June McDonnell meets one of Ireland’s finest country singers


After a long hiatus from the recording studio, this October Sandy Kelly will release her first solo album in almost thirty years, ‘Leaving It All Behind’, in tandem with her self-penned life story, ‘In My Own Words’, a book recounting the highs and lows of a lifetime in music and in her personal life. Hearing about this exciting news I gave Sandy a call to chat about these pending releases and for a bit of a ‘catch-up’.

The book promises to be a great read, full of stories from Sandy’s successful career and the celebrities that she met and became her friends.

It’s full of emotions – happiness, sadness, intrigue, humour, and a little bit of the unexpected. I don’t want to give too much away but it makes interesting reading.

Sandy is such a modest and unassuming person I had to press her for more information on her stellar career.
On one of his many visits to Ireland Johnny Cash went to hear Sandy sing, having been recommended to do so by Waylon Jennings.

He was immediately bowled over by her performance and invited her to record with him in Nashville. She has been to Nashville on several occasions since.

Woodcarver, a duet she recorded with Johnny on one of these visits earned her a gold disc, and it’s a song she insisted on including on her new twelve-track album. She returned once again to Nashville to re-cut this track and did so at Johnny Cash’s personal studio ‘Cash Cabin’. Johnny’s son, John Carter Cash produced it along with Sandy’s son, Willie Kelly, who is also involved in the music business. Another duet that earned Johnny and herself a gold disc was Ring of Fire.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own