Strong debut album from Mullingar's Shayne Thomas Byrne. Magnolia consists of seven varied tracks of the highest quality in the folk/rock genre.
The album kicks off with a short piano track leading into the title track. I admit the album doesn't begin well as the lyrics describe dancing with Nancy Spain and drinking Whiskey in the rain! I'm thinking .... oh-no is this a poor Mundy/Damien Dempsey tribute! Thankfully that thought disappears before the end of the track as the song develops into an enriching story of love and loss with a great chorus and fantastic backing vocals.
The next three tacks are sublime. The Long Road Ahead, Walk Away and in particular Always are songs of great depth and they feature the wonderful vocals of Kathleen Mahon. Her contribution on the track 'Always' invokes comparisons to Natalie Merchant.
Always by shaynebyrnemusic
It must be said that Shayne's vocals are limited but pleasing on the ear. His lyrics are well tuned and the musicianship is excellent throughout. For me the best track on Magnolia is the moody 'Telescopic Conversations' which just rolls on nicely with some wonderful guitar rifts from around the three minute mark.
Telescopic Conversations by shaynebyrnemusic
'Magnolia' is a gutsy debut which has it's special moments [Always and Telescopic Conversations] and it's dodgy moments. The songs are well written but the main vocal style lets the lyrics down on some tracks. There's a lot of promise shown here but I'd have loved an extra couple of tracks on the album. As it stands 'Magnolia' feels more of a mini-album or long EP. In general 'Magnolia' is an album you should check out!
Shayne Thomas Byrne - Magnolia [8 out of 12]