I still find it wonderful that one of the unexpected side benefits of the release of my books is being brought back into contact with Maryen Cairns, who I first reviewed some 30 years ago! Over the last few years, I have been getting up to speed with Maryen’s releases since then and falling in love with her music and vocals all over again. When I first came across her, she was a Scottish-born Australian living in London, then she returned to Queensland, and a few years ago she relocated yet again, this time to Guernsey where she has been rediscovering her love of music. All these songs were recorded in her home studio with piano and/or acoustic guitar before she sent them to producer Chris Kimsey and musicians across the world to add their own elements to the music without ever overpowering her wonderful vocals which are both frail and powerful at the same time, inviting the listener deep inside her world.
This contains various singles which have been release over the last year or so, including both “Spirit” and “The Haunted Lane”. For the former, in my review I said, “The only way to listen to this is to concentrate deeply when it is on headphones as it is the only way to really savour the inner strength and beauty of this remarkable song” and that is indeed true for the whole album. There is something quite magical about this release which creates a spell for those fortunate enough to hear it. The island life has obviously inspired her, as there is a naïve simplicity about this which is quite different to her more recent Australian releases and allows her to find real beauty in her words and phrasing.
I have loved Maryen for 30 years, and her new album reminds me just why that is, as she sings like no other and creates a world of her own which we all need to investigate.