There is something so effortless about what Maggie, Pierce & E.J. do as a band. Truly eclectic in sound, they seem to have a great understanding and appreciation of all types of music, and these influences show. This is music about expressing the ideas and emotions of three dedicated musicians and not about pleasing the masses. Maggie, Pierce & E.J. make their music personal, for themselves and their listeners.
Their fourth album as a band, For, is dedicated to and inspired by the late Jeff Buckley. While only the band knows for certain which songs are directly about Buckley, there is a sense throughout the entire album about the connections between people—whether these connections are on a fan level or a personal one. To Maggie, Pierce & E.J., the difference is almost irrelevant. All that is important here is that people touch our lives.
Lead mostly by the earthy but delicate voice of Maggie, For soars up and down through a wide spectrum of music. Although based mostly in a modern folk-rock sound, Maggie, Pierce & E.J. do not ignore other forms of music, incorporating them in interesting ways, from the worldly chants on “Not Hurting” to feedback-driven tracks like “Burning the Sun”. While Maggie, Pierce & E.J. have an obvious style, they work well within the pattern they set for themselves. They give the impression they could quite possibly play anything as a band, but this is the music they’re choosing to make.
While Buckley’s death is a major topic, quite obviously on “JBird” and “Butterfly”, the album is not limited lyrically to just that subject.
On the playful “Space”, Maggie sings “I’m only hoping that you know I have my own life and I can go inside. It doesn’t matter anyway because you’ll never hear these words”. The delightful, conversational tone of most of the words serves the music well, and gives these songs a very open, approachable feel. These aren’t just the stories of Maggie, Pierce & E.J.—they’re the stories of everyone.
For does suffer slightly from feeling overly long. At nearly an hour with 15 songs (plus a few assorted noises on track 17), the album does wear down towards the end, although it would be hard to know what to get rid of. Chances are, Maggie, Pierce & E.J. felt the same way.
Maggie, Pierce & E.J. seem to enjoy their position as a mostly unknown band with a dedicated following. It’s indeed fun for those who know of the group because, with the beauty of For, they do make a fabulous secret, but it’s impossible not to wish that everyone would get to know this band.
// Notes from the Road
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