| Wednesday 02 August 2017 @ 09:00pm : - |
Northern Ireland's Maurice Dickson has been writing and performing his songs for almost 30 years. There is something deeply satisfying about listening to a musician who is obviously the master of his craft. It is even more satisfying to listen to one, like Maurice Dickson, who is not only a consummate musician but whose music is firmly rooted in something deeply personal. The ruggedly beautiful folk is as much a part of him as an arm or a leg, and just as vital. At times, you get the impression that it's a bit of a wrench for him to expose them to the harsh light of the outside world.
You could be forgiven for asking yourself: “Now where have I seen that face before?” Truth is, if you have been floating around Europe for the past 15 years or so, you might well have seen Maurice Dickson, if it was Monday, it must have been Germany …or was it Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, France, North Africa …or the Canary Islands. As they say in Scotland, a stone’s throw from Maurice’s native Northern Ireland, he has `earned his spurs’. The long journey began in 1975 when he started playing, singing and writing. A year later, aged 16 he put together his first band, which belted out his own material and cover versions of the day until 1979 when he traded his engineer’s overalls for the insecurity of a life on the road. Setting off with a guitar, a sleeping bag and £75, he spent four-and-a-half years slogging it round Europe and North Africa, learning the tricks that only that kind of experience can give an artist – how to judge an audience, how to hook it, how to play it, how to reel it in and put it in the bag.
This stagecraft is one major reason why he has now built an enthusiastic audience on the acoustic music circuit throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland to add to his many admirers in continental Europe. Another reason has to do with the painstaking way in which he has re-invented himself in recent years to appeal to a wider audience. In 1987 he was blitzing the local scene back home in Northern Ireland with his own R&B band, Shades of Blue. But he found himself more and more drawn towards acoustic styles. The transaction speeded up in 1992 when he worked a season playing solo in Greece and then visited Egypt. Something clicked into place in 1993, he bit the bullet and spent months working 8 hours a day to develop the new and complete style of folk and blues guitar picking which, along with finely crafted lyrics, is now his trademark. Putting in all that hard work at an age when many people feel they have already cracked it produced instant results, his powerful own brand of contemporary folk, which won him the folk section of the International Showcase 1993 at the Limerick Arts Festival. Since then he has been writing, recording and touring constantly in Ireland, Scotland, England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the USA.
“A CD that stopped the work and silenced the office babble” ~ Music Maker Magazine
“Gutsy and moving. Personal yet universal…with a sincerity which is a hallmark of all he does.” ~ John O’Reagan (Rock’n Reel)
“A genius performer with amazing stage presence and personality.” ~ Stonehaven Folk Festival
“Maurice Dickson is one of those virtuoso artists who has never achieved super-stardom but whose amazing talent is recognised by anyone who has ever heard him play.” ~ The Corkman
“One of the most talented solo artists on the festival circuit today... Held the audience spellbound and made his guitar talk.” ~ Arran Folk Festival
“If you only discover one singer songwriter this year make it Maurice Dickson – you wont regret it” ~ Sean Green, (Irish World, London)
“Lifts you up, throws you down and spins you round in the way only a seasoned pro can.” ~ Rob Stokes, (Scotland on Sunday)
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