Carolina Special from Irene Kelley

Irene Kelley has a new single this month, created by her established hit-making team that has placed song after song on our Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay chart.

This time it’s a good old fashioned train song, Carolina Special, written by Kelley with Ronnie Bowman and our own Terry Herd.

She says that it’s based on a genuine historical rail line, and imagines how the left-behind locomotives must pine for the days when they shone brightly as they traveled along the railroad.

“Train songs are always a favorite in bluegrass and for me to record. Terry Herd has a good track record for writing them and had this idea. The Carolina Special was an actual line that operated 1911 to 1968. It was the last passenger train to use the route of one of the oldest railroads in the USA, the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad, which began operation in December 1830 as the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company. Surely she misses the track, surely she’s haunted.

Terry, Ronnie, and I wrote this song one afternoon during the pandemic. I knew right away that I had to include on the next record.”

Irene is supported on the track by Cody Kilby on guitar, Adam Steffey on mandolin, Matt Menefee on banjo, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, and Mike Bub on bass. Harmony vocals are provided by Ronnie Bowman and Justyna Kelley.

Here’s a taste…

Carolina Special will be available October 29 from popular download and streaming sites. Radio programmers can get the track now via AirPlay Direct.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.