Allan Wilkinson of Northern Sky
reviews Maid on the Shore by Niamh BoadleNiamh Boadle's second album release is a showcase for the various areas this young musician covers; her fine interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs for instance, or her command over her own songwriting skills, not to mention her credentials as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, particularly a flair for the open-tunings on her trusty Fylde. The only area not covered here is her nifty Irish step dancing, but that can be witnessed elsewhere. Born and raised in St. Annes, Lancashire, Niamh has grown as a musician over the last five years, since her debut WILD ROSE in 2010. This could be attributed to her studies up in Newcastle, the breeding ground for many a future folk star these days. With Niamh though, a lot of that knowledge and experience was already there in her Irish blood on her dad's side, especially her singing style, which is at once imbued with that distinct Irish authenticity.
As a song writer, Niamh takes one or two artistic liberties, such as on the opening song Forget-Me-Not, which is devoid of rhyme, a largely accepted songwriting device, which might have been awkward but manages to succeed due to its engaging storyline.
The story telling continues with a fine reading of Anthony John Clarke's The Only Life Gloria Knows, which not only clearly demonstrates the sweetness of Niamh's voice but also showcases her informed guitar playing as well. Sometimes the guitar is put down for one or two unaccompanied songs such as the traditional Dark Inishowen from Donegal and Thomas Davis' The Flower of Finae, both of which require little more than her voice, with just her own bodhran accompaniment on Creggan White Hare.
Niamh also demonstrates her handling of the fiddle with Ice on the Water, a tune she learned whilst playing with the local Palatine Fiddlers. Helping out on the album is Bellowhead's Paul Sartin on piano who also adds some of his trademark oboe on Kate Fagan's Roll You Sweet Rain, one of the album's little gems.