John Kelly

John Kelly portrait, wearing a casual shirt in stripes of blue, with a paisley scarf open around his neck and a chunky silver chain with a padlock on it. John is a white man with dark salt and pepper hair, swept back in a rockabilly style with a kiss curl on his forehead.
(Photo credit: Dom Moore)

“I have been singing since I was 8, brought up with Irish music loving parents, and vinyl and cassettes all over the house, music has been my life. Musically, I am self taught. I started a band in my teens (Another Dead Rabbit) writing and gigging whenever and wherever I could. I took on the guitar, bass and keyboards and I’m pleased to say I’m still dodgy on them all”.

John Kelly is a warm, funny, passionate musician with over 35 years’ live experience. He is a lover and a (non-violent) fighter for equality and human rights.

His songwriting sits alongside that of his heroes and peers; containing all the compassion & conviction of Woody Guthrie, the fiery passion of Billy Bragg and the imaginative storytelling of Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

As a live artist he has wowed crowds at gigs ranging from backroom pubs to prestigious venues to sold-out arenas and stadiums.  

John’s music is informed by his life’s journey, passions, good friendships, the connections and experiences we share, a sense of fun and belonging. His music is also influenced by his broad musical tastes encompassing Irish, folk and traditional music alongside rock and roll, ska, reggae and punk.


My Showcase video
Winds of Change teaser video

Live Dates

2022 forthcoming dates:

Saturday 21 May @ Convergence, Antwerp, Belgium.

Saturday 6 August @ Online Heroes Fest, Ontario, Canada, 3pm (EST)

Saturday 3 September @ MoreMusic, Morecambe, Lancashire.

Friday 9 September @ London, details to be announced.

Recent live dates:
– Tredegar House Folk Festival, Wales, May 22
– Manchester Folk Festival w/ Lunatraktors + O’Hooley & Tidow
– ParalympicsGB Homecoming celebration @ Wembley Arena w/ Madness, Jamie Cullum, James Arthur and Evelyn Glennie.
– Lyric Festival @ Hammersmith, London.
– Swich On Summer Festival @ New Wolsey, Ipswich, Suffolk.

For booking enquiries please contact


Music coming soon to Bandcamp
Debut album – scheduled for release in 2022

News and Access

The first play of forthcoming single aired on David Chamberlain’s Acoustic Routes show on Blues and Roots Radio in April. We are now in rehearsals for the Tredegar House Festival on 6th May.

Thanks to everyone for the friendships newly made at this beautiful Tredegar House Folk Festival. Thanks for the loving support, the song we sang together, the sharing of each day and the memories that will stay with me. It was such a great experience to play to an audience who hardly know me and to go away with your mighty voices singing our songs together now etched in my heart xx much love JK…… Next stop…Antwerp!

Click here to see my live dates and information on the festival, tickets and all the other brilliant acts playing over the weekend.

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John Kelly is an Ernie Ball Endorsed Artist.