Former Legislator’s Lyrics Coming to Life

January 30, 2019

LOWELL -- For six years, local country music duo Martin and Kelly have performed between New England and Nashville, opening for artists like Alabama, Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley.

Hot off of their Saturday performance at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts, Jilly Martin, of Chelmsford, and Ryan Brooks Kelly, of Hudson, N.H., will be in Lowell Thursday to perform at state Rep. Dave Nangle’s first Winter Friendraiser at Long Meadow Golf Club.

The performance will feature two songs inspired by lyrics written by none other than former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos. The pieces, “Stood Their Ground” and “American Heart,” came from poems Panagiotakos wrote in honor of past Veterans Day and Memorial Day events.

“It’s a real full-circle thing,” said Martin, who was taught by Panagiotakos’ wife, Christine, at Westlands Elementary School and for whom Nangle is a family friend.

Panagiotakos said he began writing lyrics about 10 years ago. His wife had suggested he have Martin sing them.

A chance meeting in Boston in October led to the partnership.

Martin and Kelly were loading their equipment into Loretta’s Last Call for a show and ran into Nangle and Panagiotakos outside. Panagiotakos provided his lyrics and Martin and Kelly adapted them to music, which they recorded at Wonka Sound on Stedman Street.

Panagiotakos said his lyrics are inspired by his respect and appreciation for active military, veterans and “those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

“When I heard them put it to music, and her voice especially, and his guitar playing, it brought a tear to my eye, quite frankly,” Panagiotakos said. “They just hit it out of the park. When you hear it, that honor, respect and appreciation comes through.”

Martin and Kelly have performed the songs for Delta Force soldiers in North Carolina during their travels.

Nangle said he’s excited to showcase the local talent at his event, which serves as a way to give back to constituents and others who have supported him during the last 20-plus years.

“Everybody’s welcome,” he said. “It’s a good night and we just want to promote these young fantastic artists.”

The event will be held Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Long Meadow Golf Club at 165 Havilah St., Lowell. It is free and open to the public. In addition to the musical entertainment, there will be pizza and other refreshments, all on Nangle.

For more information on Martin and Kelly, visit martinkellymusic.com .

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