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Emily Maguire Emily Maguire
Album: A Bit Of Blue
Label: Shaktu
Tracks: 10

Following an unexpected hiatus for health reasons, after her acclaimed Release, Bird Inside A Cage, renowned UK singer songwriter Emily Maguire makes a long awaited return with her new CD, A Bit of Blue.

Recorded partly in Ross on Wye, England and partly in Queensland, Australia, it could have become discombobulated, yet it all comes together as one. Produced by Nigel Butler, known for his work with KD Lang and Robbie Williams, this is a CD that has to be listened to, heard, reflected on and appreciated. If not, the beauty of the lyrics, Emily's vocals and the perfect instrumentation, will be lost.

That, I feel, is Emily's gift. She offers songs which enable the listener to think, to wonder, to imagine and to feel. Overall, it is a more gentle, pensive album and an opportunity to see a different side of her, as a person and a musician.

She takes on Sandy Denny's legendary Who Knows Where The Time Goes, delivering it in such a way that the words cut through in a way they haven't, for me, previously. It is a question, a ponderance, a regret, a wish; all tied up inside one song.

The title track references searching for light in darkness; a reference to mental health, it seems eerily appropriate to us all, looking at the world at present. The opener, Memory, laments lost love, with the aid of piano and cello accompaniment; a trend continued in It's Alright, about a break up. underlined by a moody piano. The Words That I Could Say tackles a hard subject matter. Real, honest and raw, its female protagonist voices excuses after excuses for not choosing to leave an emotionally abusive relationship. Doe we, as the listener, judge, or empathise? miscarriage is Banks Of The Acheron, with a lone piano, tells the tragic tale of a miscarriage and Stones And Sky verges on being a ghost story. Intriguing and well told, the story draws you in from the opening line.

Interestingly, Emily chooses to revisit her song I'd Rather Be'. At the time of its first release, her listeners were unaware of her experiences with bipolar. Knowing now her story, her work to eradicate the stigma around mental health, this song is a timely insight into her, those around us and even ourselves. Even without mental health issues, we all struggle at times with being who we are and this song reminds us that we shouldn't; we should be proud of being who we are, talents, flaws, quirks and all.

My simple conclusion is that this CD needs to be heard. Emily also has some live performance dates coming up around the country. not to be missed. Look for a venue near you. I'll be At The Cluny, Newcastle.

Helen Mitchell