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 combines genres like traditional Irish and Americana to create a fresh, Celtic folk sound that has garnered comparisons to iconic folk-rock duos like Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers.
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.
The follow up to Echoes came in film format with the release of a music documentary film titled Echoes: The Story which delves into the history and songwriting stories behind the tracks from the Echoes album. The film landed air time on various PBS stations across America, reached the Top 5 on Amazon’s Top Documentaries list, was chosen an official selection into the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and most recently picked up two awards from the World Music and Independent Film Festival for ‘Best Music Documentary’ and ‘Best Original Soundtrack’.
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.
In October 2010 Neil released the 4 track EP Sensitive Souls. Gaining a positive response from media and music fans alike along with sales in more than 20 countries around the world, it was clear a full album would soon follow. In October 2011 Neil released his debut album entitled Pale Blue Jak - Faces, which became CD Baby's second best selling album that month and entered the iTunes US Top 100 Pop Albums and the iTunes Canada Top 50 Pop Albums.
Pale Blue Jak comes from the imagination of Neil Byrne "I wanted something that would excite me, something that would make me cry, something that would make me laugh, something I would find myself dancing to without trying and most importantly something with a cool vibe. I want these songs to mean as much to the listener as they do to me. Writing random songs is not what I wanted to achieve. I was after a common thread throughout.... I could visualize the live performance, an unconventional, energetic, charismatic, quirkey show all in one mix."
For the past ten years, Neil has been performing to thousands of people across North America 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, Live in Australia and Echoes, Neil also produced all three 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, showcased perfectly on his debut album, "In Time" - released in the Fall of 2010 to much acclaim and success. 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 President Obama 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. His ability to transform and make the songs he performs completely his own, have garnered him a large and loyal following. The audience's enthusiasm for his performances fuel his own onstage and make for a night no one soon forgets, and he's enjoying every moment of it- "It's cliched, but music is my life. It's what makes me happy and I feel blessed to be able to call this my job."
In January of 2012, Ryan was honoured to be nominated for and win the 2011 award for "Top Solo Performer in Concert" from the Irish Music Association. This award was just the newest highlight for Ryan in a career that hasn't seen its top heights yet, and he looks forward to sharing his amazing musical journey with his incredibly supportive fanbase for many years to come.
Ryan released his second solo album Life in December 2013, his much anticipated and long awaited follow-up album to In Time and brings listeners on a journey that spans both time and the globe to share stories that reach the corners of the heart and inspire the soul through worldwide musical flavors and his own smoky vocals. The albums went straight to #1 on the iTunes World Albums Chart in the US and Australia and #2 on the Billboard World Albums Chart