April 5th, 2007--MuzikReviews
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.
April 5, 2007-Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
Phenomenal debut performance from Portland, Oregon based singer/songwriter/guitarist Maggie Sayles. Everything on this record shines–from songwriting, arrangements and vocals, to producing and engineering. Trust features some of Portland’s most accomplished and talented studio and club musicians–Tim Ellis and Doug Rowell [guitars], Albert Reda and Jay Drongé [bass], Richard Rophfus, formerly of Pink Martini fame [drums] and Bobbie Torres [congas].
Maggie’s musical talent has been compared to the likes of Cowboy Junkies, Aimee Mann, Queen, Ani DiFranco, Pat Benetar, Chris Isaak and King Crimson. There now, that’s quite a hefty slice of musical pie. Maggie manages to pull off a cross-genre infused kaleidoscope of sound with a sense of cohesion and synergy and includes some very interesting and unexpected turns along the way. But make no mistake—this record rocks!
Highlights include the bluesy Down On Love that winds down with an absolutely sizzling Southern-fried guitar solo. Only You, and its savory bossa nova-inspired flavor and tasty classical guitar licks is sure to get you tapping your toes. Please, the duet with heavy-metal-turned-country vocal powerhouse Rex McNew, is reminiscent of the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound”. Other notables include the balalaika-spiced I See Red, about the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square and the haunting reggae-esque Rock the Cradle, written about childhood sexual abuse. Above it all soars Maggie’s crystal-clear, pristine vocals.
Trust was engineered by “Mr. Magic Fingers”, Don Thompson, at Studio 84 in Portland, Oregon and was mastered by Nancy Matter [Ray Charles, Peter Gabriel, The Who, Duran Duran] at Moonlight Mastering.
Maggie wrote five of the tunes and teamed-up with friend and former band mate Brent McMorris to pen I See Red, while Kelly Morrison, a very talented songwriter from Vancouver, Washington, contributed Only You, Please and Where.
Absolutely delicious! Trust is definitely worthy of a listen and a place in your CD collection.