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Review : 'If You Loved Me Once' Máiréad - New Single - "Nostalgia, romance, and story"

Máiréad, an Irish Singer Songwriter born and raised in Country Tyrone, Northern Ireland, with a love for country music, and a knack for hitting the heart strings with her emotive lyrics, and beautiful country and Irish folk inspired melodies, releases a new single that will transport you far away from the moment you are in, and leave you in contemplation on love and life, with a sense of happiness and nostalgia that will follow you throughout your day.

"A beautiful song, overflowing with nostalgia, romance, and story, with a simple, yet subtly intricate arrangement..."

If You Loved Me Once, opens with a grounding bass line, contrasted by a beautifully simple, delicate piano line, with Máiréad’s gracefully entering over the top. From the moment this vocal line starts, in my opinion, it sets up the tone for the whole song. Máiréad’s voice, a blend of Cara Dillon and Allison Kraus, where pure, clear cut movements of Irish folk, meet the soaring and effortless tones of country music, lets the listener settle into the song. Throw in Johnny Brady’s vocal half way through this 1st verse, strong and punchy to contrast Mairead, and we have a cracking duet on our hands.

The 1st verse recounts the story of two people falling in love, with naivety and the pure blissful ignorance of love during youth, or even early adulthood. The kind of love story we all search for, whether we admit it or not.

And then we come to it. A chorus that sets the whole song free, and we go on a liberating journey, as Máiréad and supporting artist Johnny take off in what I can only describe as a succinct and thoughtfully written top line. Lyrically, and musically, this chorus is hard hitting, with harmonies rising and falling at every phrase. Both Mairead’s and Johnny’s vocal both come into play here and supply the listener with everything pleasing to the ear in a great country pop song. But what I want to make sure I touch upon, is the arrangement…

We have a clean break at the end of the verse, with Máiréad’s vocal overspilling into the chorus with a subtle Irish folk inflection before the drums, guitars, piano and everything that's wholesome hits you in both the head and the heart. And, I would be utterly mad to not take notice of the beautifully written fiddle line hidden away in the mix, you only catch a glimpse, but its the moments in between vocal phrases where the arrangement takes over, that make this song ever the more beautifully written and arranged. Round of applause to Mairead, Musician’s such as Chris Demetriou and Producer Matt Greaves on this account.

Verse 2, the story moves on with emotions shared from both parties, and memories relived for the listeners which is then followed by yet another hard hitting chorus.

As the guitar solo drops, and we get to sit back in awe as guitarist and fiddle player, overlap in both unison, and counterpoint melodies. Adding to the feel and journey we are on, the song drops down to Máiréad’s vocal, before the drums, bass, and lead guitar come crashing in with a great run down to bring the last chorus to a close. We are given an adapted last line, where vocal and guitar ascend and add potency to the poignant lyrics while the band holds down a minor chord. Great writing, great divisive thinking.

The song ends with a long held chord from the band, while the piano’s opening riff repeats one last time to bring us back to where it all started. A feeling of contentment settles into the heart, and this is where I find myself rushing to repeat the song once again.

All in all, Máiréad has released a beautiful song, overflowing with nostalgia, romance, and story, with a simple, yet subtly intricate arrangement. I first heard this song a little while back live in London. I’ve been counting down the days until she lets the world hear it, and it was worth every second. Bright days ahead for Mairead, and all those involved in this brand new single!

You can find Máiréad on all social platforms including Instagram and Facebook and you can check out this new song on Spotify where it reached above 24,000 streams with its first week! Additionally head over to Facebook to watch the official video, filmed by Shady Dolphin Studios, or iTunes, and Apple Music Now.

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