Acoustic by Candlelight

Last week I took a break and went to see two incredible musicians in a setting I don’t normally get to see them in. As members of Celtic Thunder, Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne have performed in some of the largest and grandest musical venues in the country. They have also produced their own albums, which are truly incredible, but they have been unable to promote the albums to different audiences (Non-Celtic Thunder). With a few weeks gap in their busy Celtic Thunder schedule, Ryan and Neil decided it was time to do something different. They started planning their own tour that is much more laid-back and intimate, gone were the thousand seat theaters and in were the small pub venues (easily less than 100 people each).

Distracting lights and glitzy wardrobes were nowhere in sight this week, and that’s the way I prefer my concerts. Ryan and Neil are two incredibly talented musicians that don’t need the “extras” to make their shows memorable. They were able to wow the audiences with only their sweet voices and simpler acoustic arrangements. At the Benchmark in Nashville, people were stopping on the sidewalks when they heard the music and when they walked into the building for a closer look several seemed shocked to see a room already full of people (it was packed wall-to-wall). The fans already in the room were cheering and singing along, completely enjoying the interaction with these two men.

Not only was the music great, the stories and banter between (and during) the songs were vastly entertaining. Having a chance to talk to and take pictures with them after the show gave us a chance we don’t usually get with many international artists.

Playing songs from their solo albums, some of their favorite Celtic Thunder tunes and brand new numbers that they had arranged just for this tour, Ryan and Neil kept the audience on their toes. We never knew what was going to come next, but we knew it would be fantastic.

They may have been uncertain if anyone would buy tickets to these “intimate” concerts, but since they are selling out (and drawing in new people) I hope Ryan and Neil have come to realize that their fans will stand behind them in whatever adventure they think up next.

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