The beautiful Irish city of Cork has had a major influence on my life over the last two weeks. Firstly a genealogist contacted me two weeks ago about my Cork City born but now sadly departed Mother. Since then I have found out that I have dozens of cousins both in Ireland and England. Secondly I have received an album to review from the delightfully talented Cork born singer Nicole Maguire. Both events have given me immense satisfaction and pleasure and driven the city even further into my consciousness.
"Wishing Well" is Nicole's second album following on from the success of her debut "What you really mean." The title song may already be known to some as it was featured in Robert Duvals' film "Wild Horses."
Over the last couple of years, Nicole has led a fascinating musical journey both physically and metaphorically. Raising enough money to go to Nashville, she spent time there writing songs and touring. During this period she has also shared the stage with Vince Gill, Don Mclean, Donovan and the one and only Paul Brady. It is my belief that you can tell the quality of an artist by the names of those other artists who appear on stage or record with them. Arguably Ireland's foremost singer songwriter, the magnificent Paul Brady is one such star and Nicole has recently toured with him again. He also appears on "Wishing Well" as a backing singer. No greater acknowledgement or praise can be afforded to Nicole!
The album is categorised by iTunes as pop. This is a very trite description but I suppose it saves them writing too many letters. I associate pop with Britney Spears and this production from Nicole could not be any further divorced from Britney's style of music. It is a mix of light country with a touch of modern style folk. Beautifully produced and a joy to listen to. A true Pot Pourri of sounds. Quality music with excellent and heartfelt lyrics all backed up by Nicole's clear voice and some superb supporting musicians.
The opening track "That's When You Know" sets the scene for what is to follow and I knew from the opening bars that I would enjoy the album. My favourite track on the album is the slightly upbeat "The Good Kind" co-written by Nicole and Richard Harris and including the latter as a backing singer. Nicole's time in Nashville is evident in this track.
The title track contains a little bit of wise drinking advice for lovers. "Whisky was such a mistake." How many people have echoed that sentiment?
I always have a little smile at this time of year as the music luvvies join up in a wave of self-congratulation at the British Music Awards, supposedly representing the best of music. I have to tell them that what they do represent is those artists that have been promoted well and made a lot of money. For every artist glorified at the Brits, there are dozens of highly talented musicians out there trying to make a living out of this cut throat industry but still succeeding in making some wonderful music. Nicole Maguire is one of those artists and most certainly a name to look out for in the future.
This album is released in April to coincide with a tour which unfortunately only includes venues within the green shores of Ireland. Still, hopefully the rest of Europe will benefit from seeing her and listening to her brand of music in the near future. I honestly hope so.
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