Homecoming of a kind for artist fashioned from life on the road

Mark Geary...Galway gig.
Mark Geary...Galway gig.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

He’s one of the most decorated, consistent singer-songwriters the Irish music scene has produced in the last twenty years – and with an ability to combine powerful, intimate lyrics with a detailed knowledge of both traditional and electronic folk, Mark Geary has grown to become a heavily acclaimed songwriter and performer.

On Friday April 12, he returns to Galway’s Monroe’s Live alongside the Strawhall House Band – something of a novelty in itself, given that he has spent so much of his time flying solo.

Since emigrating to New York in the early 1990s, the Dubliner has released five highly regarded studio albums. It is perhaps those early days as a nineteen year-old in a foreign city that shaped most of his success.

“I didn’t know any musicians – I was kind of finding my feet,” Mark recalls of New York.

“I think I just grabbed a guitar. Sin É was in its pomp and very quickly I became aware that there were lots of open mic nights that I could go to.

“I became very serious about trying to write songs as my head was sponging all of the stuff going on around me so I didn’t think of a band, I didn’t think of any of that.

“And then you kind of get this stage armour that is absolutely essential and you just have the balls to get up and say ‘OK, I’m going to try to win this audience and show them who I am’ so it evolved from that.”

While his upcoming Galway gig includes the backing of a talented band, Mark spent a long time performing solo. The energy of his early work, however, seemed to pave the way for a seamless transition into band life.

“Maybe it was because of being in New York and knowing you were up there on your own and that you had to make some kind of impact but all of my songs seemed to have a strong rhythm,” he says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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