In the late nineties, John Kelly moved to Dublin to present the groundbreaking Eclectic Ballroom on what was then called Radio Ireland – later Today FM – and formed a successful musical partnership with Donal Dineen, whose Here Comes the Night immediately followed.
In 2000 John moved to RTÉ Radio to present Mystery Train and won the PPI Award for Music Broadcaster of the Year. Mystery Train was another cult classic and a trusted music source for the discerning listener. Elvis Costello showed up regularly to co-present and the show was listened to all over the world. "It’s an extraordinary programme" said Bono, "To go from Duke Ellington to Björk. To go from Woody Guthrie to The Virgin Prunes. It's an amazing thing to pull off. There's nothing like it anywhere in the world."
In 2007, Mystery Train went into a tunnel.
John reappeared on RTÉ Lyric FM to present a new and very different show called The JK Ensemble. And although RTÉ lyric FM had traditionally been a classical music station, The JK Ensemble covered everything from Bach to Brian Eno and from Miles Davis to Sigur Rós.
But now, in September 2017, eleven years on, Mystery Train emerges from the tunnel. It will broadcast on RTÉ lyric FM Monday-Thursday, 7-9 pm - with a special excursion on Sundays, also at 7pm.
"I couldn’t be happier," said John. "I’ve been missing this particular train for a very long time, and it’s time I got back on the rails. I love music – all sorts of music. It’s my passion. I’m constantly listening and discovering, and I love to share what I discover with my friends. And so, for me, programming an eclectic, open-minded radio show is a joy and a privilege, and I’m extremely grateful to RTE lyric FM for the opportunity."
Mystery Train returns to RTÉ lyric FM on Monday, September 4th at 7pm. Read John Kelly's ongoing series of articles on Albums That Will Save Your Life here.