There is a lot to be said for simplicity in music, especially in music which is clearly inspired by, if not squarely situated itself, in the folk genre.
That is something artist Stephen Maguire clearly understands.
In an era where a computer keystroke can add instrumentation and twists to a recording track, Maguire has intelligently kept his debut a simple one.
Maguire, who has spent most of his life in Ireland, allows his vocals to be the main focus here. That is a great choice, in part because of the hint of the Irish lilt to the voice, and in part because it's simply a clear, smooth vocal style.
The instrumentation is a man and his guitar, and so a set of songs with often deeply personal lyrics, that works best. It comes across as though Maguire is singing just for the listener. The style creates a nice intimacy between artist and whoever is spinning the disk.
The CD does start off with a brief intro, something a few artists do these days. Sorry that doesn't work for me. I want to hear the music. Get to the meat of the music. I can just see some programmer at a radio station going ewwww and turning to the next disk on the pile.
That would be too bad in this case because Maguire, who notes in the liner notes has been writing songs for years, has come up with some very soulful tunes.
The best of the bunch, all of which were recorded at Freedom Sound in Yorkton, include Sheltered Man, Without A Trace, and Streets of Belfast.
With it's local connection, Maguire married a Yorkton gal in addition to recording the disk in the city, this is one local readers will certainly want. That said musically it also has merit as a nice solid debut effort for a folkie-styled performer.
Check him out at www.stephenmaguirelive.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 10, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada