After a long flight from Dublin, an interesting (to say the least) Greyhound bus trip from Seattle, musician Mark Geary joined Michele Van Kleef in the Portland Radio Project studio for a Drop-In Session to sing a few songs and tell a few tales.
He hails from Ireland, but at one point in 1992, took the plunge and emigrated to New York City, after being called up for a lottery-won green card. He ended up living there for 15 years, busking the streets, playing local clubs and coffee shops. His brother, actor Karl Geary, was there too, and worked waiting tables at the East Village Sin-E club, where Mark saw and played the same stage as Jeff Buckley, Sinéad O’Connor and more. He was quite humbled and kept playing, signing to a record label that folded before he could get his first record out. In 2002, however, he signed with SonaBLAST! Records and released that debut album, 331/3 Grand Street. In 2004, Mark released his 2nd record, Ghosts, which in 2005 was voted Album of the Year by the Irish Voice, featuring guest artists Glen Hansard and Josh Ritter. He has supported these artists and has played with and opened for The Frames, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders on various tours throughout Europe and beyond. In 2008, Opium was released. This was the record that was given to me by a friend and had me hooked. He plays one of my favorite songs from this record, Cold Little Fire, in our interview. Listen here:
Mark Geary is a sweet soul, taken with the lifestyle of the touring musician, a type of gypsy in this world that enjoys the travel and of course making music enough to keep doing it. Geary writes songs with a tender melody and he enjoys sharing his experiences and stories through both his songs as well as between the music. He came to the Northwest to play a handful of house concerts in Seattle and Portland. He especially loves the sense of community and intimate audience experience in the form of these living room concerts.