Irene Kelley has released a new single today, one she wrote with Mark Irwin called Lonely, on her own IRK Records. If past history is any indication, you can expect this one to rise rapidly on the bluegrass radio charts.
This talented Nashville songbird and writer has had a string of hits since she returned to active performing and recording in 2014 after a period of concentrating on writing alone. She saw great success writing for others, and the bluegrass world is all the richer for her homecoming having completed the necessary job of raising two daughters into fine young women. Long time fans will recall that Irene got her start as lead singer with the bluegrass band Redwing back in the day, so a reemergence in the grass was only natural for her.
Kelley described her new release, the third single from an upcoming album, thusly.
“Lonely came with the title and melody line during the pandemic. I was feeling alone and isolated, and picked up the guitar and starting singing the word over the descending line. My long time friend and co- writer Mark Irwin came by to write on the back porch soon after, and I showed it to him. He immediately said, ‘let’s keep what you’ve got and lean into it even.’ Mark and I have a pretty good track record after writing A Little Bluer Than That, and having Alan Jackson record it a few years back. So I trusted his direction and the process.
Ronnie Bowman was the perfect voice for the harmony parts, and I love it when he steps out on a few lines. Just magic. Rob Ickes dobro was certainly the icing on the cake.”
Along with Rob and Ronnie, Irene is supported here by Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Adam Steffey on mandolin, Cody Kilby on guitar, Matt Menefee on banjo, and Mike Bub on bass. Kelley and her daughter Justyna produced. It’s a lovely ballad, beautifully sung.
Have a listen…