Celtic Thunder

Saturday, March 15, 2008
It's PBS pledge time, and I watched the PBS special Celtic Thunder last night. It's apparently PBS's attempt to repeat the Celtic Woman phenomenon, only with men.

Like Celtic Woman, it was wildly overproduced, which distracted from the enjoyment of the music. Also, I think they need to have a word with their costumer, who apparently suffers from sartorial schizophrenia. Here's a clue, honey: Hot Celtic men in kilts = yum. Hot Celtic men in white belts and suits made of shiny fabric = urp. I didn't know they even made white belts anymore...I thought Herb Tarlek had graciously killed that for everyone.

The high point of the show, though, was of course, the music. The pieces that were sung by the entire ensemble were the best, as the producers selected men whose voices blended well. Heartland, Mull of Kintyre, and Caledonia were the highlights of the show.

The members are interestingly different. George Donaldson, the baritone of the group, is a Scottish folk singer. He's a bit stiff on stage, and his voice is the least "smooth" of the group, but I enjoyed his songs.



Paul Byrom is a tenor who appears to be classically trained. The producers selected songs for him that suited his more formal voice. I'm not a huge fan of tenors, but he wasn't annoying or anything, and it was clear he was thoroughly enjoying himself in spite of the overproduction.



Ryan Kelly is a low tenor who apparently has too much time to contemplate his own beauty. While his voice was acceptable, and he's clearly an accomplished musician, I found him just fucking annoying.


Keith Harkin is the young heartthrob of the group. He's just too cute (I think he's about 20), and his tenor voice is endearing and more suited to folk or modern pieces rather than classical.




The big surprise was this kid. His name is Damien McGinty, and he's 14. He hasn't had his growth spurt yet so he's about a foot shorter than the other men, he still wears braces and he doesn't appear to shave. When I first saw him on the screen, I had to do a double take, because I couldn't believe that voice was coming out of that body. He also has the classic Irish good looks that come from dark hair, blue eyes and clear skin. Once this kid grows up, he's going to be a triple threat.


If you want to listen to some of the concert, there's selections on their MySpace page. I'll probably buy the CD when it's available on iTunes. Maybe it won't be as bad if I have to actually see the white belt and Ryan Kelly.

56 comments:

Cindi in CO said...

Ooooh, ooooh, I watched this too.

I have to agree about the overprodution, but that kid! So cute, and such a voice.

The tenor? Meh.

Kilts-yummy, white belts-ugh.

Did you see the young girls crying when the blonde was singing? And the baritone nearly fell down the stairs, they had so much mist covering them.

Still, I enjoyed it.

Janiece Murphy said...

I did see the crying girls. I assumed they'd be following the guy around for the next five years or so, screaming "Keith! Keith! I know you're singing to me!

Cindi in CO said...

And he's probably gay. :)

Janiece Murphy said...

You're going to feel bad if that rumor gets started as a result of your comment.

Cindi in CO said...

I was only kidding, I'm sure he's an accomplished heterosexual.

Nathan said...

Sorry, but I can't tolerate even 5 minutes of a show like this. I'd rather watch Lawrence Welk. Well, not really, but you get the picture.

An accomplished heterosexual. LOL.

Janiece Murphy said...

Well, if he wasn't accomplished before, he will be after the girls get a look at him during their tour this year.

Hehe.

Michelle K said...

Hearthrob? Really? He looks like he needs a bath.

And a shave.

The low tenor is much cuter looking. But really, none of them are geeky enough for me.

But I am a fan of Celtic music. (Do you get the Thistle & Shamrock on your public radio station? I always enjoy that show.)

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, I didn't say he was my heartthrob. I'm not partial to blonds.

And the low tenor was fucking annoying. Just sayin'.

Michelle K said...

Oh, I know it wasn't *your* type. I'm just saying I don't get that interest in people who look like they are in desperate need of a bath.

And I definitely believe you about the cute guy being an obnoxious jerk. That happens a lot I have noticed. Goes back to "I'm too sexy for my shirt"?

Janiece Murphy said...

Now there's a song that could be lost in the mists of antiquity with no harm to human culture...

Carol Elaine said...

I haven't seen this, but I think I'll be staring at the picture of Paul Byrom for a while. I like cute Irish men almost as much as I like cute Jewish men.

*sigh*

kimmacd1 said...

Damian was an absolute cute! He is going to break alot of hearts as he gets older.. if only i was 24 yrs younger.. sigh

KIMMACD1 said...

Damian is an absolute cutie! He is going to break alot of hearts! I enjoyed the show except for that song heartbreaker!

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, kimmacd01.

Yep, Damien's a doll. I don't want to get all perv, though, so I'll just say I'll follow his singing career with interest. Hehe.

camsavwin said...

Little Damien singing 'Puppy Love' was adorable. Actually hard to watch, it was so cute.

I agree with you that the show was over-produced. And I agree that the pretty blond needs a bath. And that the toothy one is annoying as all hell.

Am I weird because I think the bald one is the sexiest? I'm totally digging on him. And I like his voice the best.

Janiece Murphy said...

camsavwin, you're not weird. I had the same opinion, and so did Cindi in CO.

Men put too much stock in their hair...

Raechel said...

I totally disagree with all of you about Ryan Kelly - if you watched any of the interviews with him about it - they wrote the song and choose him because of his theatrical background to play the "bad guy". He is sexy... and can sing to boot... what more could a girl ask for?? Oh wait.. this is a blog about girl who like smart men... hummm, Ryan has a degree in accounting.. smart, sexy and a good singer...not bad

Keith is a surfer and looks the part... I happen to think that look is very sexy... my mantra is the more hair the better :) But then again, I have never like the pretty boy... I want the rough and a little dangerous.

The best part of all of it though, was how incredibly masculine they all are.

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Raechel.

You can have Ryan. I don't have anything against the man personally (obviously, since I've never met him). I just found his stage presence not to my liking.

And when I was younger, I loved the long hair on the men, too. Now that I'm a bit older, I'm a bit more conservative about it. The fact that I'm old enough to be Keith's mother just increases the "ick" factor. Not going for the Perv. Ew.

But yes, all very masculine, and I really enjoyed their ensemble numbers.

hotbiboy14 said...

I'm 15. I love the music. I have the album. Damien is SO hot... I'd just love to go back stage... you know...

hotbiboy14 said...

wait... but not anything dirty

Janiece Murphy said...

You really do need to specify with this crowd. Just sayin', hotbiboy14.

And Welcome.

Max Power said...

yikes, thats pretty harsh comments about Ryan. I think its cool how they are all different but they sound AMAZING together. Maybe Ryan does spend a little too much time on the hair but he has an amazing voice and talent. I really liked their performance of Danny Boy.

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Max Power.

As I mentioned before, it's purely a matter of taste - of the men presented, Ryan just wasn't to my taste.

Doesn't make him a bad person, a poor musician, or an untalented hack.

Just fucking annoying. To me.

And if you believe the word "fuck" is too harsh, then you're probably in the wrong place, this being an NC-17 blog, and all. Just sayin'. :-)

Sheila said...

Well, I just saw the show and here it is June and I must say, I loved Keith's voice. He is such a babe magnet. I could not believe Damien's voice. I knew he had to be just a kid compared to the rest of them. I loved the show just about as much as the audience did. It was fabulous and brought tears to my eyes. Sheila Sweeney

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Sheila.

I enjoyed it, too, especially the ensemble numbers.

Sheila said...

I thought Keith proved to be down- to-earth, sincere and the most sensitive of them all. I especially was touched by his interpretation of that song where he songs about young men dying... almost as if he had experienced the devestation which I am sure he has. I know most people favored Paul with his classical training. I liked Ryan Kelley. He possessed the usual broqueishness of an Irishman and after all, he is a thespian, so his cockiness was rather amusing and enjoyable. He personified the manliness they were trying to bring across. Yeah, Harkin was my fav. I'm going to see them in Baltimore, November 7th. Sheila Sweeney

badgerizzy87 said...

I'm watching the show right now on PBS. I was intrigued enough to look them up, and I stumbled across this blog. You hit every nail on the head. I'm in complete concordance about Ryan and Damien-- the former is indeed fucking annoying, though he's tolerable when in quintet formation, because he cant get into character (and he sounded great on "Desperado", but I had to close my eyes), and the latter... when he came onto the stage I was convinced he was lipsynching over Keith, who followed him out and sounded similar.
Thanks for an amusing and accurate analysis of the show!

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, badgerizzy87.

You're most welcome.

Diane said...

I can't wait to see the show. I have watched numerous times on tv and have the CD.

Ryan is fun to watch.The song Heartbreaker was written specifically for him and he does it well. It's a character, not his personality and he is sexy!!

Keith is a little scruffy, but looks and sounds great!

Damian is amazing and George makes me cry, he puts so much passion in his songs.

Paul has a beautiful voice and did you listen to "She" I love the contrast in "That's a Woman".

They are all beautiful and the sound of the five voices together is one of my favorite sounds.

They all have their own music as well. Maybe you should take a listen!

Sheila said...

Whaddya mean Keith is a little scruffy! Granted, I agree we brunettes (male or female) are the best looking, but it is very difficult to find a really handsome blonde anyone. Keith looks and sings like an angel! And even though I am Black Irish, I have a great weakness for incredible blondes (opposites attract)! You know, like that actor who is going to be on The Mentalist this Fall (tv)! He's gorgeous! she sween

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Sheila.

I'm black Irish, too, but I've always liked other black Irish.

Similars attract?

Hehe.

Hannah said...

Yes it's overproduced, but how can someone not love it?

I don't understand how a person can not fall in love with Paul's voice. His personality in interviews really shines through. Looks (more my type than Ryan), personality, and that voice that makes me weak, with a wicked accent? Yes please.

Ryan isn't that bad.

You know, they're releasing a CD soon that contains the tracks from the show that didn't make it onto the first CD.

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Hannah.

I enjoyed it, too.

Hannah said...

Thanks. Love your blog.

What I find awesome is that these guys are mostly tenors or baritones, and yet listen to their harmonies--they must have incredible ranges.

uh oh. said...

nothing is wrong with any of these men. they are all amazing. ryan kelly probably has more talent than any one of us ever will. and as for keith... he is THE sexiest man on the face of the earth. no fuckin joke. he has one of the most beautiful voices ive ever had the privilige of listening to. people can go suck a fat dick.

Janiece Murphy said...

Really, "uh-oh?" Really?

Timely input, there. Only seven months after the fact!

Next time either abide by my posting rules, or shut the fuck up.

Really - it's your choice. Because this is my space.

bobet said...

i have to totally disagree w/ u because Celtic Thunder is better than you could be in a million years and then some!!!
If you had a problem w/ them then you should of CHANED the channel its as easy as push your thumb.duh!
And there is nothing wrong with the so called overproduction because there is not one...but not oviouslly aplying to you some people have to work for there food!! And Wuts wrong with tenors?!?! I have many tenor friends and they all sing just GREAT!!!
there is nothing wrong w/ +white belts eather... Besides wut were you looking at u perv.
so ge ta life and stop making fun of Celtic thunder cuz unlike you some people love them! oh and there is nothing wrong w/ ryan so keep ur butt hole SHUT!!!
for now thats all...

Hannah said...

English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?

I'm a big CT fan, yet I can take a little criticism. Put on your big girl panties.

bobet said...

so are you with me or against me Hannah???
wuts w/ motherfucking englsh? duh i kno english!

AJ said...

You're all (well, not all of you) crazy - yes, Paul & Keith are HOT & awesome singers, but Ryan is amazing. He has the best voice, & he is a sexy BEAST! (he has perfect stage presence, thank you very much, & I bet Damian spends more time on his hair than Ryan!)George is okay, but Damian is just a stupid little kid with no balls & WAY too much make-up. He's SO annoying, he should be in Celtic Woman. I don't know what you're talking about w/ 'overproduction'. The show rocks. I LOVE CELTIC THUNDER!!! Just not Damian.

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome AJ.

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

Since such things are subjective, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Romni Rawnee said...

Hello all. Since I "discovered" CT about three months ago, I have had the pleasure of listening to all of their music, and watching the DVD. I personally think they all have their charms. I don't necessarily think that Ryan's performance was annoying, but I did think that his "character" portrayal during the concert was over the top to the point that sometimes I *HOWLED* with laughter. I got the impression that he did that deliberately; I could be wrong though. I like them all, but yeah..... George is my favourite. I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Romni.

mulgaun said...

I laughed when I read this, and at the comments. At first I just thought the show decent fun, it is a show, after all.
Our house is divided, we've a vote for Keith, one for Damian and one for Ryan, I was informed by my house full of teens that the only one I allowed to like, due to advanced age, is George.
Thing we noticed:
Yes, Ryan is cheesy, but it's a show, and we love him for being a showman. We put the DVD on the computer and watch him sing 'Ride On' in fast forward. Bust a gut every time.
Paul has eyebrows with a life of their own, they look as if they are in constant danger of flying off his face and attacking. George has a lip nipple, to say anything about Damian is uncharitable heresy.
But we love it,don't get me wrong.

Hannah said...

By the way, Janiece, check out the latest videos on youtube - Damian's voice has dropped about 2 keys!

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, mulgaun. I'm familiar with the teen phenomenon myself, although I don't need much prodding to like George.

I'm constantly amazed at how much traffic this entry gets, even so long after writing it.

Note to self: if you need to drive traffic, blog about hot Celtic men...

Katie said...

OK, while you all are entitled your own somewhat misguided opinions I felt the need to post my own. I have met all 5 men on a few occasions and have the HONOR and PRIVILEGE of spending time with Ryan and George. Ryan Kelly is in no way annoying nor is he self centered. He happens to be the sweetest, most humble man I have ever met. George has a wicked sense of humor and is just a complete sweatheart. Paul, also has a wicked sense of humor, with a tenedicy to be somewhat of a diva but his fans truly love him anyway. Keith, is an acceptional singer and song writer. Damian who is now almost 17 has lost his braces, grew a foot(atleast) and his voice has dropped atleast 1 octave.

I understand that Celtic music is not everyone's cup of tea but they don't sing only Celtic music. Their songs range from traditional to comtemporary. They are now on their 2nd North American Tour selling out shows across the US and Canada.

As I am sure you all can tell I am a HUGE Celtic Thunder fan and DEFIINATELY a huge Kilt fan...YUM!

Morgan said...

I'm not going to become a regular and get involved in some of the arguements here, but the crying girl in one of "Keith's Songs" was his sister. She was just proud.

Nicole said...

I love Celtic Thunder, but I have to agree with you on almost everything you criticized. I would have to say though, that Paul and Keith spend more time in the mirror then Ryan would, and in interviews it's said that Ryan was cast as the 'bad boy' and the 'dark destroyer' and the songs he sings are made specifically to fit that character. Damien though, I agree, he's a complete cutie pie but now hes 16 and his voice has only gotten worse with age(at least to me it has). And it was widely overproduced almost to the point where I wanted to change the channel. Great review.

HazelNut95 said...

his name is spelled D-A-M-I-A-N

veritas said...

You Ryan (low tenor) bashers are getting REALity and REELity confused! It was an act! He was portraying the character. NOT himself! Here's a clue - Listen to the words. They explain the performers and audiences reactions!

Janiece Murphy said...

Um....this entry is over a year old.

While I can appreciate the passion of those who apparently love Celtic Thunder, I'm over it, and this will be my last comment on the subject.

RyanKellyFan said...

Ryan? Annoying? He is the best one on the stage. Even now as The Thunder Rolls on........Check out his own cd Ryan Kelly "In Time" #1 on www.cdbaby.com !

jamesdeanlover said...

jamesdeanlover
Ryan Kelly is very beautiful and his singing makes him perfect. Love the dark hair and the mouth..

jamesdeanlover said...

Ryan Kelly is beautiful and the dark hair, nice mouth and voice can make me fall in love.