Last updated: February 17. 2013 7:54AM - 28 Views

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Big ballads, a spectacular light and choreographic show and a mix of young and old. When Irish powerhouse Celtic Thunder hits the stage at the F.M. Kirby Center again tomorrow night, it promises all that and then some.

The group – today's members are Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, George Donaldson, Keith Harkin and Ryan Kelly – will bring its new show, "Voyage," to the area.

It also brings the cred of having sold millions of albums and DVDs worldwide and having performed at the White House and snagged the honor of Billboard Top World Music Artist.

This time around the touring circuit is going to be especially busy and exciting for Harkin, who debuted a long-awaited self-titled solo album on Sept. 18. Harkin, now 26 and a sixth-year member, had been working on the project for quite some time.

"I actually recorded an album two years ago and never released it," he said. "I just wasn't happy with it. To finish this was spectacular."

The album is a twelve-track mix of originals and covers. Many of Harkin's musical influences, such as Glen Campbell, Tom Waits, The Beatles and Neil Young, can be heard throughout.

He covers Tom Waits' "The Heart of Saturday Night" and "Everybody's Talkin'," as well as Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," a duet with two-time Grammy Award winner Colbie Caillat. Self-penned tracks include the album's first single and a bittersweet traveler's plea, "Don't Forget About Me," and a track to which Harkin is partial, "Rosa."

"She's joined to my hip," he said of his goddaughter, on whom the track is based. "I was leaving for L.A. some time last year, and she was saying, ‘Where are you going? Why are you going? When are you coming back?' before I even hit the door. It's a spectacular song, and it came across well."

"Every time anyone hears it, they think it should go in a movie," he said. "It's just a huge song. The first time I heard the strings get put on in Abbey Road Studios, I was in tears."

As a songwriter, Harkin finds he's most inspired by his travels and the people he meets.

"I've always been on the road," he said. "I've probably seen more of America than what most Americans have seen. I meet all types of people; I love people. I think people are the most interesting things on the planet. We're supposedly all made up of the same stuff, yet you'll never meet the same person twice."

Harkin credits much of his success and growth as an artist to Celtic Thunder, which helped him explore his skill set.

"I'm grateful because the group allows me to not only do all the old songs, the traditional ones, but write and play some of my own," Harkin said. "I get to play guitar, play piano in the show. It's been wonderful."


What: Celtic Thunder

When: Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow

Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre

Tickets: $65 and $75

Call: 826-1100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

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