Review Date May 31, 2012

Review By John Roffey

Location The Centre Stage, Bournemouth

For the last gig at the Centre Stage before the summer recess, entered the delicate looking Emily Maguire with Australian husband, Christian Dunham (bass) and a string quartet featuring highly talented cellist, Beth Porter who was taking time out from playing in Eliza Carthy’s band. With her music now regularly played on BBC Radio 2, Emily has come to be noticed by a much wider audience, although she still gets a kick from performing at the Square and Compass, in the beautiful Dorset village of Worth Matravers high in the Purbeck Hills. An eventful career saw her move to the southern hemisphere where she managed to finance her music by making and selling goat’s cheese from her farm in Australia. Her battle with Bipolar Disorder is well documented but during this difficult period and whilst receiving treatment in London, some of her best songs were spawned. A prolific performer and songwriter, Emily already has three critically acclaimed albums under her belt and is now taking a break from touring to concentrate on the next. It was no surprise then, that she included a number of songs from the forthcoming album in a very strong twenty-song set. Whilst many of her songs tended to follow a similar pattern-a mellow introduction before she belied her diminutive stature by belting out powerful and always thought provoking lyrics-this took nothing away from a faultless performance which had the near full house spellbound. Highlights of a terrific first set were “Keep Walking” and “The Real World” (a commentary on modern society), the beautiful “Wanting Time,” in which Emily switched from acoustic guitar to piano, and “Bird Inside A Cage,” which was inspired by Times journalist, Melanie Reid who was badly injured in a horse riding accident. It was more of the same for the second set, with her new songs “Not The Only One” and “Stardust” as well as “Golden And Gorgeous,” (a tale of commuting by train), and “I’d Rather Be” from her current album, BELIEVER. Closing with another new song, “This Love Affair,” Emily returned to encore with “Start Over Again,” which recounted “her whole life in three and a half minutes.’ Emily possesses a wonderful stage presence and keeps chatter to a minimum, preferring to delight her audience with as much top quality music as possible. With her string quartet performing admirably, and Beth Porter chipping in with some great backing vocals, it proved to be a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

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