Bullet Backstory with Irene Kelly – An Interview

This is the first in a new series we’re starting here on the WDVX blog. It shares five bullet point facts to provide some backstory about an artist in his or her own words. For our inaugural “Bullet Backstory” we sat down with Irene Kelly to share a bit more about her influences and insight about music.

Irene Kelly

With her signature mix of Bluegrass, Country and Americana, Irene appeals to music lovers across all genres. A native of Latrobe, PA, she was a teenager when she discovered her penchant for songwriting. She ended up in Nashville where she still resides today. Irene Kelly is a longtime friend of WDVX and we’re always happy when she stops by for a visit or a song.

Don’t miss Irene Kelly, who is the featured performer for our April First Friday Show – April 1st at 7 p.m. in our studio on Gay Street.

  • Biggest musical influences – Dolly Parton is at the top of my list. Has been since I was 18 and she remains to this day.
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? I guess it picked me. I got interested in rock and roll music and then ended up singing country after seeing and hearing Dolly Parton on her TV show. Another big influence was the song, “Country Bumpkin” by Cal Smith. That was a number one for him in 1979. My dad would have the radio on his in TV repair shop and when that song came on he’d let me know to come listen cause I loved it. He was happy too cause I was being converted into a country fan.
  • Advice for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft – Keep writing. Keep a journal. I heard it said, “Nothing freezes that moves” so keep it going.
  • Favorite thing to do in Knoxville – Besides visit and sing for the folks at WDVX? Lunch at the Tomato Head and the thrift stores.
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? I’ve been very fortunate to get to work with a good many of my heros. The is in part due to their close proximity of me in Nashville and my songs I have had recorded by then. I guess I’d have to say the late great, Keith Whitley. I wish we could record a duet.