Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland is famous for many things. Acknowledged to be The Killarney of The North, the beauty of its lakes and countryside is breath-taking. The people are soft spoken, modest and friendly, shy almost which is probably the reason why we've never had many show business stars from the county.
That's all changing now and our newest star, Thomas Maguire, with his new album Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn, prides himself on his Fermanagh roots. He proves it with two songs about his hometown and his native county, respectively. He wrote one of them himself.
That's another thing about Thomas, he writes many of his own songs, one of the best is Where Did We Go Wrong? The variety of songs makes the album interesting and a pleasure to listen to. It begins with one of my all time favourite songs from my all time favourite country writer - Tom T Hall's Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn. Almost thirty years after it was written, it's still a classic "story" song with a marvelous twist at the end to keep you listening.
Thomas also includes new Irish material from the well-known and successful songwriter Henry McMahon as well as the less known but equally talented Eamonn McPhilomey. A brave, but entirely justifiable choice.
With songs which have been hits for stars like Bridie Gallagher (Cuttin' The Corn), Dolly Parton (Let Her Fly) and Hank Williams (Wedding Bells) it's plain that Thomas has a varied programme of top-class material eminently suitable for his live shows. I'm delighted that such a talented young man is getting the opportunity to show his undoubted ability, as well as the range of his talents, on his first album, which is always special for any artist.
May there be many more to come.
Journalist/Broadcaster BBC Radio