Aaron Kelly to play fundraiser show at Genetti Hotel

Even though his run as a Top 5 finalist on “American Idol” ended nearly a decade ago, many area music fans still love watching Aaron Kelly perform live anytime they can. Fortunately, Kelly makes catching his live gigs easy for those in Central PA, as he makes regular trips back to the area from his home in Nashville to perform locally.

Soon, he will be playing another show in the area.

Kelly will be using his talents to help raise money for the Kids United all-inclusive community playground being installed next to Stevens Primary School on Louisa St., when he performs during the Boots, Barrels and BBQ fundraiser at 6 p.m. May 3 at the Genetti Hotel, 200 West Fourth St. The benefit show will help offset some of the cost for the $400,000 project, which will provide a place to play for children with cognitive or physical disabilities.

“I am very excited, because this show is supporting a wonderful cause,” Kelly said. “We are going to be building a new playground for the kids, and I am excited to be a part of that.

“The Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, and the Williamsport Area School District asked me to do this,” he added. “It is just something that I thought would be great to help out with. I think it is awesome to bring an all-inclusive playground to the area, because it is something that we definitely need.”

Kelly, who grew up in Sullivan County, rose to fame on the ninth season of “American Idol” when he was just 16 years old, making him the youngest contestant up to that point to break through the Top 12. It was his local fans that helped propel him to the success he saw on the show, as they were the ones voting most frequently, and that is not something that is lost on the singer.

“(The local fans) are amazing. What is so incredible to me is that people don’t forget and the support is still so amazing,” said Kelly. “Even a decade later, people still come out and support my music.

“Without my fans, I wouldn’t be able to do this for a living,” he added.

At the Boots, Barrels and BBQ show, Kelly will be joined by a full band of local musicians, including Christine Eyer (fiddle), Jim Finn (guitar), Urie Kline (drums) and Scott Myers (bass). Though his band often changes from show to show, he said that no matter who he is playing with, the group is always cohesive.

“There are quite a few moving parts in my band,” Kelly said. “I play with a lot of different members, so sometimes when someone can’t make it to a show, we will have someone else fill in.

“Everyone I work with is super professional and fits right in,” he added. “When they come to the show, it is like we have been playing together for years.”

The fundraiser is scheduled to last for three hours, with a meal being served along with the concert, giving Kelly plenty of time to perform. He will be playing country songs throughout the evening, bringing in a mix of covers and original music.

“There are probably going to be a lot of original songs that people haven’t heard,” Kelly said. “I am not sure specifically what we will be playing yet, because this is quite a set, but I know there will be some newer music.”

Two original songs that Kelly is confident will be played at the show are “Coincidence” and “Always Have My Heart.” The latter was written about his mom, who adopted him at the age of 5.

“My mom was somebody who put her life on hold for 18 years so that I could live out my dreams as a singer-songwriter; we did that together pretty much,” Kelly said. “We traveled to pretty much any place that she could put me in front of, so that I could have my music heard and make it as a singer.

“I wrote that song and dedicated it to her,” he added. “She was very surprised.”

For those wondering, Kelly said that, while he does catch the “American Idol” reboot on ABC from time to time, he doesn’t have any winner predictions for the current season.

“I can’t say if I have any favorites, because I haven’t seen enough,” he said. “I have caught a couple episodes here and there; I watched the audition process. I also watch the videos they post on Facebook of the people who are competing, and there is so much talent.

“Every year ‘Idol’ switches up the judges, it makes the show feel a little different,” added Kelly. “One thing I can say about this year’s judges is that they are very entertaining to watch.”

Those unable to catch Kelly perform at the Boots, Barrels and BBQ fundraiser will still have some other opportunities to watch him play locally, as he is set for shows at the Bloomsburg and Elizabethtown fairs this summer.

“There are quite a few things I will be doing in Pennsylvania that I am excited to be coming back for,” Kelly said. “These are places I have played in the past, especially after my ‘American Idol’ experience, that I haven’t been back to since.

“I know that there are a lot of fans that I am excited to get back and play for, especially at the Bloomsburg Fair because I played there even before ‘American Idol,’ and the support was amazing then,” he added. “I just can’t wait to get back and see those fans again.”

For now, Kelly is excited to be playing his upcoming show in May at the Genetti.

“Thank you to all of those that are coming out to support this awesome cause,” he said. “Thanks for keeping this dream alive for me.”

Tickets to the Boots, Barrels and BBQ fundraiser can be purchased at eventbrite.com and at the Genetti Hotel front desk. For more information on Kelly, visit aaronkellyofficial.com.


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