Gabriel Wilson - The McGuire Side

Published Monday 24th September 2012
Gabriel Wilson - The McGuire Side
Gabriel Wilson - The McGuire Side

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 130750-19559
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Down the years there have been hundreds of examples of rock 'n' rollers momentarily returning to the roots of American rural music with loving recreations of the blues and country sounds of yesteryear. But I can think of very few that pack the emotional and spiritual power of this impeccable project conceived by the one time frontman of the Rock & Roll Worship Circus, those fondly remembered pioneers of alternative rock worship. As a young adult, Gabriel discovered that his biological father had roots in gospel music, with his grandfather being a traveling minister, singer and songwriter and Wilson's uncle being the renowned Donny Maguire, who with wife Reba Rambo was an award-winning Southern gospel star. Two years later at the funeral of his biological grandfather, Wilson heard his grandfather's life story. He commented, "Even though I had never known the Maguire side of my family, I have been giving my entire life to the same things all of the Maguires had: ministry and music. It all started making sense. For the first time in my life I was proud of being born a Maguire." On this stunning album Gabriel has taken his feelings of missed opportunities and abandonment, of hope and carrying on a proud family tradition and woven a musical story which takes in country, blues and an analogue vibe which through old tube amps, vintage organs and raw vocals produces a soundscape of unique poignancy and depth. There are several gems here. "Rocking Chair" is a melancholy number about a mother explaining to her son that the leaving of his father may be difficult but they'll get through because "our God is strong and he'll never leave you" while the title track is as moving a piece of Americana as you're likely to hear. An exceptional album which deserves the attention of a large audience.

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