NEW RELEASE! - The Usher Family
Rossendale Records: muscd010
Louth Mouths from Drogheda
Rossendale Records: muscd009
Michael Davitt, The Forgotten Hero? (CD)
Rossendale Records: muscd007
The Star of Sunday's Well
Rossendale Records: muscd001
Gilded Chains and Sordid Affluence (CD)
Rossendale Records: muscd003
The Clergy's Lamentation (CD re-release)
Rossendale Records: muscd002
(re-released with 3 additional tracks)
The Star of Sunday's Well
Rossendale Records: mus001
The Clergy's Lamentation
Rossendale Records: mus002
Rossendale Records: mus003
Expression Spontanee: ES54
Dahma Records: 8001
Maguire recorded Mary Ann Carolan (nee Usher), her brother Pat and cousin, Petie Curran in summer 1974...
Dónal has collaborated with fellow Drogheda townies Seán Corcoran and Gerry Cullen in the production of this album of songs collected from singers throughout the county of Louth.
The CD was launched by Nicholas Carolan, Director of the Traditional Music Archive, at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay in July '12.
There will be a launch during the Folk Week in Sidmouth in early August where the three lads (!) will be singing.
They plan a hometown launch in early October and a similar launch in Dublin to follow.
"Maguire's voice could melt the ice-bound stream of Time."
“Even without the Davitt connection the album would stand alone as a masterpiece.
The songs are beautifully sung; some unaccompanied and others sensitively accompanied by
Dónal himself on guitar, tenor banjo and mandolin, plus some haunting uilleann pipes
from John Murphy.........Of the songs I didn't know, I couldn't find one that I haven't enjoyed
listening to again and again.. .......... all the songs are sprinlked with the Maguire magic
and that makes them uniquely his. The finished product I find an absolute gem...."
North -West Fed. Folk Club Magazine
"If there is a new voice for the new millennium in the Irish ballads circle, that particular crown of laurels might just be heading across the channel to Dónal Maguire. Exiled in the UK for the past three decades, Dónal hasn't lost touch with the folk song traditions of the North East. His previous album The Clergy's Lamentation was more than favourably reviewed in these pages, this new album, although four tracks lighter, is an incredibly well produced and very musical album.
"The first track, the Percy French Song Little Bridget Flynn, lays down a marker, how many times in the '50's and '60's did we hear French songs done in a jaunty Paddy-whackery sort off way? Maguire takes the song and cuts it to the heart, essentially a tale of a troubled lonely rural bachelor, his unattainable fair Colleen and the misery of a life shackled by parental incumbents. The song opens with a shot from a lonesome soprano sax, just a few brief bars (played by Iain Dixon), after that you are truly hooked.
"Other songs include Johnny Doyle (a tale of ordinary Dublin seafaring folk),
An Druimfhoinn Donn Dolis and O'Reilly from the Count Leitrim. There are a
number of more contemporary songs, Let Me Go an unusual twist as it is taken from the
perspective of a deceased lover, The Lily from John pole and My Own Sunrise
by Brad Roberts. There are two sets of dance tunes with Maguire featuring on the tenor banjo
and mandolin and finally the album closes with The Wheels of the World, a history
lesson in miniature on the economics at the end of the Napoleonic wars. In short this is a singer's
album and one that has already had more than its share of space on the Laffey hi-fi system."
Irish Music Scene
"It's not long since the enhanced reissue of Dónal's 1980 album The Clergy's Lamentation, yet here he comes again with an album full of brand new performances, which in some respects is quite different. For instance, the first track, Little Bridget Flynn, opens with a languid soprano sax figure (courtesy of Iain Dixon) and continues in a deftly embellished and distinctly jazzy vein with some fine guitar accompaniment (Mike Walker) with blocked chords that give it an attractive harp-like quality.
"Dónal sensibly varies the instrumental textures over the course of the album, which presents a healthy mixture of material both genuinely traditional and composed-in-the-manner, with a couple of surprising choices (like the ultra-poignant My Own Sunrise, written by Crash Test Dummies' Brad Roberts and sung by Dónal with an attractive fragility that's enhanced by the clarinet counterpoint, and Tennessee songwriter Carol Elizabeth Jones' touching Let Me Go which benefits from a nicely controlled filigree guitar backing).
"Dónal's fine, unhurried singing style imparts the material with considerable
character - I particularly like his wry way with James Montgomery's tale of Johnny Doyle
(a kind of parody of the broken-token genre of song), and John Pole's memorably thought-provoking,
reflective The Lily (one of two songs suitably accompanied by John Murphy on uilleann
pipes). Finally, just to balance things out, there's also a couple of tune-sets (though the playing
on the first of these sounds a mite tentative perhaps). This satisfying release may not get wide
distribution, but is well worth taking the trouble to seek it out."
"...his soft Irish voice and well-measured style makes listening easy, his choice and interpretation of the material makes listening worthwhile.
"...at last, a real singer. A singer whose voice has dimension enough to equal his eclectic choice of material.
"In theatrical circles it is often remarked, "there are no small parts, only small actors".
Perhaps Dónal Maguire is the proof that there are no small songs, only small singers. All
Dónal's songs are as large as life."
"Elusive sensuality and the dogged pursuit of the unattainable, ebb and flow in equal measure...
"...it soars on a path that is as unpredictable as it is positively Phineas Foggian in scope.
And so Crash Test Dummies' Brad Roberts is as credible a contributing songwriter as Percy French or
Derry poet John Walsh. What sets this collection apart, though, is not it's brazen-headed boldness nor
Maguire's uncompromising vocals, but the sheer ebullience of the settings which still the listener into
submission from their opening notes."
"Like the majority of singers of traditional songs Maguire has spent most of his life outside the public eye. Obscurity has nothing to do with the quality of singing and musicianship. The Clergy's Lamentation and now it's successor Gilded Chains and Sordid Affluence give notice that a singer of unmistakeable stature is amongst us.
"Maguire's music echoes with ancient grandeur. Maguire is particularly drawn to songs that suggest continuity with generations past. He can endow The Wheels of the World, a protest song from two centuries ago, with passion and relevance. His albums are full of wonderful discoveries which suggests that the tradition is not so hidebound that a new-minted gem by Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies can't be incorporated.
"An open-ended attitude is reflected in the musical settings. Gilded Chains gets
it's character from a happy accident: Maguire's new neighbour is the blinding jazz guitarist Mike
Walker. The two instantly hit it off. The album is not full-blown jazz-folk, but some jazz textures
(from Walker and saxophonist Iain Dixon) are used in a sparing but effective way. Then Maguire
will console the purists with an enticing unaccompanied story-song, a form at which he excels."
"Drogheda-born and now U.K. based, Dónal Maguire re-releases his second album with minimum
pomp and ceremony but with much panache. A collection of traditional Irish and English folk songs, first
released in 1980, paired with Maguire's considerable mandolin and banjo playing,
The Clergy's Lamentation is a reminder of just how fertile our stock of songs is. Ample erudite
sleeve notes colour and shade and are particularly useful for novice listeners. Moreton Bay,
a tale of 'transports' banished to Van Dieman's Land showcases his poignant, bare-boned vocals. So too
The Generous Lover, delivered acapella without a hint of a need for orchestration. A fine
Siobhán Long, Irish Times, Feb. 2001
"Dónal Maguire is an exceptionally fine singer. His soft Irish accent has a lightness that allows the words to sail with the tune, control enough to hold or add decoration and a strong sense of the slow-ish pace and timing that many songs (certainly those recorded here) require.
"In these times when there are so many recordings of 'good singers' that can only trace the roots
of their songs back to the last CD they have borrowed, it really is a joy to hear someone of substance
and maturity. If you're thinking this is born from,
feelings of nostalgia then educate yourself and have a listen to this CD, or better still, go and see
the man himself."
"At any level of description, this is a very fine example of traditional singing.....he's one
of the originals and should be in your personal archive."
Irish Music Magazine
"This is a re-release on CD of Dónal's second album, originally released in 1980, on which he performs a collections of songs (and a handful of instrumental pieces ) in a finely judged and naturally flowing, unforced manner that nowadays one might term restrained but which I find has more overt vitality and sense of style than many of the breakneck instrumental renditions or populist crossover vocal offerings so beloved of the Mike Harding show.
"The vocal tracks offer ample proof of Dónal's pedigree as a very fine singer indeed, plainly expressive and distinctive, well controlled, yet with an unerring sense of pacing, coupled with a lightness of attack that captivates the listener by enabling the right and proper flow of the music and words.
"Don't miss out on this excellent album this time round!"
"Dónal has a great voice and is a fine interpreter of traditional song and if evidence of this were needed listen to the unaccompanied Shamrock Shore.
"This is a fine album which still sounds fresh and relevant and one for Irish enthusiasts to
add to their collection."
Traditional Music Maker
In January 2004 Dónal re-released the celebrated album "The Star of Sunday's Well" on CD. Eminent RTE producer Harry Bradshaw remastered this classic from 1979.
"...an album that ought instantly to launch him to the very forefront of the British folk
scene. The opening track Heenan and Sayers has him sounding rich and fluent like Paul Brady,
yet on The Widow of Westmorland's Daughter he is more in the Gaughan mould. Yet, he is
entirely his own man. This is one of the outstanding albums of the year!"
Colin Irwin, Melody Maker
"Dónal Maguire is a singer of great excellence, few can come near the standard he sets.
He sings with subtlety, emotion, respect and deep understanding of his songs: his accompaniments are
direct and in total sympathy with what he is singing about. His ability as a musician is outstanding:
his tenor banjo style is flowing yet crisp, and he has the ability to make a tune sound fresh and
interesting, no matter how well-known it may be. I have absolute respect for the man, as have all who
have heard him."
"Dónal is a fine singer and his mandolin playing and tenor banjo pyrotechnics are the
envy of many, myself included. But that still doesn't explain very much. I think perhaps it's the
combination of style, technique, choice of material and a sincere and unassuming delivery, that makes
Dónal such a fine singer and musician."
"Dónal Maguire's The Star of Sunday's Well was one of the few great albums of last year, taking everybody by surprise and quickly arriving among the better sellers without ceremony or preceding reputation.
"The band is undoubtedly a good one: Maguire (vocals, mandolin, tenor banjo), Kevin Flanagan (guitar), Liam Webster (accordion), Ado Morris (whistle, bodhran), Pete Yates (hurdy-gurdy, flute, fiddle), John Murphy (uilleann pipes), and some beautifully sedate harp from Wendy Stewart, who even gets one track to herself (The Clergy's Lamentation).
"Maguire is still a mighty performer, his singing containing the passion of Dick Gaughan and
the relaxation of Dave Burland. The unaccompanied tracks give him full range and he also turns in a
brilliant performance on The Pride of Glencoe with the band in blissful tow. But it is an
instrumental, Mazurka du Morvan, driven along by Pete Yate's hurdy-gurdy, which really takes
Colin Irwin, Melody Maker
You can order copies of any of Dónal's albums by printing out and completing the order form and posting it with a cheque for the relevant amount to:
332 Blackburn Rd.