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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tumblr Candle Posts for Ryan: Week 4 (June 24-29)

[We'll just have to see if I manage much of a post for Saturday and Sunday, which would mark the end of the 4th week since Ryan's accident. The longer we wait, the harder it gets to write short, but not repetitive, candle posts, especially knowing so little. I'll probably post some sort of candle still until we hear from Ryan, as I sort of promised in my posts, but not necessarily ones that would justify being archived. This past week Celtic Thunder flew to New Jersey for their summer holiday show. Colm Keegan flew out of Ireland Monday, and was on stage Wednesday night, his very first stage performance as part of Celtic Thunder. That he did alright is a huge testament to his talents as a performer, and I look forward to seeing him along with Ryan and the other guys next tour. Anyway, this is the last week so far of my candle posts from tumblr. New posts may still go up on my tumblr blog, but these ones will not remain on my tumblr sites now that they are stored here.]

June 25, 2012

I am not sure at what age they stop giving people teddybears in hospitals. I was 14 the last time someone gave me a teddybear at a medical facility, a long long time ago. I always liked stuffed bunnies better, the realistic-looking ones that crop up everywhere around Easter. I had one teddybear though, a black one that looked rather sophisticated, and that could have pulled off the Ryan Kelly, Dark Destroyer image.

Sadly, I have moved too many times, and all my stuffed animals were left behind somewhere along the way (except for one emperor penguin I have given away twice, that keeps coming back).

I was always puzzled about what teddybears would be good for in hospitals, but I think I get it now, a bit. We can only spend so much time at the bedside of those we love. Teddybears can be sort of old-fashioned avatars, standing in for us while we are unable to be there in person. And, while our loved ones are too fragile or not accessible to us we can hug and snuggle a teddybear instead. Teddybears are thus excellent transmitters of hugs, love and companionship. So, tonight, as Ryan is left behind to recover while his friends migrate to New Jersey, teddybear candles seemed a good choice. I am sure we all would love to be able to give Ryan a big hug and tell him in person just how much he means to us, but we would not all fit in his room, and hugging that many people would be simply exhausting. But, for all of us fans, even for those lucky fans who will get to see Celtic Thunder over the next few weeks, Ryan will never be entirely absent from our thoughts, and a fair proportion of those thoughts would be well represented by soft, huggable teddybears.

June 26, 2012

Still counting down the days till we get to hear from Ryan Kelly that he is better. I hope there is a lot for Ryan to watch on TV, because I can’t imagine how he is not going absolutely nuts stuck in the hospital without Internet or his cell-phone. After all, what do I do when I am sick and stuck at home all day? I browse the Internet, usually looking up random stuff about topics like deep-sea creatures, Irish sociopolitical history, or guinea pigs.

I also hope Ryan knows about his current ranking in this Great Exhibition of 2012 thing. It has to be a great, if a bit overwhelming, feeling, knowing that one ranks just below Shakespeare, and several slots ahead of the Queen. Sure, the demographic profile of the participants in this contest is hardly representative of everyone, but these online voting things are always biased and a bit silly. Still, since most people are sheep who blindly follow anything that moves, maybe these results are rather meaningful. After all, they suggest that among those people who are discerning about their entertainment and culture, Ryan is very important, very highly valued. (If the Beatles and Dr. Who and Sherlock slipped below Ryan in the rankings, even Ryan might find this a bit too unrealistic.)

And- what makes these results particularly cool- unlike the last few online contest things we voted in, this time Ryan has had no chance to drum up votes for himself, because he’s been in the hospital. He ranks in at #17 right now even though there was no facebook status update, tweet or blog post from him asking us to vote. He is simply that well loved, regardless of how long it takes for him to get better, and regardless of when he will be able to get back to making beautiful music for us to enjoy.

June 27, 2012

First, a huge thanks to Emmet for posting this picture. I could not have asked for a better candle than this one- gigantic, projected on a screen as a backdrop to the CT summer holiday set. Ryan may not be in Atlantic City in person, but with what candles have signified these past weeks, he’s clearly not entirely absent from the CT stage this week.

I’ve been in a great mood all day, ever since reading Sharon’s great news, that Ryan’s condition has improved enough for him to no longer be in the critical care ward. Very soon now, there will no longer be any point to posting these candles, because Ryan will be all better. :) I won’t know what to do with my evenings, I’m sure, once I no longer have these posts to write, but my loss of purpose will be a small price to pay.

So, before my mood shifts as I start following the news on the new wildfires near Boulder and Colorado Springs, I figured I ought to send my candle, a bit early, but happier and more hopeful than it may be by 3-4 hours from now. With any luck, there will still be a bit of Colorado left unburnt by the time Ryan and Celtic Thunder get here this Fall.

[I was thrilled when I realized what the backdrop image on Emmet's photo was- as candles go, this one is perhaps the most complex and meaningful of all the ones I used this month.]

June 28, 2012

Before Ryan was hospitalized, one of my primary associations with candle imagery was through the Wheel of Time books, by Robert Jordan. In Jordan’s books, his characters talk about a meditation technique, “the flame and the void”, which helps to clear and focus one’s mind. I was thinking about this idea today, while musing again on the crazy schedule that the Celtic Thunder cast puts themselves through. All of my musician friends seem to agree that to make good music, they have to put themselves in the right frame of mind, center themselves, tap into some inner space that helps them do more than just go through the motions of performing a song. I know that several comments the Celtic Thunder guys have made echo what my friends say, and I certainly find that I perform better and enjoy singing in choir concerts more when I take time to focus myself on singing.

This led me to ponder once again Ryan’s current circumstances. While we knew so little, this was an almost unthinkable, and certainly unwriteable notion, but now that he is not dying … Perhaps there is at least a little positive side to Ryan being forced to stay home a while and recover. I have not forgotten that last year at this time Ryan had announced that he was leaving Celtic Thunder. A few months later he was stuck in a nightmarish situation, which allowed him to return to the group. One has only to reread his note, on his blog from last August, to see how much he values his fans and his life as a performer, and I am sure it was good for him to be on tour seeing all his devoted fans since then.

But, since the end of last summer, he has not yet taken much of a real vacation to really regroup and recover from everything that has happened to him. If he was not injured a few weeks ago, he would be back on the road now, having had only a few days rest between his Acoustic by Candlelight tour and the rehearsal schedule leading into the current Atlantic City show. That life- being always busy, always going somewhere, always distracted and never really alone- certainly would be convenient if one wanted to avoid thinking about and remembering and reacting to something painful and difficult. I don’t know Ryan nearly well enough to know whether he is able to deal with the aftermath of last year somehow while still touring constantly- he is amazing enough that I would not put it past him. But if he’s anything like me, it might take something as serious as what happened to him this month to make him stop and rest and really heal from everything, his accident and all that happened last year.

In any case, I hope as always that he is going to be ok, and that he will be back with us fans soon, happier, healthier and wiser, and otherwise as amazing as ever.

[This post reflects some of my concerns throughout these past weeks. I know that people have a tendency to find themselves in bad accidents after going through other upsetting times, as if misfortune were a magnet for more. This is especially true for folks who are still upset or shaken by the past events, so that they make poor decisions or take unwise risks. Not knowing what happened, I can only guess that this could have had anything to do with Ryan's situation. In any case, I have worried about him ever since he jumped into the fall tour last year, because it seemed rather a sudden change from what sounded like a serious and difficult set of circumstances then. I suspect I left a few of my followers a bit in the dark with this one, but at least hopefully I did not upset anyone.]

June 29, 2012

It is easy to forget, now that I have embraced my ‘fan-ness’ with respect to Celtic Thunder and its members, that not everyone who enjoys CT’s music is a fan in the same way. Reading that anonymous note, which was posted earlier today, and which I am sure many other CT fans have seen by now, it took a few minutes for my hackles to relax and reason to restore itself. I am sure if one person felt it necessary to write such a note, there are quite a few others who quietly agree with her. Thankfully Thunderheads are a nice bunch of people who do not attack those with different perspectives; it takes a bit of courage even to admit anonymously to the sort of ‘harsh’ opinions we read today. (Actually I have seen a few similar comments about Emmet and Daniel over the past few weeks too, so Ryan is not the only man of CT to have detractors among the more general CT community.)

For the casual fan, or the newer ones, the CT guys are just singers, performers, and faces on a screen. The reaction they have seen on twitter and tumblr must seem a bit overblown, especially if they do not feel themselves to be a part of the Celtic Thunder family. For people who are newer to Celtic Thunder, tumblr must seem particularly biased and partial toward Ryan these past few weeks. Because so little information was available to any of us, those casual fans who were not online on June 3rd probably missed those scary few hours when first we knew that something very very bad had happened to Ryan. It has been almost a month now since we started praying and keeping our online ‘vigil’ for Ryan, and every day there are a few new tweets that clearly come from fans who have no idea that anything bad happened.

Ryan may not be the most ‘attractive’ of the men in CT. But when we love someone we see the person they are inside, not just their external covering. I cannot see Ryan’s face and not think of him as attractive because I see him as the person I care about so much.

The same is true, really, for all the CT guys we have had long enough. For those of us fans who are more personally interested in them, the Celtic Thunder cast are people, and quite lovely ones. We focus so much on Ryan now, not because he is our absolute favorite, but because we know we almost lost him so recently. I hope the other CT guys know we would be just as devastated if any of them were in Ryan’s place. Ryan is certainly my ‘type’, and I would be thrilled if I could find a guy for myself just like him (but atheist/humanist and maybe not on the road so much), but that does not mean I would be less concerned or upset if George or Keith or any other member of CT were hospitalized instead.

And, yes, Emmet, Daniel and Colm are a bit too new for me to know them as well as I know the others, but knowing how lovely the other CT folks are, I would hate to lose the opportunity to become better acquainted with these newer guys. It is just too bad that not all CT listeners know enough about Ryan, or the others, to see them as I do.

[This last post was prompted by an anonymous comment that a fan received and commented on as a post. The anonymous 'fan' was saying she was glad Ryan would not be on the Celtic Thunder stage for a while. She could not understand why Ryan was getting so much attention, since she did not think he was as attractive as the other guys, etc. I had not yet written my candle post, and wanted to respond in perhaps a more respectful and positive fashion before too many other fans started in on the anonymous comment writer.]
[End of Week 4 posts]

Tumblr Candles for Ryan: Week 3 (June 17-23)

[The beginning of the third week after Ryan's accident was marked by a note on the blog kept by Sharon Browne, for Celtic Thunder. It gave very little information, but did confirm that Ryan had been hospitalized, and she implied that his condition was serious. There seemed to be some hope in her blog post that he was at least actually improving, though. Meanwhile the fire near Fort Collins had become rather serious, and new fires were breaking out elsewhere in Colorado.]

June 18, 2012

Yes, another candle. This candle is more broad, though, than my previous ones. It is certainly for Ryan, because even knowing he’s recovering, he’s not well enough to be back on twitter yet, and twitter doesn’t take much beyond being alert enough to text and having one hand free to text with. So, my thoughts are still with Mr. Ryan Kelly until he is well, and long after. I chose a pine cone candle though, tonight, because two of the major Boy Scout camps in Colorado have been evacuated now because of fires. Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, where I worked at one time, was evacuated a few days ago because of the High Park Fire, and today a new fire further south has caused Camp Alexander to be evacuated. So, in addition to Mr. Kelly, this candle is for all those camp staff, scouters and scouts who love these places and are hoping they escape the worst of the wildfires’ effects.

At another scout camp where I worked several summers, we used to do ‘candles’, at least when there was not a fire ban, after closing campfire every week. Each person held a lit candle, and could publicly dedicate their candle to a person or people who needed thoughts and prayers, or who did something really nice during the week, or who was simply a source of strength or inspiration to them. It was one of the most cherished traditions at that camp, and one I think of every night as I write my candle posts on this blog. In my mind I have a little white candle, and I am standing just inside the circle of all my friends and companions, dedicating the tiny dancing light of my candle to Ryan and all those scout camp folks, before blowing the candle out and sending those thoughts and well-wishes into the Universe with the tendrils of smoke.

June 19, 2012
More candles and thoughts for Ryan. I am glad his family can have him to themselves for a while, a minor but not unimportant side effect of his accident, but I will be glad when he is all better. He is precious to his family and friends, but he is almost equally precious to us fans, and we’ll miss him all the while he’s out of our reach, recovering.

June 20, 2012

Yay! A new candle! Ok, maybe the enthusiasm’s a bit overblown, considering. Still, it is a new candle, one I have not used already, anyway, and it comes to us via Ryan and Neil, since it is one of theirs from their tour blog. It’s really hard to believe that they posted their last tour blog video less than 3 weeks ago. When they got back to Ireland, I remember thinking I might actually finish up my fan letters to the two of them, and finally, actually send them letters, and right about the same time as I would have been settling in to write the first letter, I checked my facebook and saw the note that Ryan was in hospital.

Have I written those letters yet? No.

I was not really sure what to write after that sudden shock of news. But since Ryan is not going to be here for the Atlantic City shows, maybe he’ll be up to reading fanmail by the time I get my letter done and get the guts to mail it. Ryan is such an amazing person, and realizing that we probably did come very, very close to losing him has made me reevaluate things a bit. There’s a sentiment that pops up every so often, that when we love someone we should tell them, because no one knows what the future holds.

I hope with all my heart and soul that Ryan is getting better, so that he can rejoin his friends in the studio, on stage and in the CT community around the world. In the meantime, it is high time I start writing that letter, and one for Neil as well. I hope I have learned my lesson enough not to wait to write until he’s in hospital too!

June 21, 2012

Two weeks is a long time for contemporary society, and in a few days it will have been three weeks since Ryan was hospitalized. The rest of Celtic Thunder will be singing in Atlantic City in a few days, the newbie singer, Colm Keegan, is hard at work learning his parts… As the Beatles song says, “life goes on.” All those fans who feel self-righteously that they behaved correctly, by quietly waiting for news and staying away from social media entirely, have chimed in on the various social media platforms snidely denouncing as rude all those who did not remain silent, and those who wanted to respond to them have done so. The number of people still posting anything anywhere about Ryan has shrunk down to a mere trickle, and from now on till Ryan is back, those of us who have not yet shut up and moved on will seem to some fans to be obsessed and misguided.

But, real life does not proceed nicely in the short segments that match our modern short attention spans. However much time has passed, Ryan is still unwell, as far as I know. If there was any real use, any real justification for these candles two weeks ago, then this candle is just as warranted as the ones already posted here. And, as I said a few days earlier, I am stubborn; I said Ryan would get a candle every night till he’s back, and I’m prepared to hunt down as many candles as are necessary to make that happen.

Now, more than ever, though, is when it becomes more important that these posts remain more than just empty gestures. The numbers of prayers and candles coming from the rest of the CT community may be slowly dwindling a bit, but those that remain, I hope, carry at least as much hope and love as this one.

____________________ June 21, 2012

Still missing Neil

I really picked the wrong two CT guys as my favorites, it would seem. Unfortunately love, whether the fan kind or the romantic variety, is not tempered by reason or practicality. I’ve been ‘following’ Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne on twitter and facebook ever since they set up their accounts, and I rather enjoy having random posts from those two men in my facebook newsfeed and filtering through my twitterfeed. Keith’s posts are certainly random, and plentiful, but they just are not going to mask the fact that I am not hearing from the two I most admire. Every time I hear “Grenade” on the speakers at McDonalds, I am reminded that I am still missing Neil, and that since Atlantic City is almost 2000 miles from my apartment, I can’t even see him in the next few weeks by buying a ticket. No, my life is not ruled by the emptiness his absence manifests- I lived three decades of my life just fine before I knew Neil existed, after all. But, I have not forgotten him either.

June 22, 2012

Borrowing another batch of candles from the Acoustic by Candlelight tour pics. Photos of candles Ryan actually touched, and that he might have even lit himself, might be more powerful than random ones off of a google image search. Right?

Rumors had started flying about Ryan ever since we first learned of his hospitalization, and having official updates on his condition has of course not stopped new and recycled rumors from circulating. But the tone of Sharon Browne’s update this morning was quite optimistic. The first update might have been almost pure PR, but the message we read today said that Ryan is in fact getting better every day, that we may hear from him in the next few weeks. Thus, he is not just on the road to recovery; we can see roughly where on that road he is, and in which direction he is headed. With any luck, he’ll be back online long before I run out of candles, too, so that when I see him in November, when CT’s tour reaches me here, I won’t have had to start hitting up local churches yet, and Ryan won’t owe me a hug. Though, he is always welcome to one anyway, always.

In the meantime, Ryan remains in my thoughts again tonight as I send out another virtual candle into the virtual space of the Universe.

________________________________ June 22, 2012

Reading through Neil’s very kind and thoughtful message again, his most recent blog post from earlier today, I am still amazed at how lovely a person Neil is. Neil puts so much of himself into his music and into his interactions with everyone, including his fans, that he could not have remained on twitter and facebook these past weeks. I think just about all of us who have heard his music could not have expected him to react to Ryan’s sudden misfortune in any other way.

I am glad that things are getting back to normal, enough for Neil to rejoin us online, and as always, I hope that we’ll be getting Ryan back again soon too. With any luck, by the time the Fall tour rolls around we’ll not only have our Celtic Thunder community back to normal, but it will be better than ever before.

June 23, 2012

Big Thanks to the CT folks here on tumblr

Before I get to my actual candle post for tonight, which I am still contemplating and composing at the moment, I wanted to post a heartfelt thank you to all the Celtic Thunder/Neil Byrne/Ryan Kelly fans who’ve been reading, liking and reblogging my posts. When I started my first candle post it took a day or so to convince myself that it would be ok to post it where anyone else could see it, and I didn’t tag it right away, because I was still not sure how it would be received. It makes me smile every time I see all the notes accumulating under what I’ve posted. And, every time one of my candles goes out into the tumblr Universe, it’s like a sort of virtual Tibetan prayer wheel, each like and reblog sending more hope, love and good thoughts out into the ether. Thank you!

-Jamie (ravenmount/gossamerthreads-beautifulsouls)

June 23, 2012

Today has been lovely. Getting a message from Neil on my facebook newsfeed was one of the best ways I could imagine starting the day, and Damian’s posts about Ryan made the day seem even better. Walking around town today in the hot summer sun was so nice, the very hot dry air wrapping in around us all like a cozy woollen blanket (not one with buttons, sadly), the huge smoke plume to the north glowing a soft pinkish-orange against an otherwise brilliant blue sky. :) So ice cream cone candles seemed like a good Friday night candle to wind down the week.

I did not realize until reading their tweets and posts this week, just how much it truly bothered me- even knowing why they were not saying anything- not seeing Ryan’s friends posting about him. But now that Ryan’s friends are free to express their concern for Ryan openly, it seems as if the power of all our thoughts and prayers has been ramped up a notch or so. I am sure these guys have been praying for Ryan longer, harder and more deeply than their words could express, and even moreso while they were constrained from tweeting to us about it, of course. Still, with Paul, George, Neil and Damian, and all the others adding their voices to ours publicly, I can no longer imagine how Ryan could fail to recover completely. My hope and faith grow stronger daily that he will be back to his usual amazing self soon and that I will be seeing Ryan happy and healthy in Denver this November.

June 24, 2012

Seeing some of the lovely notes others have left for Colm on his new facebook page today, I was proud to be associated with all the lovely folks who also are fans of CT. I am also grateful to Ryan and the other guys for being the focus and inspiration at the core of CT. Without their influence, transitioning a new guy into the group under these circumstances could have been a train wreck of epic proportions. We can care about Colm, as fans, having never heard him, and knowing almost nothing about him, because we know and love Ryan and Neil and George and Keith and Emmet. We are reflecting back the light we have received for years from these guys and the rest of the CT crew. So, while these candles and the thoughts that they represent come from me, they draw on the light I in turn absorbed from Ryan and the rest of the CT folks. Until Ryan is well, he may be absorbing a good deal more light than he can send us back, but I am sure that once he is well, he will once again have me in his debt for the warmth and light of his music and those parts of his soul that shine through everything we see of him.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tumblr 'Candles' for Ryan, Week 2 (June 10-16)

June 10, 2012

Another day, another candle. We’re on to the second week since we lost contact with Ryan (and Neil). I must admit the increasingly smelly, giant wildfire a few miles outside town has proven a distraction sufficient to keep me from thinking much about other stuff, but Ryan and Neil don’t get off the hook that easily. What do I turn to when I don’t want netflix to interfere with my streaming fire/EMS radio station broadcasts? Well, Celtic Thunder DVD’s of course. So, the sky has filled with smoke and ash, a wall of smoke and flame is growing and shifting just a few miles outside town, and Ryan and Neil remained in my thoughts alongside all those ‘what happens if the fire gets to town?’ thoughts. Needless to say, my DVD’s will be coming with me if by some chance the city burns down. In the meantime, I hope everyone is well and safe. Maybe Ryan can get well in time for him and Neil to do an “Acoustic by Giant Wildfire Light” show in Fort Collins? It should be fairly bright and theatrical-looking outside for a few nights yet.

June 11, 2012

Some flameless candles tonight, again with thoughts for Mr. Ryan Kelly. I figure with the giant blaze just 5-6 miles away tonight, maybe some flameless candles would tempt the Universe a bit less than real ones. For good measure though, I added one of the more peculiar real candles I found while hunting them online. So Ryan can take his pick, I guess as to which one he prefers, and Neil can have the other one. I am missing both of them online. If nothing had happened to Ryan we might have had Neil on for a video chat or something by now, since this is about the point when he usually would be getting twitchy from fan-withdrawal :) So now all of us fans are getting generalized CT withdrawal, Neil Byrne withdrawal, and Ryan Kelly withdrawal all at once. I hope rehearsals are going well for Neil and the rest of the guys, and that Ryan is steadily recovering. Sadly, Atlantic City is way too long a walk from my apartment, but I am glad that at least some fans will get to see the guys in person in a few weeks. And if Ryan can miraculously be back in the act by the 28th, the way he was miraculously back for the fall tour last fall, that would be truly wonderful for everyone.

June 12, 2012

Tonight’s candle, once again with thoughts going out to Ryan Kelly. I had thought tonight I would ramble about the guilt that comes with moving on, that feeling that edges into the back of the skull when you find yourself enjoying something or concentrating on something else besides the absence of the one you’ve been loving and missing. Being just a fan, and one who has not yet ever met Ryan in person, I must admit to my non-fan friends that it might seem a bit silly posting these candles every night. There is a 43,000 acre fire now burning less than 4 miles away from where I am sitting, and there are so many ‘real’ things going on here in Colorado. Surely one man, practically a complete stranger, in some hospital in Northern Ireland- a man no one has seen fit to update any fans about since he was hospitalized- surely such a man could not be so important now. Only, he is still important. He’s someone I have cared about and admired for several years now, and thanks to social media, I could never consider him a complete stranger. And, for whatever reason, even if I am thinking about other things now, there is still an odd sort of space in my mind where I know there is something wrong with the world because I know Ryan has not yet returned to us. The fire outside could magically dwindle away by morning and the world would still be fundamentally wrong so long as I don’t know Ryan is ok.

June 12, 2012
As some might have noted, I left Neil Byrne conspicuously out of my candle tonight. I do still worry a bit about him. The fact that he has still not tweeted anything yet fits in nicely with what I expected, given what I could know of him as a distant fan. But as far as we know, he’s not hospitalized, so rather than candles, maybe just daily thoughts would be more appropriate, from me anyway. But he gets his own posts, because he and Ryan are both my favorite CT guys. I’ve never been inclined to choose between them (I fell for Neil watching him on the drums on Raggle Taggle Gypsy, same summer as I fell for Ryan), so Neil need not tag along as a rider on posts for Ryan now. :)

June 13, 2012

Another night, another candle for Ryan. I can see why Ryan liked posting his Christmas trees last year, though yes, I know, these candles are a sort of social media vigil thing and thus NOT ABOUT FUN. Still, finding a candle every night, and tapping into the day’s thoughts about Ryan to find the ones that belong with the night’s candle is becoming a rather nice ritual. I suppose, really, a lot of what we do when a loved one is in hospital is for us, not for the one who is hospitalized, and I know other fans see my posts, even if the Universe is paying no attention, and even if Ryan never sees any of them. (Actually that might be rather embarrassing. It’s cool to say how much someone really means to you when they are out of earshot, but if they find out you’re saying gushy emotion-laden stuff about them… Don’t be surprised if my fan blog becomes suddenly a few posts shorter whenever he returns.) Still, while he is safely out of earshot- I still miss Ryan Kelly, a lot. I hate to use the word ‘love’ still, cause the meaning of that word is so complicated and easy to misunderstand, but the Universe is not likely to misconstrue what I am saying here. I miss him and I love him and I will continue to post candles for Ryan Kelly until I know he is well. even if he were to stay gone for years, I am stubborn enough to not forget him while he’s away. I just hope there will be enough candles.

June 14, 2012

It seemed appropriate tonight to post a lovely photo of prayer candles at the Duomo in Milan (not my pic of course). If prayer has any effect on the outcome of this vigil, then Ryan has certainly received a massive dose of prayer today. Simultaneously with the mass that was held in Moy for him today, people throughout the rest of his global community were also praying for him, all that multitude of minds all drawn together around one man. Ryan Kelly is clearly a very special human being, and after today the Universe can hardly be unaware of Ryan’s value. But, our thoughts and prayers are with him always, underlying all else, until we hear from him again that he is back. And then our thoughts and prayers will still be with him, as someone we have had almost two weeks to contemplate losing. If we appreciated him before, we all know now just how much we really love and value him, and we’re not likely to forget once he is back on his feet. May the Universe please let us have our Ryan back, so he can enjoy many more years of life among his many loving friends, fans and supporters.

[If prayer and thoughts have any power whatsoever, and even if they don't, the simultaneous mass/prayer time that occurred on the 14th was one of those examples of how really cool social media can be. I am not sure who told the fans on twitter, but in any case, when mass began in Moy for Ryan there were people around the world who were also praying or otherwise sending their thoughts and love into the Universe for him.]

June 15, 2012

Oh, Ryan, I do wish tonight’s candle had not been necessary, but that said, I have been looking forward to posting this one for you ever since I found the pics of these beer candles on Monday. They seem the perfect candles for a Friday night. In fact, since it is coming on to 2 weeks almost since whatever it was happened to you, I imagine just about everyone around you is due for one of these, or for a wetter and tastier version of the same. (I doubt gel candles taste very good, even after a few drinks.) I hope that we will hear good news about you soon, before we actually hit the 2 week mark, but in any case, there are candles/drinks/thoughts enough for everyone tonight. :)

May you live as long as you want to and never want as long as you live.

June 16, 2012

Well, so it has been a whole 2 weeks since I last heard anything from the gorgeous Mr. Ryan Kelly, and still there has been no news posted anywhere as to what happened or what his current condition is. Watching youtube videos of the Acoustic by Candlelight tour this week, it is hard to imagine that happy, rather lively man behind the microphone being hospitalized, let alone incapacitated enough to be unable to tweet greetings. Perhaps those around him who know his condition are equally floored by the idea, not yet willing to post anything, because that first posting would make real what would otherwise seem just a terrible nightmare from which they might still wake.
I hope the nightmare ends and we all wake up long before I run out of good candle photos I can scavenge online. I’ll find enough suitable candles somehow or another, but just so you know, Ryan, if I have to start frequenting churches again to get good candle pictures, you’re gonna owe me one hell of a hug when you get to Denver, m’dear. :)

June 17, 2012

It’s odd how draining it can be just posting pictures of candles every night, but it is definitely time for a picture of the lovely Ryan Kelly, as a wee antidote to the melancholy of knowing I’ll likely be posting a new candle again tomorrow. I vacillated between posting one of him in his work clothes and hunting down the video from that last late night online chat he did with us, for a groggy ‘real person’ photo. But, while I think he is adorable when he’s staying up too late nursing his tea and talking at his computer, I suppose those aren’t exactly flattering shots. It’s hard to imagine that candles, prayers, or anything else we do could be of any use, if it’s been this long and nothing’s any better, but nothing lasts forever. Sometime we will hear news, hopefully not bad news, and until then there’ll be candles at the raven mount blog every night.

[End of Week 2]

Tumblr 'Candles' for Ryan, Week 1 (June 3-9)

[These are simply copied over from tumblr, with minimal html tags added to keep them readable on this site. The pictures do not belong to me, and I will add in photo credits once I find them again, soon. All of the text in these posts is my own, usually late night, ramblings. Any comments which were not part of these original posts are set apart by square brackets. The dates are a bit confusing in places, since in a few cases I wrote mid-day, and otherwise I was writing late at night, after midnight. The order of the posts is accurate, though, regardless of what day they were technically posted or written.]

June 4, 2012
I obviously spend way too much time on my computer these days (and clearly the Celtic Thunder guys post stuff online a LOT too, for me to say this). Anyway… I think I was so inordinately thrilled with the silly things Keith posted today- a cat in a lion costume, a can of Mexican beer- simply because it broke the silence of online Celtic Thunder Land. I may not be sitting around in some hospital waiting room, or kneeling in a church somewhere praying and waiting for good news, or any news, but there’s a funny silence as if I might as well be in some sort of diffuse, virtual waiting lounge, waiting for the facebook post or tweet or blog post that will tell me what happened and whether my beloved Irish singer is going to be ok. I am still pondering the implications of this aspect on the psychology of modern folks- not only do we barely know the people we see every day, but we can more or less know random people we have never met or even chatted with online, well enough to worry about them as if they were close friends after all.

June 6, 2012 (written late at night, June 5)

Ok, so these are not exactly ‘real’ candles- these are the QVC flameless candles Ryan took a photo of while doing the St. Patty’s Day special thing at QVC this year. And it is still a few hours till morning, so this is a bit early. With any luck we’ll hear that he is fine, long before I am up to post a proper candle, but I am still feeling really crummy and if I can get to sleep I intend to stay asleep as long as I can. (Ok, not REALLY crummy, just a headcold, but I am pretty pathetic about those- sore nostrils and sore throat are enough to set me whining.) If there is still no word from anyone about Ryan tomorrow, or if we do find out something that warrants more candles, I’ll find a real candle once I am awake and finished whining for a while.

June 6, 2012

Another day, another candle. I like this imagery as a metaphor- first of all because this is what musicians do, passing bits of light/music from their own souls into the souls of their listeners. This is why musicians touch us so personally, and in part why thousands of people Ryan Kelly has never met, or had barely known, are praying and lighting candles for him as they await news regarding his condition. But also, the candle imagery touches on one of the amazing and rather cool parts of this whole sudden nightmare- fans who never met each other, and may never meet in person, are drawn together by this, and lend each other the strength and comfort that they need. No doubt the fan community which has grown up around Celtic Thunder will be stronger for having gone through this week.

June 7, 2012
A real candle, and green because as most Ryan Kelly fans know by now, the Celtics have been winning since Ryan vanished from our social media lives. The Celtics play again tonight, and I’d bet they have a few more viewers than usual now that their games have become a sort of link between Ryan and his fans. (I know I had very little idea about sports outside what Ryan and the other CT guys posted, and now that they are posting less, I somehow know quite a bit about the last two Celtics games, for me anyway.) I really wish we would have had news before I could get around to posting this one. Still, if we hear nothing, at least we can almost safely assume he is not dead, and that’s at least something.
[The Celtics games became a sort of symbolic interest of quite a few fans this past month. Even I knew what the scores were and kept tabs on the games as they were being played, and I am still clueless as to how basketball is scored. Quite a few fans were on twitter and using @RyanKellyMusic in their tweets, so this became a sort of makeshift forum while all the usual forums were closed, and a lot of these tweets on game nights were following the games.]

June 7, 2012
Twitter wish for tomorrow
It is often said that you only get something you really want if you ask for it. So..

Dear Universe,
While I would of course love a tweet from any of my favorite celebrities, the message I really want, tomorrow if at all possible, is from Mr. Ryan Kelly. I would absolutely love to find in my twitterfeed tomorrow a message like “I have such amazing fans/etc, I’m very sorry I scared you, but I am alive and will be just fine.” I don’t need to know what happened, or how long he’ll be recovering before he’s back on stage. I also don’t need him to promise he’ll be on tour with CT in the fall. I do hope I might finally get to meet him at the Denver show, but if he doesn’t know what his plans are anymore, that’s ok. Really. I suppose I would settle in the short term for just hearing from someone that he is not dying, but getting that tweet in my twitterfeed from him would be absolutely fantastic. I don’t know how impossible this request is, but I suspect stranger things have happened, right?
Many thanks in advance,

June 8, 2012
More candles for Ryan. A few for Neil as well today. We’ve seen tweets from all the other Celtic Thunder guys again, now, but as of right now, both of my favorite CT guys are absent from my twitterfeed. (Both are single as far as I know and just about my age; I know, its a silly reason to like them better, but there seem to be fewer nice, hot single guys my age, the older I get.) I hope Neil has all the support and love he needs right now, and I hope we get to hear soon that Ryan is all better, or at least will be soon.

June 9, 2012

Saturday’s Candle for Ryan Kelly. And, yes, this one is posting a bit early, too, though for Ryan it is already Saturday anyway, I think. My nose hurts, and I’m not far enough from being sick yet to no longer feel whiney about it, so might as well post this early and sleep in again.

It gets harder to write these notes every day, especially knowing so little. Yet, I do not want posting candles to become just another thing to check off of my to-do list. After all, a picture of a candle is about as meaningful as a picture of a lobster, if there’s no thought behind it.

It has become increasingly hard for a lot of folks in the CT community, me included, to stave off the frustration of not knowing what is going on with Ryan, and the badly timed or badly framed posts by Celtic Thunder announcing sales and a teddybear made an easy target, but now that there is no announcement anywhere saying that Ryan is in hospital, most fans who are not online a lot have no idea anything is wrong.

Sales are good. We all want CT and the guys to make money from sales on their albums and merchandise so that they can keep touring and making new music for us. And, if Ryan’s family insist that CT not say anything there are real legal restraints on anyone from CT saying something anyway.

Yes, the total privacy/silence route that Ryan’s family and CT are following is a bit concerning- there’s nothing that he could have done, or that could have happened to him, that would cause any of his fans to leave him, and certainly if Ryan were calling the shots he would not want his fans to be kept so completely in the dark and worried where a simple tweet could make all the difference. But there are a variety of medical situations he could have found himself in, in which it might seem easier just to keep things quiet. I am creative enough to come up with dozens just off the cuff.

Anyway, the short form of this rather long-winded rambling is this: I am frustrated, too, that we have not heard anything yet. I think there were better, smarter ways they could have handled the PR in this situation. But, none of this makes one whit of difference in how I feel about Ryan or any of the guys. It’s a bad situation, but there are no bad guys here. That said, here are candles for everyone involved, including Ryan. May we find when all this is over that we are in a better universe for what we have learned in this challenging time.

June 10, 2012

Some yak-butter candles this time. It has been a week since we last heard from Ryan and almost a week since we saw that fleeting message about his being hospitalized. While that message made us all a bit more worried (understatement of the year?) than we otherwise would be, by now fans who missed that message are getting worried because they have noticed his conspicuous absence. For Ryan Kelly not to tweet at all during the last three Celtics/Heat games, something must be terribly wrong, and none of us needed that initial message to figure that much out.

The rest of the guys are no doubt shifting into rehearsal mode, for their shows in Atlantic City. After all, as the song says, the show must go on. That they aren’t acting torn up or worried is not surprising, really. When you work in entertainment, your job is not to drag your private life onstage, but rather to channel your hopes and fears and worries and grief into great performances that inspire and move others. This is one thing all the CT guys do very well. They do offer us more of themselves than most celebrities do, and I am sure their fans love them all the more for being ‘real people’. Still, we do not hear about all their troubles and triumphs, and right now whatever they are thinking and feeling about Ryan is a part of their strictly private lives. I agree that it seems odd that they say nothing, but they haven’t said nothing exactly. Well, Neil has said absolutely nothing, retreating entirely from his adoring public, a silence that speaks all the more loudly for how much he was posting just a week ago. George has put on his professional face, still sharing of himself as he always does. Keith actually did say something, in a way, in one of his more eloquent tweets thus far. But for all of us, the show goes on. I don’t want to see the end of Celtic Thunder over whatever has happened to Ryan, nor does anyone else, I think.

In the meantime, while life moves on, we continue to send our thoughts and prayers into the Universe for Ryan Kelly. He belongs on that stage with his friends, and we all want to see him back where he belongs.

[End of Week 1]

What a Difference a Day Makes... (June 2012 in review)

Almost a month ago, the Celtic Thunder community was plunged into a nightmare, and no, unfortunately I am not being particularly melodramatic. Ryan Kelly, one of the lead singers of the group, and one of my two favorite Celtic Thunder performers, was in an accident ~June 3rd, 2012. He had just been tweeting about staying up for Celtics games on the 2nd, and then on the 3rd a message went out on his facebook account saying that he had been hospitalized and to pray for him. Another message was sent out a day or so later saying that no more information was likely to be released for a while and that the family needed their privacy. Then both messages vanished, and the fans heard nothing more for over a week. From the fans' perspective, this was terrible. Most of the Celtic Thunder fans are in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and Ryan was, and is in Ireland, so with no one saying anything and all the Celtic Thunder performers suddenly silent on facebook and twitter, the fans were all cut off and in the dark.

No doubt this time was a nightmare for everyone, not just the fans. I had my share of criticisms about how the folks running the public relations for Celtic Thunder were handling the situation, but as far as I can tell since, Ryan was in serious condition that first week. Certainly the person who sent that first message was smart enough and savvy enough to know not to just go announcing to fans that Ryan was hurt if he had just broken a leg or fainted- that message sounded scared, and the deafening silence from everyone after that sounded equally scared. Impressively, the fans still do not know what exactly happened- there were no successful leaks of sensitive information, accidental or otherwise. And, once the performers and Sharon Browne started communicating again with the fans, they all made it clear that the fans' prayers for Ryan were both welcome and needed. A few fans may have lost their faith in the group after that first week, feeling unappreciated and frustrated, but on the whole, the community I think is a bit stronger having weathered this month successfully together.

Now, Celtic Thunder is in Atlantic City, having performed 2 of their 10 nights there. A new singer, Colm Keegan, has been moved in faster than was originally planned to help fill the void left by Ryan's absence, and he seems to be doing quite well. Ryan is still in the hospital, but is no longer in critical care, and once he has recovered a while longer perhaps he might be back online to tell everyone he is alive and will be well soon. It seems like such a daunting message to write, after the massive outpouring of love and prayers his accident generated, and I would not be surprised if he needs a day or two once he is well enough to be on his computer, just to figure out what to say. At least, after this month, he can have no doubt that he is loved, very much, and by very many people throughout the world.

When this month began, and after that first day of watching the twitterfeed, trying to decide whether Ryan was really hurt, whether it might not just be a bad joke, or a bad dream, I started thinking about what I could possibly do. I am an atheist, albeit an oddly spiritual one, so prayers in a church, which were the resort of many fans this month, would be no comfort for me. And, after a day or so of reading what other people were saying, I felt that there were things people were trying to say that just did not express themselves well in the 140 characters of a tweet. I had a new blog on tumblr, one I had started after being impressed with the one Ryan and Neil had created for their Acoustic by Candlelight tour, which was just last month. I had never met another Celtic Thunder fan, and was unsure about posting anything much in the twitterfeed. The ladies on there seem nice enough, but they all seemed to know each other already, and I had no idea if I might step on too many toes with what I had to say.

Thus, I started posting 'candles' on tumblr. I had no intention of sending them to Ryan, and would rather not leave them on tumblr now that their usefulness is coming to an end, so they are migrating to my old blog, here, to be archived. Yes, I am a bit vain, and I had fun some nights finding just the right candle. I was amazed at how many people on tumblr 'liked' my posts, and how many people shared them on their own blogs. I tried to keep them short, but I am a writer at heart, and short for me is still long for tumblr. And, they are all a bit personal, saying things that I needed to say on those nights, but not necessarily with any expectation that other people would agree or support what I said. Instead of getting notes asking me to shut up, or criticizing what I wrote, I got notes thanking me for what I was writing, telling me my posts were appreciated, and I even chatted briefly with a few nice Thunderheads on tumblr through my candle posts.

I hope that from now on Ryan has no more crises to weather- he has had more than his share already this past year- and I hope the rest of the group will never have such crises. I also hope that they all realize that the support and love and loyal devotion the Thunderheads showed Ryan this month is equally available to all of them. We all have our favorites- Ryan and Neil are mine, and if I could find myself a man like either of them, but atheist/humanist and actually interested in me, I would be a happy girl for the rest of my days- but a girl does not have to feel romantically attracted to a man to care about him. Anyway, the next few posts here will be the first few weeks of tumblr posts from what became a sort of odd online social media vigil, as fans all over the planet watched twitter, praying, hoping and waiting for good news.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Phenomenon that is Celtic Thunder

Contemporary Music-Making, The Lonely Crowd and Sincerity

"Surpassing sales of one million units combined, the musical phenomenon that is Celtic Thunder have just been hailed as BILLBOARD's Top World Music Artist, along with Top World Music Imprint and Top World Album of 2011 for their most current disc, Heritage."(from the Celtic Thunder webpage, advertising Voyage, the 2012 DVD release for this ensemble)

Celtic Thunder launched back in 2008, with five lead vocalists, several musicians, and a luscious mix of pop covers, Phil Coulter tunes, and arrangements of traditional Irish and Scottish songs. Every album they have released has been very successful in the United States, and they have had great success as well in Australia. So far, this group sounds like simply one of the many popular music acts in contemporary music. But, just as with Josh Groban's "Grobanites", Celtic Thunder's fans, self-styled as "Thunderheads", are just a bit more loyal, dedicated and personally engaged with Celtic Thunder and its members than would be expected if they were ordinary fans.

In their book The Lonely Crowd David Reisman, Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney describe a shift in society from 'inner-directedness' to 'other-directedness'. One aspect of this dynamic which they lay out in some detail provides an interesting perspective on the contemporary music scene. These authors suggest that the popularity of contemporary performers relies heavily on their 'sincerity' as perceived by their audience. "Popular emphasis on sincerity ... means that the source of criteria for judgement has shifted from the content of the performance and its goodness or badness, aesthetically speaking, to the personality of the performer. He is judged for his attitude toward the audience, an attitude which is either sincere or insincere, rather than by his relation to his craft, that is, his honesty and skill.(225)"

Here is at least part of what makes Celtic Thunder so successful and so deeply appreciated. This ensemble group was built up intentionally through auditions. Actually, having grown up with a step-sister who loved one of the New Kids on the Block members, I was leery of Celtic Thunder at first because it was a canned group, not one which grew out of a group of friends in a garage somewhere. But, the music heritage of Ireland sets a high bar for musicians, and perhaps these high standards, along with the good judgement of those in charge, brought together a collection of men who are all very talented musicians, and who also have the charisma necessary to charm new crowds of strangers every night. Thus, we get 'sincerity' plus the skill and taste that generate their addictive music.

The Lonely Crowd also touches on what 'sincerity' means, and why this is so important, and again Celtic Thunder's performers would make a great case for the authors' argument. "The performer puts himself at the mercy of both his audience and his emotions," the authors say. "Thus sincerity on the side of the performer evokes the audience's tolerance of him: it would not be fair to be too critical of a person who has left himself wide open and extended the glad hand of friendliness." Indeed, many fan comments left below Celtic Thunder's facebook status updates and blog posts echo the above sentiments. But the Thunderheads don't just 'tolerate' George Donaldson, Neil Byrne, Ryan Kelly, Keith Harkin and Emmet Cahill. They love these men, and even once they move on from Celtic Thunder to do other things, Celtic Thunder singers keep their fans' love and loyalty. Paul Byrom and Damian McGinty did not leave the Celtic Thunder community when they left the Celtic Thunder stage, and though Colm Keegan has not yet been on a Celtic Thunder stage, he has already begun to be adopted into the hearts of the Thunderheads.

The book The Lonely Crowd was published in the early 1950's, back when Elvis and the Beatles were setting the standards for current rock & roll. In the decades since then, musicians have grown up knowing that fans want their singer-celebrities to be 'real' and in every decade musicians have watched as the untalented but 'real' pop stars are showered with glory, outshining all those who actually know how to play an instrument. Public relations is an integral part of most successful contemporary artists' careers, and all PR professionals know that their clients must be seen to be real people, stylized just enough to be ideal but accessible. Tabloids, and nowadays almost all mainstream news sources as well, report daily, even hourly, on the marital lives, drug scandals, traffic tickets and new pets of the celebrities whose careers are built off of the images fans can create of them.

Against all this, the guys of Celtic Thunder are refreshingly real people. Many fans reacted with charming distrust at first when they realized that the Celtic Thunder guys actually write and send their own tweets on twitter, post their own status updates on facebook, and write their own blog entries on the Celtic Thunder website. All the guys in this group have made an effort to be accessible to their fans through live twitter chats, video-chats and various other events. And, while it is possible that this is all a ploy to make themselves seem more real, I doubt it. In a world of 'sincere' music, the Celtic Thunder performers are ordinary, real people who happen to play guitar (and other instruments) and sing for a living. They are actually vulnerable, actually at the mercy of their audiences, and their emotions bleed through their tweets and posts anytime they are excited or upset or just bored. Sincerity is not just an act for them, so it is not just an act for their fans either.

My step-sister may no longer remember the name of the New Kid she once intended to marry, but I'd be willing to bet that the Thunderheads will still care about the Celtic Thunder guys long after they retire. I'm not sure yet where that leaves the 'other-directedness' argument that Riesman et al presented, but it is an interesting lens for studying contemporary society. The rest of the music scene may be governed by that vast, lonely, ever-shifting crowd of half-hearted fan supporters, but for those people who have become Thunderheads, and Grobanites, for that matter, music and the musicians who create it, have built up lasting communities.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After over a week of having a wildfire just a few miles away, I'm almost getting used to the smoke. The High Park Fire is still putting up a huge smoke plume, which drifts far enough south to make the apartment smell like a campfire every so often, though usually the air-currents around here push the smoke northeast, towards Cheyenne. Sadly, this does not mean we have no smoke here, though. I had a cold when the fire started, so I've been coughing pretty much all day every day since the fire began, every few minutes or so, as the tiny ash particles in the air I am breathing irritate my throat. This is particularly annoying when I am trying to sing along to any of the tracks on my Spotify playlists by folks who regularly use more than one octave in a song. When I am not sick, and once I've warmed up, I seem to have almost the same range as Katherine Jenkins, and while I am sure I sound nowhere near as good, I can usually sing along to almost all of her songs comfortably.

And, for that matter, I can sing the Star Spangled Banner in the key Paul Byrom uses in the last such youtube video I've come across. But, though my cold is gone, I still can only go along with him for a few lines before too much ash settles on my throat. So annoying! I suppose if I was at the game tomorrow where Paul will be singing the anthem, I would not be supposed to sing along anyway, though I have never been to a major sporting event. Does the crown sing the anthem too? Maybe so. Anyway...

In other news, the magnificent Ryan Kelly, of Celtic Thunder fame, is not dead, and not dying. [Warning: Irresponsible speculation only, not to be confused with news. I am not an official or reliable source on Ryan Kelly or Celtic Thunder.]

The Celtic Thunder producer, Sharon Browne, sent out a message stating that he did in fact have a 'serious accident requiring hospitalization', but that he is now 'on the road to recovery'. This was a PR move that should have happened at least a week earlier, really, but the gesture is still much appreciated. Sharon's message said very little, really. We knew already that he was hospitalized, thanks to the apparently unauthorized and short-lived message that appeared online 15-16 days ago. We knew also that his family wanted their privacy, and figured that was why nobody was saying anything at all about Ryan after that message. If Ryan was in any shape to be calling the shots, he could easily have tweeted a message to his fans saying it was nothing too serious, so obviously whatever happened is pretty serious. And, that he is still not tweeting says that while his family allowed Sharon to post an update, Ryan is still in bad shape.

Ryan clearly chose to have a very close and personal relationship with his fans, but his parents and his siblings never decided to make their lives so public. It is no doubt disconcerting for the families of celebrities that so many perfect strangers seem to think they have a right to poke and pry at their lives, so being able to draw a curtain around themselves completely as they help Ryan recover must be particularly nice. They share Ryan with the hordes of women that are his fanbase, knowing that his career depends on those fans, but for the past 2 weeks, they have him almost entirely to themselves.

Celtic Thunder recorded a very nice Father's Day video, clearly before Ryan was hospitalized, since he is in it. In that video clip he looks tired, which he would be just after returning from the US tour he and Neil had just been doing. If that video had been released without any statement about Ryan's condition, many fans would have been upset, so it was no accident that both the video and the update on Ryan came on the same day. And, Sharon's update says Ryan was hospitalized 'a little over a week ago', while the message was posted exactly 2 whole weeks after he was hospitalized. So, the statement was a smart PR move, but there is nothing in the update statement that would indicate that Ryan's condition has necessarily improved this past weekend.

But, what Sharon's message does tell us is that Ryan is not dying, and that as of right now she is still hopeful that he will recover enough to return to the stage with Celtic Thunder. Sharon's message really does not say anything that would justify no longer posting candles, or sending out thoughts and prayers for him, but it does tell all of us fans that we are not being brushed off, and that the fact that we honestly do care about Ryan is appreciated.

My apologies, by the way, if I have any readers who actually see this post and are annoyed. Yes, I know this is not generally the sort of thing I post on this blog. But, I actually have regular readers on my newer tumblr blogs, and among them are several Celtic Thunder fans. If I started talking on tumblr about the PR side of how Ryan's accident is being handled, I would risk starting all sorts of bad rumors and grumblings. As far as I know, though, hardly any Celtic Thunder folks ever look at this blog; considering the number of readers I seem to have on here, I would be very surprised if anything I posted on here made it into the general Internet community. Anyway, please, don't spin any of my above rant into nasty rumors.

And, if you are going to the Phillies game this weekend, do check out the guy singing the anthem. Paul Byrom is really really good.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oh, if only I was a sports fan! Paul will be singing the anthem on June 19th for Irish Heritage night at the Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. I still find it amusing, an Irish guy singing the US National Anthem, but he sings it very well. Though, if I were at a game and he was singing the anthem for it, I would probably be too distracted with wanting to get out of the crowd-noise where I could listen to more of his music. This guy's voice is the one that drew me into watching Celtic Thunder videos a few years ago. He's a few years older now (and perhaps a few years wiser too?) and has moved on, which means a) there's been room now for Celtic Thunder to develop another lovely Irish singer, and b) we get to hear whole shows and albums of just Paul's lovely, velvety voice.