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EMILY MAGUIRE Believer (2009)

Emily Maguire

Fate. Sometimes you make your own.

Classically trained on piano, cello, recorder and flute, as a teenager Emily looked en route to be a professional cellist. Then fate stepped in, in the shape of Bob Marley.

Given a guitar for her 21st birthday, Emily set about learning to play from Marley's Legend songbook. And when she backpacked to Australia for a 3 week trip, she had no idea of the journey on which she was embarking.

That trip was extended on a semi permanent basis as a result of producer Christian Dunham persuading her to stay on and make a record. Her debut album Stranger Place - recorded in the depths of Queensland - was released in 2004 to [local] critical acclaim.

That album led to an invite to the Borderline singer songwriter festival in London, but Emily retreated to her new Aus base turning her hand to organic goat's cheese production to finance her 2nd album Keep Walking (2006).

When she returned to play the Cambridge folk festival in 2007, there was an unexpected trick in the tail. A fan sent a copy of her album to the BBC, and Radio 2 airlplay was picked up by the Waterboys manager who signed her up to support a 16 date tour by Don Mclean.

And since that 'lucky break' Emily's supported luminaries such as Paul Brady, Eric Bibb and The Blue Nile, as well as touring with Glen Tilbrook and Roddy Frame.

And now, the latest chapter in Emily's fateful career - her third album Believer. Firmly at the commercial end of the folk singer songwriter spectrum, it's an album that will surely find favour with Bob Harris listeners. If a comparison had to be made, the less commercial end of Thea Gilmore's catalogue would be as good a reference point as any.

Easy on the ear, built on a subtle soft folk rock base and Emily's rich emotive vocals, Believer is a grower that benefits from repeated plays. While it never quite rocks out, I'd Rather Be has a Tom Petty I Won't Back Down vibe, and as whole the album would sit neatly next to the excellent Katy Lied Echo Games album.

Believer will surely move Emily onto the next base. From there, only fate knows, but the future looks bright.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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