Last December, the world lost a great Irish musician when Ray Kelly of the Mickey Finns departed suddenly from this planet. He left behind a grieving family with a young son as well as devastated bandmates.
Mickey Finns drummer Brian Tracey has been laying down the beats behind Kelly for two decades, since their time in the Prodigals. He has organized a benefit for Kelly’s family at Connolly’s Pub in the Klub 45 room (125 West 45th Street, right off Times Square) on Sunday, May 19 from 4 p.m. until late.
The lineup is nothing short of astounding, with many headliners offering their time to make sure Kelly’s family and his young son Jude in particular is provided for. Black '47, The Prodigals, Lost Tribe of Donegal, Colm O'Brien, Jameson's Revenge, The Mickey Finns with Padraig Allen and the Cathie Ryan Band round out this incredible lineup.
“Yeah, the line up is killer,” admits Tracey during our weekend chat. “I actually had to turn down a bunch of people who offered to be a part of it, as well. I think it just goes to show what an incredible man Ray Kelly was. Not just as a singer and musician but as an amazing human being. He was truly loved.”
Kelly says that people have been coming out of the woodwork since Kelly’s death wondering how they could help out.
“One of the things I love about the Irish community in New York is that we always help each other out,” he says. “Every weekend, somewhere, there's a benefit being put on to help someone in need.
“The Mickey Finns -- Matt, Eric and myself -- wanted to put on a show to raise some money for his family and to celebrate the life and music of Ray. On the night of Ray's wake in New York City Larry Kirwan from Black '47, offered to be a part of anything that we put together. It meant a great deal to us that the offer to help out came right away and completely unsolicited.
‘We're so happy that Ray had a personal connection, be it through friendship or musical kinship, to all of the performers. Any festival would love to have lineup like the one that we'll have on the 19th. It's truly an honor and a blessing to be a part of the Irish music community in New York City.”
As for the Mickey Finns, Tracey assures us that you have not heard the last of them.
“We will continue on with The Mickey Finns, and plans are on the way to do some shows in the summer and fall,” he reveals. “We're not ready to announce anything as of yet, but we will go on, as tough as it may be at times.
“Music is what we do. It helps us to heal and I know it's what Ray would have wanted. We'll be working on that as soon as we get finished with the benefit.”