"Irene Kelley has turned in another smooth-sipping cocktail of bluegrass grooves, country vocals and balladic swing rhythms in Benny’s TV Repair that I wouldn’t recommend missing out on this season, and I can’t imagine that I’m the only critic saying as much right now. With Kelley’s angelic voice to guide us through the darkest of dirges, the audience can put their trust in this blessed woman and her country cohorts as we wander through such intriguing numbers as “Something About A Train Sound,” “Thunderbird” and “Highway Back To You,” all three of which could make fine singles on their own – as could most of the songs included with them." - John McCall, Too Much Love Magazine
"To say that it isn’t easy to capture the energy of a vintage bluegrass song would be too huge an understatement for any journalist to make, and yet for Irene Kelley, the challenge isn’t too big to undertake (as we learn in her new studio album Benny’s TV Repair). The imagistic and highly textured tracks, which include the poetry-driven “Bluegrass Radio,” “Anything To Help You Say Goodbye,” “Out Of Arkansas” and “Highway Back To You,” aren’t wrapped in plastic and outfitted with a few pop hooks and a country lyric as so many pseudo-bluegrass crossover discs have been in 2019. Instead of following the trend, Kelley gets downright personal with her words in “Thunderbird,” “Something About A Train Sound” and “Faster Than Angels Could Fly,” somehow finding a rustic harmony to fit every verse she emits." - Gwen Waggoner, Skope Magazine
"One line from the chorus of “Something about a Train Sound,” the nimble opening track on Benny’s TV Repair, describes perfectly the entire album: “music to my ears it just feels right.” Every song on Irene Kelley’s album is music to our ears, and she’s joined by a holy host of others — Bryan Sutton on guitar, Adam Steffey on mandolin, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Matt Menefee on banjo, Mark Fain on bass — as she delivers her heavenly vocals over lush and lively instrumentals. Her songs — co-written with artists including Bob Rea, Bill Whyte, Steve Cropper, Jerry Salley, and Justyna Kelley, among others — carry us over musical landscapes that feature terrain close to the heart of all bluegrass: the love of family, the bonds of community, the longing for returning home, the powerful influence of radio, and the depth of faith." - Henry Carrigan, No Depression
"The past never sounded as good as it does on Irene Kelley’s new album, Benny’s TV Repair, a collection of bluegrass tunes that manage to sound fresh and sprightly even as they look backward. Kelley is a successful songwriter who has penned tunes with and for many Nashville stars (from Ricky Skaggs and Trisha Yearwood to Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack), and she clearly saved some special songs for her fifth solo outing. The tunes on Benny’s TV Repair are extremely well-crafted. The lyrics tell stories with precision and nuance; every syllable she sings sits tightly in the “pocket” of the tunes." - Michael Graca, Americana Music Show
Mountain Fever Records is proud to release "Bluegrass Radio," the latest single from Irene Kelley. Listeners have enjoyed her first single, "Something About A Train Sound" as it was #1 for five weeks on Bluegrass Today's Weekly Chart. Irene is one of the best vocalists and songwriters in bluegrass and country music, and her latest singles are a testament to that fact.
"After evolving from a somewhat archaic form of old-timey music of the back porch variety, today’s bluegrass has become a populist genre filled a crowded field of contenders. Irene Kelley, who made her entrance a few years ago, has, in the time since, emerged at the top of the pack. These Hills proves an apt title, given that these songs ring with the authenticity of genuine mountain music. As Kelley demonstrates, it’s not enough to simply replicate the style; here she invests her heart and soul into the rustic revelry espoused in such songs “Carolina Wind” and “Up In Those Blue Ridge Mountains.” - Lee Zimmerman, Elmore Magazine
"Irene Kelley is one of those singer-songwriters who seems to drift in and out of my musical life. It was as a writer for Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White, Rhonda Vincent, Alan Jackson and Claire Lynch that I first came across this unassuming lady. Shortly after, Irene released a couple of excellent singles on MCA, but it was another ten years before SIMPLE PATH, her debut album, reconnected me with this talented singer-songwriter. Since then she has released a further three albums, each one a rare and delicate musical treasure trove. This latest one is a natural progression for a singer-songwriter who has traversed life’s joys and troubles with fortitude and optimism and unfurls her tales of that life with gentle passion." - Alan Cackett
For years Irene Kelley has been one of the best kept secrets in Nashville, weaving her magic into song after song for artists like Ricky Skaggs, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Carl Jackson, Claire Lynch, Pure Prairie League, the Osborne Brothers and others. But last night it was her turn at Nashville’s world famous Station Inn. One look around the room spoke volumes about the friends, fans and colleagues she’s made over the years, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles to hear the voice and lyrics from one of Music City’s top talents. This was a capacity crowd; not an easy thing to pull off in a town awash in music and live performances. But then after all, this was Irene Kelley.
"Irene Kelley lives up to her reputation as a stellar artist and songwriter with her latest, the rootsy, grassy Pennsylvania Coal. Quality should be no surprise, since Kelley has been in demand on Music Row for decades for her sweet, pure sound and sought-after writing skills, with cuts by artists including Carl Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Alan Jackson and Trisha Yearwood). With this album, Kelley aims for the heart with friendly vocals and relevant material. She, along with her cowriters — the likes of Thomm Jutz, David Olney, Peter Cooper and Jon Weisberger, among others – exhibit a knack for approaching a common hook from a refreshing angle in songs such as “Feels Like Home” and “You Don’t Run Across My Mind.” - Engine 145 – CASEY L. PENN
Established singer-songwriter Irene Kelley celebrated the Feb. 11 release of her new collection, Pennsylvania Coal, with a show at The Bluebird Cafe. Joining her were special guests on the project Jerry Salley, Claire Lynch, and Carl Jackson. The bluegrass album on Patio Records is a tribute to her coal-mining grandfather. It was produced by Grammy Award-winner Mark Fain, and also features Rhonda Vincent, Dale Ann Bradley, Darren Vincent, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton and Trisha Yearwood.
(L-R): Irene Kelley with Jerry Salley, Claire Lynch, and Carl Jackson