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Barry Goodman of Shire Folk

reviews Maid on the Shore by Niamh Boadle

Niamh Boadle has an astonishing voice strong yet lilting, unaffected and clear as a bell. She's also a multi instrumentalist, responsible for all the guitar, fiddle, bodhran, whistles and mandolin contributions to this remarkable album, although Paul Sartin makes guest appearances on three tracks, playing oboe and piano.
Niamh's roots are in Lancashire and Ireland, and this CD contains fine examples from both the English and Irish tradition, as well as contemporary songs, three of which are written by her. She is able to move between musical styles with ease the jazzy, selfpenned 'Bill's Missed the Last Boat Back'really swings, while her unaccompanied rendition of 'Boys of Mullaghbawn' is as traditional a sound as you could want to hear, with just enough decoration to engage the listener without detracting from the tune.

The opening track, 'Forget me not; demonstrates Niamh's formidable songwriting talent in a tragic tale taken from a true story of ill starred love. Anthony John Clarke's 'The Only Life Gloria Knows' is given a beautifully sensitive treatment with just guitar and piano weaving an intricate pattern around the vocal line; Kate Fagan's 'Roll you Sweet Rain' builds through a complex arrangement of multi tracked voices, guitar and oboe, and the one instrumental track, 'Ice on the Water' by George Reynolds, features multitracked fiddles to add depth and vitality to a truly haunting melody.

Superbly engineered by Doug Bailey at Wild Goose Records and with brief, but informative sleeve notes, this fine album by previous New Roots finalist Niamh Boadle could not come more highly recommended she has poise, confidence and a great talent which deserves to be heard.