top of page

Irene Kelley For Your IBMA 2023 1st Round Ballot Consideration

"She sings with immense hillbilly heart and writes like a champion." - Robert K. Oermann, Music Historian; Music Row Magazine

Snow White Memories, Irene Kelley's gaze throughout is not as much toward a remote, amber-preserved place and time as it is a yearning for the soul's safe harbor, a state of emotional ease, which, if not always achievable, is always imaginable. Even her cinema-specific “Fourth of July in My Hometown” is less the celebration of an event than an embrace of belonging. “Nothing heals me like a memory,” she sings. With a bell-bright voice and earnest phrasing, Kelley has steadily sung and written her way to bluegrass eminence. Snow White Memories, which includes guest appearances by luminaries like Trisha Yearwood, The Kruger Brothers, Ronnie Bowman and was co-produced by Irene and her daughter Justyna Kelley. Snow White Memories has garnered three songs that topped the Bluegrass Today Charts at #1.


(Irene Kelley / Mark Irwin)

The single ‘LONELY’ came with the title and melody line during the pandemic,” Irene Kelley recalls. “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 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.”


(Irene Kelley / Ronnie Bowman / Terry Herd)

“This song got started one morning while in Gatlinburg,” says Irene Kelley about “Come Some Winter Morning,” The single features bluegrass legends The Kruger Brothers. “The fire was going and the first verse and melody kinda rolled out. A few months later, Ronnie, Terry, and I finished it up while on a return trip in that same cabin and its generous inspiration - a writing retreat of sorts. Terry remarked that it reminded him of something that The Kruger Brothers might record and offered to reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in playing the track. Terry, Ronnie, and myself are all 3 HUGE Kruger Brothers fans. Jens responded right away and said ‘yes for sure.’ So, this is the result of their fine playing. My friend and long-time band member, Wayne Southards adds a beautiful harmony part.”

IBMA 2023 1st Round Ballot for Album of the Year, SNOW WHITE MEMORIES:

IBMA 2023 1st Round Ballot for Song of the Year: LONELY (Irene Kelley / Mark Irwin)

IBMA 2023 1st Round Ballot for Collaborative Recording of the Year: COME SOME WINTER MORNING Featuring The Kruger Brothers (Irene Kelley / Ronnie Bowman / Terry Herd)


bottom of page