A Light To Follow

Emily Maguire

Shaktu Records, 2023


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I get a lot of blind submissions for music to review, mostly because I’ve been doing it so long. Many of them are true independent artists, doing everything up to and including manufacturing, distribution, and mailing.

I find a lot of joy in this. I get to support someone who’s outside the Big Label system, and I get to discover a lot of cool, wonderful music. Emily Maguire is an excellent example of same. She lives on a farm in the Australian Outback with her husband, some goats, and a lot of Australian wildlife, some of which won’t even try to kill you.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And let me tell you, friends, she has a magnificent voice on her latest CD A Light To Follow.

She falls somewhere between Paula Cole and Sarah Brightman. Her songwriting and its clever turns of phrase remind me of Cole, as does the power of her voice and her ability to control it. When she soars upwards on those high notes, though, she packs a punch much like Brightman. It’s a lovely combination. In addition, she wrote all the songs, performed the keyboard, guitar and cello parts, did the string arrangements.

Perhaps more astonishing, she has bipolar disorder, and is open and frank about her struggles with it. Quite often art flows out of adversity, and I am a big fan of being frank and open about mental health matters.

But really, this review needs to be about the songs. And they’re pretty damned good.

There are no misses on Follow. “She’s Gone” seems simple—a song about a woman finally leaving—but the intricate accompaniment and the dynamic range turn it into something very special. “Stay” is a gentle, elegant ballad that reminds me of the best of Nanci Griffith. “How To Conquer” addresses social inequality neatly, and the closing title track is a moving request for a space to live one’s life and be safe. Few albums are perfect. This one comes very, very close.

I cannot recommend A Light To Follow highly enough. Take the time and make the effort to get your hands and ears on this one.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2023 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shaktu Records, and is used for informational purposes only.