Shane Howard to guest on part of Mary’s 40th Anniversary Tour

Shane Howard to guest on part of Mary’s 40th Anniversary Tour

"I’m so delighted to welcome Shane Howard from Australia to be my very special guest for some of the shows on my upcoming 40th anniversary tour. Always gifted with words, he explains our story beautifully in this post he made online today." - Mary


Towards the end of October, Shane heads to Ireland to join Mary Black, as a special guest for four concerts, on her 40th Anniversary Irish Tour in October/November 2023.

It continues a long musical friendship. They met in 1992, in Australia, when Shane and his band were invited to tour with Mary.

“We immediately fell in with Mary and her band. They were the finest musicians and best of company and Mary’s voice and sensibility are a rare gift. Her choice of songs, over 40 years, speaks for her.”

“Mary heard me sing Flesh & Blood on that tour, returned to Ireland and recorded it. It became quite a hit on the charts in Ireland and beyond and Mary invited me to come and tour Ireland with her in 1993.”

“It was an amazing tour, on the back of her most successful album at the time. When I joined Mary onstage at the Point in Dublin, I was overwhelmed when 5000 people sang along to Flesh & Blood. I thought of my great grandmother, Mary Cleary, who left Ireland for Australia as an orphan of An Gorta Mor in the 1850’s, with such uncertainty before her and everything she knew, behind her.”

“We toured every nook and cranny in Ireland. It was a revelation. On a subsequent tour in 1994, I was able to connect with my Mother’s grandmother’s people near Silvermines, Beale Atha Gobhan, in Tipperary. Touring with Mary made these profound encounters possible and I’m forever grateful. I was also able to meet up with old friends Steve Cooney and Liam O’Maonlai.”

“It began an ever-deepening friendship between Mary and I and our respective countries, Ireland and Australia. We’ve recorded together and done numerous tours together over many years. A number of tours of Ireland, the US, Holland, Australia and we’ve guested with each other in our respective countries.”

Mary’s been a great champion for my songs, as she has with many songwriters, having recorded about 8 or 9 of them now. She’s been a great friend to my family and our community back in Oz. Like so many in our region, I grew up in the midst of the beautiful madness and all the complexities of Irish Australian Catholic culture, with a childhood of novenas and rosaries and music overflowing and spilling out of our home.

Mary met my parents, my family and recorded a stunning duet, ‘Poison Tree’, with my sister Marcia as well. When my wife Teresa and I worked with our community to buy back our local St. Brigid’s church in 2009 and keep it in the community, Mary was very generous, as usual, in helping the community fundraise, not once but twice. Mary really connects with people. Her big-heartedness is fondly remembered in that most Irish of communities in Southwest Victoria, Australia, in the heart of ancestral migration from The Great Hunger. There’s even a backstage area known as the ‘Mary Black Landing’.

Although a touch nervous, Shane is looking forward to opening for Mary, reconnecting with her band and many old friends in Ireland.

“After a dozen journeys to Ireland, this may be a farewell, as well as an opportunity to sing Mary’s praises and thank her for the genuine friendship she has shown over so many years. Maybe I can sing back to her some of the songs of mine that she breathed new life into, made her own and popularised in Ireland and beyond, with that once in a lifetime voice.