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The Kelly Line

Sounds likeFrank Turner, Bob Dylan, The Jam
LocationCardiff

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The Kelly Line is a father/son songwriting duo made up of Mike (Dad) and Ben (son). Mike takes the lead with the lyrics while Ben focusses more on the music and is the primary performer.

The Kelly Line began life a few years ago when Ben was telling Mike how he was getting bored of playing covers, and wished writing lyrics wasn't so hard. It was an off the cuff remark but by the end of the day Mike had come back with some lyrics that quickly became our first two songs. Since then The Kelly Line has not looked back and many a night has been spent with guitar, notebook, and beer in hand. Song writing with your Dad might not be everyone’s idea of rock ‘n’ roll but, not only do we have fun, our conflicting and complimentary tastes mean there’s always something interesting in the music. By day we are father and son; by night we are songwriting partners!

The original aim was to see what we could achieve between just the two of us; writing, performing and producing a song from scratch. However, we have begun to realise that we can achieve more by involving other people and we now invite a wide variety of our musician friends to play alongside us on both studio recordings and during live shows. It means that The Kelly Line line-up will vary from gig to gig and track to track. On some occasions you’ll just hear Ben on his own, or with just a harmonica, while on other occasions The Kelly Line is a full band, sometimes even with a full horn section! The only Kelly Line constant is that the songs have been written by Mike and Ben and will feature Ben on acoustic guitar and lead vocals.

It is difficult to pigeon-hole our sound into a single musical genre. We try hard to write songs that have some meaning and are under-pinned by a social conscience and there are certainly elements of both folk-punk and folk-rock in our music. Our combined musical tastes are eclectic; Ben veers towards songs he can get his teeth into and put a bit of snarl behind, pulling influences from punk bands like The Wonder Years as well as more lyrically driven projects like The Mountain Goats. Mike, on the other hand, draws far more influence from the great lyricists of our time like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. He also really appreciates songs that give the lyrics room to breathe and has been the driving force behind most of The Kelly Line's more soulful music. 

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