Celtic Thunder

A show rather than a group, Celtic Thunder was conceived by Sharon Browne and written and arranged by Phil Coulter and designed as a contemporary exploration of Celtic music, which means it falls to the pop-dance side of the spectrum more than it does to the traditional side. The show was staged, recorded, and filmed in Dublin in August of 2007 and featured five male vocalists, Damian McGinty (only 14 years old when the show was recorded), Keith Harkin, Paul Byrom, Ryan Kelly, and George Donaldson, rotating leads through a set of traditional and contemporary songs, several of them written by Coulter. A CD and DVD of the event appeared from Decca in 2008. The quintet's 2009 sophomore effort, Take Me Home, was stocked with traditional Irish and Scottish ballads peppered with a handful of pop/rock covers, while 2010's It's Entertainment relied exclusively on commercial pop hits. Celtic Thunder returned to their roots for 2011's Heritage, a meld of new and traditional material. Paul Byrom left before the album was complete, having recorded numerous tracks for the set before leaving; he was replaced by Emmet Cahill, although both men appear on the recording. Storm, a full theatrical production, arrived that same year, followed by Voyage and Voyage II in 2012 and the group's tenth album, Mythology, in 2013. Celtic Thunder vocalist George Donaldson died of a heart attack at his home in Glasgow, Scotland in March of 2014. February 2016 saw the release of Legacy, Vol. 1, which featured Colm Keegan, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Emmett O'Hanlon, and Neil Byrne reuniting with guest artist -- and Glee! star -- Damian McGinty for a live show celebrating the influence of Irish and Celtic music around the world. Legacy, Vol. 2, which featured the same lineup and focused on hits and fan favorites, arrived in August of that year. In early 2017, Celtic Thunder presented Emmet Cahill's Ireland, a collection of Irish standards sung by Cahill. Months later, the group released Inspirational, which featured renditions of popular Christian songs from the likes of Elvis Presley, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Alison Krauss. ~ Steve Leggett

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