However, I do wonder why fan favorites “Wagon Wheel” and “Rock ‘n Roll Kids” weren’t included on this album. I really thought “Rock ‘n Roll Kids” was left off the Celtic Thunder “Mythology” CD in order for Neil and Ryan to eventually do an acoustic recording of it. Are they saving these songs for a second album (wishful thinking)? Or will both songs be on a future Celtic Thunder album? I can only hope, because I absolutely adore their live versions and videos of both of these songs.
Additionally, since “Acoustically Irish” was born out of their pub gigs, at least one live track recorded one of their tours would have been a nice touch. But, given the tight time frame they were working with, it’s understandable this couldn’t happen. Maybe a live recording – both music and banter – on your next venture, guys?
Neil and Ryan, congratulations on an absolutely wonderful, diverse, well thought out album! I am so truly proud of you both! You sound so wonderful on “Acoustically Irish”! It amazes me how far you’ve both come vocally and artistically over the past seven years – but it doesn’t surprise me. From the day I first discovered Celtic Thunder, it was you two who secured my eternal dedication as a fan. Fans are only beginning to see your talents emerge!
Wishing you both continued success wherever your dreams and music take you!

DM (mostlyunaware)

Intimate and Excellent
I've seen Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne perform together in their Acoustic by Candlelight gigs, and have loved them. I wasn't sure how they could translate that intimate feel to an album, but they have.

Neil and Ryan have a great chemistry together. Ryan's raw theatrical delivery is a counterpoint to Neil's sweet pop tenor. They're similar enough to slide between lead and harmony easily, but different enough to drag every nuance out of a lyric. Their love for what they're doing comes right through the speakers, and the listener is transported into their musical vision. They picked good songs, playing to each other's strengths. It's not overproduced. The arrangements fit the songs with enough drum, violin and whistle to feel "right", allowing the songs and the singers shine.

This album is what I like best about Irish music. It tells stories. These are ballads that are presented with a love of country and its tradition. They pay homage to the modern legends of Irish music. The stories are of the trials of people living in an unjust world and with war and separation and other human drama. The songs and stories are beautifully presented by Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly, and "Acoustically Irish" is an impressive listen. Savor it!

Maggie Costello

Another Success
Not surprising to read that Acoustically Irish is now a #1 Global Top Selling album. Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne are consummate professionals bringing to their fans exactly what they asked for; the music of the solo shows that are delighting fans in many towns across the United States. Beautiful music from both traditional and contemporary Irish songwriters from Ireland, sharing the music of the past and present. The songs are just right, the ambience of the shows is relaxed and welcoming, the total experience is perfect!
Another success, Ryan & Neil!
Maggie

Acoustically Irish

Another Winner!
This album is the culmination of time spent on the road in the past year. Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne deliver just what their fans expect and love hearing from them: Great music, trade and original songs, and terrific harmonies! Five stars-no less! A winner from the ranks of Celtic Thunder members gone rogue, lol!

L. Guerriero

Acoustically Irish is GREAT!!
I've been a fan of Celtic Thunder for years and have always appreciated the wonderful voices of Neil and Ryan as part of that group. Their voices blend together beautifully, making this CD a very unique and enjoyable experience. They both have a real passion and zest for life that shines through in this CD. It's a very diverse track list, which makes it great to listen to no matter what mood you're in. Neil and Ryan have an "Acoustic by Candlelight" tour that is fantastic and shouldn't be missed if they come to an area near you. I've had the pleasure of seeing them in concert and it was amazing - they are also super sweet guys! Buy this CD, you won't be disappointed!

Caroline Heinze

Acoustically Irish
I am awaiting my CD. I listen to the excerpts above and can hardly wait to here the full version of each song. I have been a fan of Celtic Thunder since 2008 and own each and every CD and DVD. Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne are both so talented and they give more than 100% to their fans. This CD is going to be another great one which I am sure will make their fans want another one. Thanks Ryan and Neil for giving of yourself to your fans.

JB Buchanan

Acoustically Irish: Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly
I love this album—it’s fascinating! My emotions are all over the place as it moves from one song to the next! My favorites are the upbeat pieces like “Don’t Go”, “Beautiful Affair”, “Back Home in Derry”, “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Saints and Sinners”. The tempos, instruments and brilliant vocals lift and warm my mood—and my body just cannot be still! The other songs are incredibly beautiful as well and range from sweet sentimental reflections to bitter-sweet ballads, all beautifully arranged to make the most of Ryan’s & Neil’s splendid voices. Listening to these artists sing in their delightful Irish accents is like unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning—exquisite harmony, emotion, range and creativity, just one delightful surprise followed by another! The various instruments throughout the album are magnificent and exciting as they seem to mimic the listener’s responses—the drum gives the impression a heartbeat! I’m thrilled with Acoustically Irish—GREAT WORK!

Joanne

A great album for Irish, acoustic and folk lovers!
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, and easily the best part of the album.
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.
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.
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!

Janine ... Tacoma, WA

I absolutely love 'Acoustically Irish' the album and the 'Live Tour' ...
'Acoustically Irish' is an amazing blend of heart, intricate harmonies and arrangements! You can also catch Neil and Ryan in person at an intimate gig of one of their 'Live Tours'. Check their website for tour dates ... http://www.acousticbycandlelight.com/ If there is a live gig in your area, grab tickets fast! The shows sell out quickly! If you are lucky enough to get one of these live gigs within traveling distance, you won't want to miss it! 'Acoustically Irish', the album, is a mix of both older Celtic songs, as well as more current songs. The blend of Ryan and Neil's voices is at times seamless. Their delivery of these songs is wonderful. 'Acoustically Irish' far surpassed the high expectations that I had for this album. 'Acoustically Irish' is a must for any lover of Irish music.
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