Billy Keenan's unfinished CD to be completed in time for #KeenanStrong Concerts

Billy Keenan has been working on a new CD project over the last few years featuring some of his favorite Irish standards. The project was on a hiatus at the time of Billy's accident.   Now, a number of Billy's friends in the New York Irish music scene have come together to complete the CD in time for the #KeenanStrong Concerts in early May. 

The project's engineer Gary Solomon from Gate Hill Audio in Stony Point and Patrick Dineen from Celtic Cross got the idea to listen to Billy's incomplete recordings to see what might be done.   What they found were nine heartfelt tracks of Irish showband standards that needed some work, but were the core of a great CD.  

"I know from our own projects that the passionate pursuit of perfection can take a long time... and Billy was passionate about making a great record with these songs.  We had talked to him a bunch on getting going to finish it" said Dineen, who directly reached out to the Keenan's for their blessing on pursuing the project.  "All it needed was a little polish, a few guitars, some whistles and fiddles, and a bit of harmony.  Billy was pretty close.  His vocal tracks are great."

The list of bands and musicians lining up to help the project is impressive.   Jimmy Kelly, Buddy Connolly, John Reynolds, Margie Mulvihill, John Nolan and George Rigney have joined John & Kenny Vesey, Walter Ensor, Frankie McCormick, Kathleen Fee and Patrick Dineen from Celtic Cross in recording sessions over the last few weeks. Jeannie Callahan, Derek Sherry, and Tony Marino from Billy's own Primetime Showband are featured on several tracks.  Andy Cooney, Eileen Ivers, Dennis McCarthy from Shilelagh Law & Jameson's Revenge, Gabriel Donohue, Kevin O'Neill, Padraig Allen from McLean Avenue, Seamus Keane from The Narrowbacks, Pamela Geraghty & Deirdre Brennan of Girsa, Brian McArtin from Broken Banjo Strings, Sean Ruane, as well as Brian Meagher, Eric van der Leeuw and Andy McEvoy from the NYPD Pipes & Drums have also joined the project in the last few days.  Solomon, who has donated all the studio time for the project was amazed about the talent coming out to help "I am delighted to have such great players and fine people recording at my studio for Billy."

"We needed one more song, something that we could make a rallying song for #KeenanStrong" said Buddy Connolly on the idea of recording the recent Alternative Routes hit "Nothing More" recently featured in the Sochi Olympics.   The Connecticut-based pop act, currently on tour with Ingrid Michaelson, agreed.  Connolly said "They couldn't have said yes faster to give us permission to record their big song for Billy."   The plan is to have several of the greatest voices in NYC's Irish scene join in the vocals for the track modeling the classic '80s "We Are The World" charity hit.  #KeenanStrong looks forward to the new track being a big hit for awareness about Billy. 

After considering several options, Billy and Noreen decided that the CD should be titled Believe. "Through this whole ordeal, the graciousness of everyone has been amazing, people have helped us at every turn, and they truly have helped us believe.  So the title had to be that," Billy told us in a #KeenanStrong interview.  He went on "this CD is a concrete piece of history about the music that I loved to play, my kids will have this years from now."

The recording work is just about complete and the project is on schedule to have the brand new CD available for sale during the upcoming #KeenanStrong concerts. With gracious sponsorships from Gate Hill Recording, Sterling Sound Mastering, Bandzoogle, and Disc Makers, #KeenanStrong will finish this record for a fraction of the typical cost, enabling essentially all the proceeds from the CD to go directly to the Keenans.   Celtic Cross lead singer Kathleen Fee said it best, "Every single person that walks through the door at these concerts, and everyone who had Billy play at their wedding or party over the years will buy this CD to hear Billy sing again.  We Irish come together to help when it is most needed... in this case we coming together with music."  

We here at #KeenanStrong all look forward to hearing him sing again soon, and are looking forward to the completion of Billy's CD.   Look out for updates on the project and when it will be available at www.keenanstrong.org, KeenanStrong on Twitter, and on the #KeenanStrong Facebook page.      

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