Much-loved Irish artist, Sandy Kelly was always going to be a singer and performer. Born into her grandfather, Dusky Dan’s Variety Roadshow, her destiny was sealed from her first stage appearance at the age of three, laying the foundations for a lifelong career in music. She was co-opted into the family travelling fit-up variety show in Ireland and later as a teenager the social club circuit in the U.K. playing an ever more prominent role until she returned to Ireland and developed initially as a pop performer before following her instincts and concentrating on a country music career.
Sandy’s first record, ‘Come Back Billy Joe’ reached number two in the Irish pop charts and her career was on track. She represented Ireland at the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, as lead singer in The Duskeys. She has achieved multiple Gold Records, including hit duet ‘Woodcarver’ with Johnny Cash and her version of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’, one of the biggest selling singles in Ireland in 1989. For three years, she hosted her own weekly RTE TV Series ‘Sandy’.
Her connection to Patsy Cline’s songs led to Sandy being cast as the lead in the West End production of ‘Patsy – The Musical’ in London in the 90’s. Following the West End run, the show successfully toured the UK and Ireland for the second half of the decade.
While on an Irish tour, Johnny Cash heard Sandy on the radio, asked her to join him on stage and invited her to Nashville, where his introductions integrated her into the upper realms of the Nashville scene. Sandy subsequently recorded and toured with a host of legendary U.S. country artists including Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Glen Campbell, Tammy Wynette, George Hamilton IV and Chet Atkins. Her friendship with Johnny Cash and his family endured right to his sad demise in 2003.
Following a thirty-year hiatus from the recording studio, in October 2023 Sandy will release a long awaited new album in tandem with her self-penned life story, ‘In My Own Words’, published by O’Brien Press. The autobiography covers the ups and downs of the singer’s life in her own endearingly honest voice.
The album, ‘Leaving It All Behind’, was recorded at what was Johnny Cash’s personal studio ‘Cash Cabin’ in Nashville and produced by five time Grammy Award winning producer, John Carter Cash, alongside Sandy’s son, Willie and an A-list Nashville session band. Twelve tracks, traversing the lines of classic country and contemporary folk, including re-cut acoustic versions of Sandy’s duets with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, ‘Woodcarver’ and ‘Against The Wind’, the latter featuring Marty Stuart as a guest musician. As well as a duet with Mike Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing. ‘Leaving It All Behind’ is a legacy album which will confirm Sandy’s position at the apex of the European country music ladder.
It was my pleasure to sing with my favourite female artist, Sandy Kelly. In America, she has been Ireland’s greatest ambassador. She won the hearts of everyone who saw her. I am honoured to be included as one of the guest artists on her album – Johnny Cash
Sandy Kelly is, in my opinion, one of the top fifteen female artists in the world – Willie Nelson
Sandy Kelly has established herself as Ireland’s undisputed Queen of Country Music. She has also consolidated her status as an international star of the highest calibre – Colm O’Hare, Hot Press Magazine