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Clive Pownceby of The Living Tradition

reviews Won't You Come Away by Maggie Boyle

It’s odd to think that this is only Maggie Boyle’s third solo album in almost 25 years, as she’s been making music for most of her life, having been brought up in the energetic and colourful ‘60s London Irish community, where learning songs and music from her father Paddy whose roots were in Donegal, was you’d imagine, a way of life.

This album comes across as a labour of love for not only does Maggie credit her Dad as mentor, she gives due acknowledgment to Oliver Mulligan, another respected singer and a regular at the now demolished ‘Favourite’ in Holloway, originally from Co. Monaghan and singing still! Her collaborations with many and assorted singers and projects over the years have overshadowed her singular talents so it’s good to have this recording running around on its own two feet and a delightful listening experience it proves. Sounding utterly in her element, Boyle is on excellent form throughout, from the opening, lyrical Moorlough Mary to the elegiac Linden Lea which takes us out 12 tracks later.

An affection and respect for both songs and sources infuses the whole proceedings this is purposeful music with lovingly chosen ingredients, not flavourless additives that some might throw into the pot. Spiced by variously, Jon Boden, Paul Downes and Steve Tilston to name but three, the mix is marinated in Doug Bailey’s empathic production.

Though regarded primarily as a singer of traditional material, Maggie can essay a spare, wistful Once In A While written by the consummate Steve Ashley, and by way of contrast Delia Murphy’s timeless Spinning Wheel with an easy grace.

If you seek elegant, reflective yet compelling listening, congratulations you arrived at the appropriate review!