Catalogue Number: Uncommon Sense Records
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007
Maggie Sayles has a beautiful voice. That was my first thought when I heard some samples of her new CD Trust. Initially I thought that she had the perfect voice for pop or jazz, and she does, however she manages to wrap that silky voice around rocking guitars and comes out sounding something similar to female fronted prog-rock bands like Mostly Autumn, which by no coincidence is one of my favorite bands.
Sayles splits the songwriting duties with Kelly Morrison, who also contributes guitar and bass parts. They form a good team and so does combining her talents with Rex McNew, who serves as her vocal partner on several occasions for both lead and background. She finds Trust in the process of the music and thereby creates an entirely separate universe from the rest of the world in the studio through her words, feelings, and vocals that make you melt in the palm of her hand. I am sure this entire process had to happen on different levels for the artists involved because of the vast breadth of talents from the several contributors.
The trust factor is one that is earned over time and something that developed and was then translated through several listens for me. You get the feeling you may have something special in your hand when the desire to listen repeatedly becomes overwhelming. For these ears that is a healthy barometer of how I really feel about an album. The end game being, I loved the recording and would highly recommend it.
I really appreciate the way the album opened up with "Down On Love", a track that starts as a pitter patter of rain drops outside your window into a gradual hard driving rain of electric guitar licks that leaves you hanging in anticipation for the next track. As it turns out the following track "Only You", is decidedly more energetic and powerful musically. "Please" is my first pick for a single because of its hooks and give and take female to male vocals (once again similar to Mostly Autumn) between Maggie and Rex, her steadfast partner straight on through this ambitious effort.
I heard a focused and definite balance of instrumentation throughout this effort as the music ebbed and flowed according to Maggie's emotive and refined vocals. The foundation of all of this is rock, and then everything falls in line after that, such as art or prog rock. I suppose it depends on your preferred listening and interpretation. There were also some very noticeable rudiments of jazz fused here and there (note the Latin acoustic picking on "Loves Disdain"). On the closing track "Rock The Cradle", the guitar style is a smart reggae rhythm interwoven with subtle leads that keep it all honest. The song structures are not simplistic by any means, sometimes the changes are rapid and complex and other times it comes at you with a slower more predictable pace. When I think about all of these different angles and approaches it does makes sense, but only after soaking it all up keenly more than once, that is a prerequisite for this type of music.
I promise you that one listen of this CD will not suffice and every time you give it a spin your enjoyment level will increase. The musicianship is duly noted and the all around talents of Maggie Sayles is most impressive on Trust.
June 21, 2007
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