Proud Mary

Ahead of her two Whale shows, Ms Coughlan reveals her musical heroes…

Having aged like a particularly potent poitín, Mary Coughlan’s voice has gotten deeper and sweeter as the years roll by.

Making her particular brand of love hangover blues all the more enticing.

And inviting.

Playing The Whale on Friday, July 21st and Saturday 22nd, we asked The Lady Of The Little Sugar Loaf to reveal her musical inspirations, starting with where and when the blues really took a hold of her…

Actually, there was no moment. How this all began, how I ended up on this journey, it was almost by accident. Certainly not design…

I was 30 when I started singing, so, clearly, no plan. But over the last 20 years, I will say that my relationship with music has changed. It’s now one of the most important things in my life.

Every gig now is a very different experience. Which is how it should be…

As to the songs that still make me break down and cry…

Chicken Shack I’d Rather Go Blind
This is a song I heard on a jukebox when I was about 15, and it moved me to tears. I used to go and play it every single day.

Van Morrison Listen To The Lion
This song seemed to say everything I was feeling at the time. My first Van The Man record.

Billie Holiday Good Morning Heartache
I was living in London and saw Lady Sings The Blues and just went out the next day and bought every Billie Holiday album I could find.

Frank Sinatra I Get Along Without You Very Well
Just the most beautiful song there is. I recorded it in 1990.

Joan Armatrading Willow
I took a day off in the middle of a tour and went to see Joan. There is a good story here…

Donovan Catch The Wind
This is the first Donovan song I loved. He came to a gig of mine and we sang this together about 15 years ago. Another great story there…

The Beatles A Day In The Life
I guess it was so different to anything I’d ever heard. My friends and I discussed what it might be about. For hours. And days. And years.

Peggy Lee Is That All There Is
I’ve recorded this song just recently and I’m working on a piece for theatre. It’s written after reading a Thomas Mann novella, Disillusionment.

You can catch Mary Coughlan at The Whale on Friday, July 21st and Saturday 22nd, tickets here.


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