As I got out of my car last night in Culdaff I wondered to myself why I didn't just sit at home by the warm fire. The rain was beating down and the wind it was a blowing. As I entered the backroom of McGrory's I forgot about my warm fire and immediately experienced a different kind of warmth. The warm welcome and the warm atmosphere that is the infamous backroom at McGrory's. I'd forgotten how special and magical this place really is.
Mary Coughlan and her keyboard player James Delaney came on stage at 9pm. Coughlan never fails to deliver great banter as well as amazing vocals. And that is exactly what she delivered last night in Culdaff. From the onset to near 11pm she entertained with music, song, craic and stories. She told us how she'd stopped off yesterday in Carndonagh at 'Doherty's newsagent' (my cousin in-laws shop) and bought lotto tickets; how she and James got lost on way to Donegal, and so many other entertaining tales. There was laughter and there was near tears, especially as Mary told us that this performance was on her mother's 10th anniversary. She dedicated a very special song to her mother and indeed all our dead, last night. Coughlan's naked honesty and her unique voice make every moment of her time on stage special.
The audience never faltered in their attention to Coughlan's singing last night. The power of her voice had a spell-bounding effect on everyone. Complete focus was on the music. And it never disappointed. She sang such classics as 'I'd rather go blind', 'Seduced', 'Poison Words' and so many many more.
Last night was a rewarding two hours of special music. Mary Coughlan must surely be one of the greatest female vocalists within our island of Ireland. This hugely talented, straight talking, authentic vocalist could have been in a New York lounge or a London basement venue last night, but she was in McGrory's backroom in Culdaff. And what an honour it was to be a part of such an intimate, special night.