Mary Black To Release First Album in Six Years
The album from the Irish singing legend will be followed by three more releases from the Seattle-based Independent Blix Street Records during the first months of the year.
Mary Black has been at the forefront of the Irish music scene for over 25 years. Her voice is rich; her delivery vivid and nuanced. Her gift for storytelling and ear for emerging songwriters have earned her star billing on the international stage, devoted fans, awards and honors too numerous to recount.
Stories From The Steeples, named for the Dublin studio where it was recorded, comes straight from the heart. Eleven songs of life, love, loss, struggle and hope are the perfect rocky terrain for Black. With writers rooted in Ireland, Australia, the UK and America, the diverse and adventurous material offers more than a few delicious surprises, among them the bonus track "Fifi the Flea," written by the Hollies' Graham Nash, Tony Hicks and Allan Clarke.
Black shares vocals on three duets on the new CD: "Lighthouse Light" with Janis Ian, a catchy tune written by Boston-based artist Ry Cavanaugh; "Walking With My Love," a spirited romp with the incomparable Irish musician Finbar Furey; and "Mountains To The Sea" with Irish chart-topper Imelda May, which is slated to be the album's first single. It's enough to say that when Dublin-born May took first place on Ireland 's album charts with her 2009 debut Love Tattoo, she became the first female Irish artist to secure that spot since fellow Dubliner Black did it nearly 20 years before. This tuneful salute to open spaces was written by Australia 's roots artists Shane Howard and Neil Murray, familiar territory for the triple-platinum May whose influences include rockabilly and blues. Black also includes Murray 's " One True Place ," a song that could easily have been sung by The Carter Family.
Leading off the musical adventure is "Marguerite and the Gambler," the story-song about a doomed love affair involving a beautiful woman, a dashing rogue and an unhappy father written by Irish contemporary singer-songwriter Ricky Lynch. "The Night Was Dark and Deep," from acclaimed Australian musician Paul Kelly, showcases Black's mesmerizing ability to deliver the soul of a song ever fresh with understatement.
The album features three songs from Danny O'Reilly, the lead singer of the Irish pop/rock group The Coronas whose new album just debuted at #1 on the Irish pop chart: "Faith in Fate," a memorable union of Black's fluid delivery fitted to Andrew Holdsworth's well-tempered string arrangement and Ritchie Buckley's sax; "Wizard of Oz" with a sparse arrangement echoing its emotional landscape; and the energizing, upbeat "The Night Is On Our Side." Given the affinity of sense and sensibility between singer and writer in these three songs, it is not surprising to learn that Danny is Mary's son, one of the next generation of the Black family musical tradition. Mary's two other children, Roisín and Conor, also appear on "The Night Is On Our Side."