Neil Byrne's birthday today. Of all the guys in Celtic Thunder, Neil is probably the one I would have been most interested in meeting, if I was a music blogger writing in Ireland when Celtic Thunder had yet to be created. Neil started out his music career as a kid, hanging out watching his dad's band, playing with them, and eventually starting his own band(see the well written bio on his own webpage for a much better, more thorough accounting of his pre-CT days). He's obviously gone in a direction well outside the realm of local music scenes now, but from the way he and Ryan Kelly have crafted their Acoustic By Candlelight tour, I suspect these guys would be quite happy going back to smaller shows and more of the local music world, if they could be sure of paying all their bills with their earnings still.
I actually spent quite a while tonight browsing through old Hipple Street videos on youtube and the Hipple Street myspace and facebook pages, imagining what great photos I would have of this band if only I had been at the shows these photos and videos depict. (Neil was of course the guitarist and sang vocals for Hipple Street for ~5 years or so. Unfortunately Neil is no longer with Hipple Street- they've disbanded, and whatever bands Neil plays with when he is back in Ireland (he was on his way to play with some band in his last tweet before Ryan had his accident in June, as some fans might recall) Neil is not posting photos or information online about them where his Celtic Thunder fans could see it. Ireland's culture is different, it seems, at least enough that it is a bit harder to research bands online if they are in the Irish music scene, compared to Colorado bands.