A Question of Taste with Mary Greene

Mary Greene of Greenshine

Mary Greene is originally from Waterford, but has been resident in Cork for many years and is a member of family trio Greenshine, along with husband Noel Shine and daughter Ellie Shine. The group have released their third album, Family.

Upcoming dates include The Lobby at the Goldie at Nano Nagle Centre, Cork, on July 26; the High Tide Club, Castle-townbere, July 27; Mallow Arts Fest, July 28; and Weir Folk Club, at Wallis’ Bar in Midleton, August 23.

Best recent book you’ve read:

Toss up between Lost Connections by Johann Hari (which explores reasons for depression and anxiety), and Testimony by Robbie Robertson of The Band.

Best recent film you’ve seen:

Attack the Block.

Best recent gig you’ve seen:

We split the bill with Ye Vagabonds at Tracton Arts Fest last year and they were just mighty. Apart from that, Cormac O Caoimh and Martin Leahy are super together, and any Monday night in Charlie’s bar with Hank Wedel and Ray Barron.

Favourite gig you’ve ever played:

Toons Bridge Café, outside Macroom, is a gorgeous place to play and very little compares to a full house there.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):

Rock of Ages, the live album from The Band.

First piece of music that really moved you:

We had an album of Tony Bennett’s, called Who Can I Turn To? when I was a toddler and I couldn’t get enough of it; still can’t.

The best gig you’ve ever seen:

A toss up between Dire Straits at City Hall years ago; Tony Bennett at the Marquee, and Kings of Leon in Dublin.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

We watch anything with music that comes on. We watch a lot of documentaries on TG4. Currently, we’re following The Handmaid’s Tale. I veg out to EastEnders. At the minute, we’re having the craic watching Trailer Park Boys; love those lads so much!

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

I listen to RTÉ Radio 1 music shows a lot. They’re like clubs and there’s a palpable warmth comes off John Creedon and Fiachna Ó Braonáin, who are true music lovers and knowledgeable with it. The Doc on One can be brilliant. Noel was featured one time.

Your best celebrity encounter:

We went to see Guy Clark years ago, in Roscrea, and when we landed, Tom Stapleton, who ran the gig, asked us if we had the guitars in the car and would we open for him. I was waiting to go on and I was standing in the foyer, when suddenly I felt someone come into the room, kid you not.

I turned and there he was — Guy Clark — and he was all in black and he was so tall he seemed to go on forever.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — here and when?

Maybe Woodstock, for obvious reasons — all those legends in one place, Failing that, I would love to have seen The Band in their absolute heyday.

You are curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill (living or dead)?

Tony Bennett, Geoffrey Oryema, JJ Cale (weird festival)

Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?

My dad, Paddy Greene, was a very interesting man. He was a gorgeous singer and we were blessed to have recorded him, along with the whole family, on his CD, Paddy Greene’s Family Album, before he passed away.

He had many jobs in his lifetime, including writing for the New York paper The Irish Advocate and we had a great music venue in Dunmore East, called The Anchor Bar. He worked for the Red Kettle Theatre Company, doing all sorts, from driving to acting.

We met him one evening outside the Everyman Theatre (we didn’t even know he was in town) and he introduced us to his companion for the evening, Carole King, cool as a breeze.

Unsung heroes:

The volunteers and organisers at the Cork Folk Festival. This is an amazing festival that doesn’t get the nationwide notice it deserves.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree?

Art and music in all schools.

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