03 Dec 2021

Mary Coughlan is everything a singer could possibly be, says Mattie Fox

Mary Coughlan live at Lawlor's, Naas

Mary Coughlan's latest album 'Life Stories' is a must buy, according to Mattie Fox

Mary Coughlan opens her new album, Life Stories, with a song called ‘Family Life’.

Any of you readers who are lucky enough to have the album already, listen to that one single track alone, in some place where quietness and stillness reigns.

Anyone who likes great music must get it.

I followed my usual habit and went to a nearby remote place to listen to the CD, which had arrived in the post.

For any human with an appreciation of music, this track envelops and penetrates the mind, painting dramatic pictures with clarity and ease.

With a new producer, who actually listens to the words and phrasing of the artist, called Pete Glenister, this one track demonstrates why Mary is far far from finished yet. She’s such a truly great singer.

This writer can hear the comparisons with Bob Dylan, although Mary doesn’t copy anyone. She sings with passion, grace, and sensitivity - almost breathing the words here and there with superb diction, phrasing, tempo’s all there. A true artist at work.

Mary reminds me of Otis Redding. That’s a strange analogy, I’ll admit, yet I can hear similarities, always. Though Redding is a completely different singer, I cannot help hearing echoes.

Mary is everything a singer could possibly be. She’s rebellious, angry, gentle, evocative, sad, happy, reminiscent, reflective, without once failing to inhabit every song, with absolute sincerity.

I should say that I once managed Mary, thought she was wonderful at the time, but we were forced to part.
One of the great pointless regrets that strikes me from time to time.

Never once did I stop listening to Mary Coughlan. I’m a huge admirer. Sometimes in moments of foolish remorse I think of how she should be an internationally successful artist.

She still can, is all I’ll say.

We could review every track on the album without once repeating the same language; only Bob Dylan can achieve that.
Mary is a one off.

Mary Coughlan, Life Stories, on Hail Mary Records. €8.99 including postage. Superb value.

- Mattie Fox

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