Eventually the other members embarked on different pursuits and Shay joined “The Texans”, a showband which leaned towards Country and Irish. He did stints with “Liffey Beats”, and “Country Rock” but “pure Folk” was always beckoning.
Since founding “Celtic Mist” in 1991, he has surrounded himself with the finest musicians, married the lead vocalist, Margaret, played to packed houses in Ireland and taken the group on tour all over the world. “Hard Times Come Again No More” is their fourth and most eclectic CD since the new millennium.
It features, as well as the title track, old favourites such as “Danny Boy” and “The Maid Of Fife”. There is the patriotic ballad “The Galtee Mountain Boy” and “Shannonside ” written by Finbar Furey. Pete St. John’s “Ferryman” is also there. “Ireland My Ireland” was written by Irish-Canadian singer/songwriter Bob Shortt and a special arrangement of it is sung here by the author and Margaret Eustace. There are three tracks of reels, jigs and hornpipes and that saddest of Scottish songs, “Glencoe”.
Shay is also a writer and broadcaster. His music reviews have appeared in several prestigious music magazines and “Shay’s Ballad Hour” has been running on successive radio stations for more than thirty years. He first broadcast with “Treble TR” in the seventies and later with “Radio Dublin”. His familiar sig tune, “The Foxhunter’s Reel” (by the Chieftens) can now be heard on Tallagh FM. (Jockeys have their “lucky silks ” and many actors won’t go on stage without certain possessions but Shay refuses to “appear” on radio without a tie)
Last year, at the Irish and Country wards Shay was presented with an award in recognition of his contribution to the Irish Music scene
Juxtaposed with all that was three decades as a successful retail butcher in Dublin’s Meath Street. He has sold the business in Dublin and now the (ex) butcher boy from Manor Kilbride is finally a full time musician. It’s hard to know whether he’s talking about spouse Margaret or quoting Stephen Foster when he says, “My wife is a most known woman”.
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