Published in Trad&Now 153 December 2022
Ireland music royalty, Mary Coughlan is set to grace our east coast when she brings her ‘Life Stories’ tour to Australia, bringing her acclaimed 2020 album to the stage throughout March and April, 2023.
Arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, Mary has often been dubbed as ‘Ireland’s Billie Holiday’, not only for her glorious husky voice, but as another legendary artist who has battled and overcome childhood trauma and near-death from alcoholism and drug addiction.
After hitting rock-bottom and extensive periods in psychiatric hospitals and rehab centres, she literally pulled herself out of the dregs of a vodka bottle to confront the foundations of her problems head-on and sort out her life, and has been sober since 1993.
Mary has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career, with a legion of devoted fans worldwide.
Her ability to connect so emotionally and empathically with both the song and her audience is testament to her inner strength, and to the power of transformation and redemption.
The stage is her home.
To hear Mary sing is truly to be at the core of the human heart.
Whether into folk, blues or jazz, no one can fail to be moved by the emotional depth, expression and power in her voice, forged from an extraordinary life.
Mary rocketed to fame in 1985 with her seminal debut album, ‘Tired and Emotional’.
Seventeen years later, with as many albums under her belt, she is known as one of Ireland’s greatest soulful jazz and blues singers of all time, a true artist who has crafted a timeless and highly regarded versatile career with devoted fans worldwide.
She has lived through childhood trauma, alcoholism and drug addition to become a musical force like no other, redeemed and transformed through the creative power of music.
She embraces each song with empathy, courage interspersed with humour and emotions that reach way beyond the stage connecting with each and everyone in the audience.
Mary Coughlan’s ‘Life Stories’ tour will take her to venues throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria, Sydney and regional New South Wales, Brisbane and regional Queensland, Canberra, Adelaide and Wellington, New Zealand.
In addition to her headline shows, she will perform at Port Fairy Folk Festival (Vic) and Blue Mountains Folk Festival (NSW).
Joining Mary on stage will be Matt McMahon on piano, Brett Hirst on double bass and James Nash on guitar.