Geraldine MacGowan & Friends,
(Magnetic Music, 1995)

Sounding something like a Gaelic Amy Grant, Geraldine MacGowan is able to create the same innocent intimacy with her vocals the more-famous Grant has built a career on. That's perhaps showcased best on the opening track, "Whatever Goes Around Comes Around," a gentle, wistful ballad that would be just as comfortable on adult contemporary radio as on worldbeat stations. She hits many of the same marks on "Never Get Enough of You," a song highlighted by a folksy, meandering guitar.

MacGowan gets a bit more edgy on "Jealousy," building a slow burn with lyrics like "Jealousy you snake / you'd better come around no more / don't need you in my dreams / won't let you in my door." The smolder's there, but MacGowan's restrained vocals and the understated arrangement keep things from building into a full-blown fire.

Unfortunately, too many songs on this disc -- "West Coast of Clare," "Rottweilers Set," "Angel of Paradise," etc. -- are like so much honeyed water. Pleasant and soothing enough while they're playing to be sure, but as soon as the next song begins, it's maddeningly difficult to remember anything at all about the preceding tune.

[ by Jayme Lynn Blaksche ]