The first time I heared father Ray Kelly, I thought he’s the preaching Elvis Costello. But this Irish priest is more comfortable with the like saving the flock than with fame. I think his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah fresh and spot -on.
He has the pipes of a folk and rock singer. It is worth noting that his debut album is eclectic. You get a Celtic touch with old folk and rock plus something in-betwween for everyone. People call his voice ‘soulful’ but his spiritual influence prevents him from going ‘mainstream’ pop. I think it is a solid combination that will please a lot of listeners. And it is seldom you get something like this in saturated mainstream. He is not like any of the people you hear out there. And I think it is time..
Check out the press release below:
FATHER RAY KELLY brings pure, soulful voice to US just in time for Easter
Father Ray Kelly, the Irish priest who shot to fame on YouTube for his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, makes his major label US debut with the album ‘Where I Belong’, out on Manhattan Records March 17, 2015.
Over 39 million people around the world have fallen in love with Father Ray Kelly since the video of his performance of “Hallelujah” at a wedding first appeared on YouTube in April 2014. After the bride and groom were moved to tears by Father Ray’s adaptation of the song, a wedding guest uploaded the video, which drew more than a million views within a few days. The viral video attracted worldwide attention and led to late night performances on Ireland’s The Late Late Show, as well as radio, documentary and wedding requests from as far as Australia, Brazil, Japan, Chile, Lithuania and Croatia.
Each of the 10 songs on ‘Where I Belong’ showcase Father Ray’s powerful range and clear, “soulful” (Huffington Post) voice. Blurring the line between secular and spiritual, Father Ray’s lofty, ethereal timbre soars over Celtic-infused arrangements featuring acoustic guitar, piano, fiddle and Irish flute on classic ballads (REM’s “Everybody Hurts”, Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”), Irish folk songs (“O Danny Boy”, “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears”) and hymns (“Amazing Grace”, “How Marvelous”), as well as two original songs, “Together Forever” and the dramatic title track “Where I Belong”.
Recorded at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church and parochial house, where Father Ray presides in the small manufacturing town of Oldcastle, the album features a 200-voice choir comprised of local residents, reflecting the tight-knit community Father Ray has brought together through his music since his appointment as parish priest in 2006. “We have our own Diocesan choir in our church, of 100 people,” says Father Ray, “and we brought in some other choirs as well. [When recording “Amazing Grace” for the album,] I was absolutely mesmerized by the quality of the sound when all 200 voices come together to join the chorus.”