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MARIA DUNN - Joyful Banner Blazing 

MARIA DUNN - Joyful Banner Blazing 
Distant Whisper Music MARCD07 

Seven albums in, and Maria Dunn here cements her reputation as a songwriter and performer of the greatest integrity. Every song is written from the heart and delivered with passion. Able to balance songs about activism with delicate love songs and tributes to fellow travellers along the way, she is able to harness her powers of observation and construct works of art that are both subtle and heartfelt. Her song based on a mother’s letters to her son in WW1, Don’t Think You Are Forgotten, is a scorcher, and includes a smashing bagpipe outro featuring Campbell Wallace.

For the first time she includes a cover – in this case From Dublin With Love, by Ron Hynes, which is enchanting. However, Maria’s own material is paramount to what she is, and having top accompanists surrounding her she can deliver stories that enchant. Producer, Shannon Johnson, also contributes violin throughout, complementing the songs perfectly. The strident title song, and the delicate a cappella song, Beautiful Fools, bookend this package in a masterstroke of sequencing, enclosing all within perfectly.

She has shown herself to be an artiste of the highest calibre and ultimate integrity, who deserves more attention and success beyond her Canadian home – although the accolades received so far give the lie to her popularity there. Having seen Maria Dunn on a number of recent UK tours, I am looking forward to seeing her this autumn, if the pandemic allows the rescheduled gigs to go ahead. To paraphrase the title song, this album is truthfully joyful.

Grem Devlin


This review appeared in Issue 138 of The Living Tradition magazine