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Fond memories Mary Duff would 'love to' join Garth Brooks on bill after touring with him three decades ago

Recalling her memories of touring with the crooner three decades ago, Mary said the gigs will give the Irish country music industry a lift following the challenges of Covid

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Mary Duff and Garth Brooks in 1991

Mary Duff and Garth Brooks in 1991

Mary Duff and Garth Brooks in 1991

An Irish country singer who toured with Garth Brooks has told how she’d love to take to the stage with him when he returns to Ireland.

Mary Duff said she’d “absolutely love to” be on the bill when the US singer plays in Croke Park.

Recalling her memories of touring with the crooner three decades ago, Mary said the gigs will give the Irish country music industry a lift following the challenges of Covid.

“It’s unreal how big a star he has become since and naturally I’d love to team up with him again. With everything the entertainment business and the whole country has gone through in the past year this could be the tonic that will lift the spirit of the nation.”

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Mary Duff

Mary Duff

Mary Duff

 

There has been no official word on Brooks’ plans to come to Ireland. However, he’s expected to announce a string of concerts at Croke Park next year, seven years after the “five in a row” fiasco which saw him cancel all his gigs when he was told only three could go ahead.

Mary, who is a favourite with country fans here and is also celebrated for touring with Daniel O’Donnell and releasing duets with the Donegal crooner, first met Garth in 1991, when her management secured her a touring slot in the UK with the then-breakthrough star.

Brooks, who is now a grandfather of two, had just scored hits with ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ and ‘The Dance’.

“It’s hard to believe it’s 30 years ago I was on the road with Garth,” Mary tells us. “We played in Thurso in Scotland and then travelled all the way down to London all through the night, where we played in the Cambridge theatre.

“We were excited to be playing with such a big American act. He was just really normal to us. Sandy (his ex wife) was with him at the time and she’d be in the dressing room picking out shirts for him.

“I remember knocking on his door one time and remember saying to him ‘Mr Brooks, would you mind if I use one of your sockets for a hairdryer to dry my hair?’. He said ‘no problem mam, you go right ahead mam’. He had the same southern charm as Elvis.

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During that tour Brooks played live for the first time what would be his biggest hit, ‘Friends in Low Places’.

“He was only starting to get known here, but he didn’t become huge until he released that in 1991,” she points out. “It made him a huge star and then he played a series of shows at the Point in Dublin in 1994.”

Mary, who hails from Lobinstown Co Meath, chuckles at the memory of going to one of those gigs as a fan.

“A whole group of us went to one of his shows at the Point and I was too shy to ask to go backstage as I thought he wouldn’t remember me and didn’t want to pester him,” she smiles. “My manager managed to get back to meet him and the first thing Garth said to him, ‘Where’s Mary?’ I couldn’t believe it.”

Mary has not got to meet him since in those 30 years but she has managed to release a couple of songs Garth and Kent Maxson wrote for her, including ‘Looking forward to the past’.

“I got some feedback that he was really pleased with them,” she adds. “Garth is so professional and puts everything into his shows, as if it’s his last breath.”

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