Veteran singer songwriter Irene Kelley recently celebrated the upcoming February 11th release of her first new collection of original songs, Pennsylvania Coal, with a singular show at The Bluebird Cafe. Joining her were some of the special guests on the new cd, (left to right), Jerry Salley, Claire Lynch, and Carl Jackson.
The new bluegrass full-length album Pennsylvania Coal (Patio Records) is a tribute to her coal-mining grandfather and a recording Irene has had on her bucket-list for some time. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Mark Fain, the album features many contemporary roots music giants such as Rhonda Vincent, Dale Ann Bradley, Darren Vincent, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Trisha Yearwood and those that joined her at the Bluebird.
Listeners continue to discover Irene's music: an authentic mix of country and bluegrass with tinges of folk and Americana distinguished by her sweetly tempered voice, always backed by cracker-jack players. Earning her place in the Nashville pantheon, her songs have been recorded by prominent artists, including Alan Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Rhonda Vincent, 2013 IBMA Vocalist of the Year Claire Lynch, and others.
Longtime music critic Michael McCall wrote her breakthrough CD, Simple Path, presented, "thoughtful songs with a grace that effectively conveys the tenderness of their message-filled material." No flash in the pan, no diva-belting - this is music that lasts - a warm, clear voice singing timeless new bluegrass classics. As one of the 12 tracks on the album notes, it gets even 'better with time.'