From its humble birth in southern USA and its early growing pains in the Mississippi Delta, like that meandering river the blues has just kept a rollin’, travelling a long and constantly forking path, constantly being reshaped, redefined by each new generation of musicians drawn to its charms, from those early-days pioneers to today’s superstars. It has seen boom and bust in its popularity, ebbed and flowed in and out of fashion. But it is music of such soul and depth, with such power to take those who embrace it to a special place, that it will always be there.
In the 70s, an inquisitive young boy called Paddy Maguire was continually playing around with the variety of musical instruments laying around the family home, and soon getting a tune out of them. In 2010, guitarist/vocalist Maguire's musical journey of exploration and endeavour has put him among the cream of the latest generation of artists reshaping and re- energising the blues and creating music that, at its best, is as exciting, as soulful and as moving as you’ll find anywhere.
Paddy Maguire was born in Hollyhead, Wales, and grew up in both Cornwall & Ireland , where his family moved to when he was two years old. Growing up in a musical household and exposed to his parents’ eclectic record collection that included the likes of Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder and Dire Straits, he was particularly drawn to the guitar – being taken by his parents to an Rory Gallagher concert left the young Maguire awestruck and in no doubt about which was the instrument for him.
By the time he was 15 he was playing guitar in his first band; he was up and running. He soon became a regular fixture on the Irish club scene, where his fluid soloing and mesmerising overall musicality turned heads an earned him many fans. With an insatiable appetite for jam sessions at the likes of the Busted Sofa Tavern in Clones, Maguire began rapidly distilling his own singular guitar style and tonal palette from a melting pot of influences that included such greats as Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, and in particular Stevie Ray Vaughan, to whom he is, understandably, probably most often compared.
While still a teenager, Maguire was held in such high regard that, after jamming on stage with one of his heroes, guitar player and fellow Irishman Rory Gallagher, he was invited to join his fist band. Maguire was now living the dream. He can still remember the first time he heard Gallagher – and the effect it had: “It was in a supermarket car park. I was 11 and my parents had gone into the store. This song, Million miles away, came on and I was just overwhelmed. I literally punched the radio.”
Looking to further expand his musical horizons, in 1980 he moved to the UK. He joined Decadent west, and was with the band when they had their massive UK No.1 hit song Starlight.
During his stint with Decadent West, in 1994 Maguire released his debut solo album,Chokin the Train, using what he describes as Decadents’s “shit-hot” band. Recorded live in the studio in just a couple of days, it’s full of raw, high-energy, low-maintenance retro-blues delivered with startling punch and real style, and showcases Maguire as a soulful, powerfully expressive vocalist as well as a supremely talented guitarist and all-round musician. The album also includes a crunching version of the John Lee Hookers classic Boom Boom, the song often a resonant inclusion in Maguire’s thrilling live shows.
And live is where Maguire, his jam-club years in his pocket, shines brightest, he and his band performing with a potent mixture of power and finesse, the guitarist regularly pulling the trigger and unleashing visceral, mesmerising solos. And while they’re checking out the hot licks, it’s clear that many of the girls in the audience are equally taken by the good-looking guy with the spikey hair and charisma to spare. If you’ve got it…