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Album Review

Mary Black abandons her usual sound and production on Shine, an album of songs recorded in Los Angeles with local session musicians. At the production helm is studio veteran Larry Klein (who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Joni Mitchell), and he aided in selecting songs from a new crop of songwriters. Most notably, Mary Black sings five songs by David Gray, a gifted songwriter who would later break into the mainstream with 1999's White Ladder. The first half of Shine is a strong collection of songs that rank among her best work, with the uplifting title track and "Almost Gone" as the highlights. The second half is a bit uneven as slow ballads are sandwiched between harder-edged tracks. Despite the fuller sound and the presence of electric guitar, most of the songs work and it is refreshing to hear Mary Black try something new. However, she often stretches her voice and, therefore, loses some of the subtleties that are her trademark. The hidden track "Dancers in the Dark" shows that she has not abandoned spare acoustic arrangements, and it appears that this was a one-album experiment. Fans will definitely want to get this album, but casual listeners should start elsewhere.

Customer Reviews

thank you.

i love your heart. shine.

Very Uplifting!

Her voice is so strong and emotional. Full of inspiration and exceptional, lyrical talent, Mary has once again won me over.

She is just great!

One of her best albums yet. More modern and less traditional Irish Folk but to hear her sing is like listening to angels. A must have.


Born: May 22, 1955 in Ireland

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Mary Black is a performer equally at home singing traditional Irish folk tunes and contemporary music including blues, rock, jazz, country, and soul. She was born into a musical family as the daughter of a fiddler and a singer. She started out professionally with her brother and sister in Dublin nightclubs and then performed with General Humbert, a folk group, until 1982 when she released her eponymous solo debut. The album made it to the Top Five on the Irish album charts and won the Irish Independent...
Full Bio