Celtic folk legend Mary Black, on the phone from her native Dublin a few months ago, was distracted by family party during an interview to promote her “Last Call” tour, sharing, “My son Danny’s band The Coronas just went to No. 1 in Ireland with its new ‘Trust the Wire’ album. And he did it all himself, with no major-label help!”
Danny O’Reilly, who brings the group to town this week, confirmed the news, recently calling from his Dublin home.
His newly minted imprint, So Far So Good Records, was a success: “My mom is very proud of us, and she’s very good at stealth promotion for her son wherever she goes,” he says, chuckling.
The chart-topping “Trust the Wire” — its title refers to instinctive faith circus aerialists must have in their balancing skills — is the band’s fifth release. It follows a disappointing fourth for heavy hitter Island Records, 2014’s “The Long Way,” which soured O’Reilly on show biz.
“We knew the drawbacks of signing with a major, and we knew we were taking a risk,” he says of the initially promising deal, which fizzled when the album’s first single failed to catch fire on radio. “They just stopped everything and wouldn’t even let us try to promote it. And unfortunately, these are the harsh truths of the music industry.”
But The Coronas’ manager built an escape clause into the Island contract, which activated when tour support stopped.
“So when they didn’t meet the criteria they said they would, we got the album back and were free to set up our own label,” says O’Reilly, 32.
The decision wasn’t financial. It was about gaining creative control, which allowed him to pen chiming folk-pop metaphors — U.K. hits “Real Feel” and “We Couldn’t Fake It” — which explain his artistic philosophy.
“They’re us reminding ourselves about what we do, why we do it, and how lucky we are to do it,” he says.
O’Reilly is glad he hails from a huge singing-songwriting clan, which includes his aunt Frances Black, and Bay Area-based uncles Shay and Michael, who often collaborate with Mary as The Black Family.
“They’re amazing. I used to listen to them on my headphones when I was 3, and I was just enthralled by their harmonies,” says the singer, who now works with his sister, Roisin O.
He always has his wise parent to consult for advice: “From a young age, mom always encouraged me to write my own songs,” O’Reilly says. “And she also warned me that this industry is hard, and no matter how talented you are, you’re not guaranteed any success. And that gave us our work ethic.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Nov. 18
Tickets: $13 to $15 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 800-8782, www.ticketweb.comCoronasDanny O’ReillyLong WayMary BlackPop MusicSo Far So Good RecordsTrust the Wire