Celtic crooner Mary Black still going strong

In town a month ago for her musician brother Shay’s 60th birthday party, Dublin-based diva Mary Black looked fit as a Celtic fiddle at 55.

But she says she has been slowing down a bit, careerwise. Her San Francisco gig Saturday marks her first American tour in three years, she has not released an album of new material since 2005’s “Full Tide,” and lately she has been ditching her bustling hometown for a rustic cottage retreat in rural Kerry, where she has started painting with acrylics.

“I go down there for peace and joy,” she says, sipping a glass of wine. “There’s no television, it’s in a lovely Irish-speaking area that’s steeped in tradition and music, and you can go sit in a bar with six other people and just sing songs and play music.”

Retirement, however, is out of the question, thanks to an unassuming greatest-hits collection, “Twenty-Five Years, Twenty-Five Songs.”

Two years ago, Black was averse to releasing it — she had already put out four.

“Then someone told me, ‘You know, Mary, you’ve lasted for 25 years, so you should really celebrate it!’” she says. “So we brought this album out, and it went straight to No. 1 for five weeks in Ireland, then stayed on the charts for 40 weeks and sold incredibly well. And as soon as I started touring, suddenly we were having these huge sellout concerts with lots of young people coming.”

The two-disc set features remastered versions of the former De Dannan warbler’s crystalline signature tunes — “Sonny,” “Song for Ireland” and “Only a Woman’s Heart.”

“It’s given me an injection of energy, absolutely reignited my career and made me feel like, ‘Wow! There are all these people out there who still like me and want to hear me!’ Black says. “So now I’m even looking at the possibility of recording another album.”

After hearing that fellow countryman Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol praised her recently, she blushes for a minute but quickly regains her composure.

Black will soon record with old friend Sinead O’Connor, and she has been co-writing with her 25-year-old son, Danny of the red-hot Irish outfit The Coronas.

“I’ve been meeting a load of artists like Gary Lightbody who come up to me and say, ‘Oh, my God, it’s so great to meet you!’” says Black, who is considering an album of collaborations with younger artists.

“So I’m not bad, considering,” she says, staring at her empty wine glass. “My health is good; I’m trying to keep fit, and I try to eat well. But I, er, do drink a bit more than I should!”

IF YOU GO

Mary Black

Where:
Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets:
$37.50

Contact: (415) 474-0365, www.bimbos365club.com, www.ticketfly.com

artsentertainmentMary BlackmusicPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read