The Sound Cafe
Backstage: Douglas McLean Chats With Canadian Singer-Songwriter Maggie Fraser
Bman's Blues Report
"This is not your regular album and I think it stands tall in feel and realism."
Best of WNY.com
Hot Wax Album Reviews by the ROCK DOCTOR – March 26, 2023
"The Way That I Wish It was is a beautifully produced collection of songs about love, hope, despair, regret and loss- you know, life- and it will become one of your very best friends."
Fervor Coulee February 15, 2023
'It isn’t unusual for us to be pleasantly surprised by the initial encounter of new talents—even Canadian ones, given the broad expanse of our country—allowing the disconnect that continues to exist even within our 24/7 online existence. Still, it is a bit jarring to realize how easily it would have been for this little gem of an album from Maggie Fraser to slip past me. Glad it didn’t as it is worth our attention."
La Hora del Blues April, 2023
PARIS-MOVE, February 11th 2023 (English translation)
Based in Toronto, Maggie Fraser first made her mark on the folk/ americana scene as a songwriter for other artists, including the multi-instrumentalist Colleen Hogdson (who dedicated a full album to her about fifteen years ago, “Songs Of Maggie”). She is also featured as a guest on three of the ten tracks on this disc (Fraser's first as a singer-songwriter in her own right). A therapist in the civilian field, Maggie has undoubtedly been able to draw at leisure from the multiple life paths that have attended her practice. From the languid “Your Ghost” that opens the record, the first impression that jumps to the eardrums is the similarity of her vocal timbre with that of the great Lucinda Williams: the same kind of precarious accuracy (thus doubtless justifying that a vocal coach is credited to her). This similarity turns out to be even more glaring on "Wild Black Dogs”. With his violin and his pedal-steel (both operated by Chris Bartos), “The Cornfield" accuses its pronounced Bakersfield touch (as well as the titular song and ”The Loneliest Creature In The World"), while with the mandolin and the bodhràn of James Mckie, “Our Little Canoe" takes on Balkan accents, further accentuating the diversity of the sound palette of this album with stripped arrangements. Some nuggets deserve to be highlighted, such as the earth-shattering “After The Loving”, whose sepulchral organ refers in a straight line to that of Al Kooper on ”Highway 61 Revisited“ and ”Blonde On Blonde" by whom you know, as well as the moving three-songs “Beautiful Masquerade”, “Going To Hell" and "Song For Susan". A convincing first attempt, on the tenuous borders of americana and folk, by a songwriter and performer from whom news is firmly expected in the future.
Paris-Move, Blues Magazine, Illico & BluesBoarder
ROOTSTIME BE (English translation)
MAGGIE FRASER – THE WAY THAT I WISH IT WAS
Toronto, with a population of 3 million, is the largest city and also the capital of the Canadian province of Ontario. It is also the permanent home of singer and songwriter Maggie Fraser who is musically active in the Americana and folk genre. In recent years she has written many songs for other Canadian artists, but since a few years she also opted for a solo career.
That is now officially sealed with the release of her first album “The Way That I Wish It Was”, a ten-track record for which she provided lyrics and music for all songs herself, with the exception of the beautiful song “After The Loving” which she composed with her husband, producer and multi-instrumentalist Alec Fraser.
It is especially the lyrics of Maggie Fraser that come out strongly on this record and deal with life-encompassing subjects such as the experiences of homeless people in "After The Loving", a widow who lost the love of her life in "Your Ghost", a volunteer's loneliness in the narrative "The Loneliest Creature In The World", a prisoner begging his lover's forgiveness in the emotional "Going To Hell", rebuilding a tormented relationship in "Beautiful Masquerade" and songs such as album title track "The Way That I Wish It Was” and “Our Little Canoe” about creating a glimmer of hope in dark times. The closing acoustically performed song “Song For Susan” is a haunting requiem or tribute to a beloved friend.
Maggie Fraser herself plays on acoustic guitar when singing her songs, while Alec Fraser plays as a multi-instrumentalist on bass guitar, drums, guitars, banjo, keyboards and percussion and can also be called the album's producer. Denis Keldie on accordion, piano and organ, Chris Staig on guitar, Chris Bartos on violins and pedal steel guitar, James McKie on mandolin and bodhrán and Rich Roxborough on piano and keyboards. After all, the Canadian singer Colleen Hodgson from Toronto provides excellent backing vocals for several songs. Maggie Fraser is an asset to the modern Americana music genre with her album “The Way That I Wish It Was”.
Concertmonkey (English translation)
Maggie Fraser is a Canadian singer/songwriter based in Toronto, Ontario. She primarily identifies as a songwriter in the folk and Americana genres and her songs have been recorded and performed by other artists, most notably Ontario singer and multi-instrumentalist Colleen Hodgson, in her 2008 release 'Songs Of Maggie'. In recent years Maggie has stepped up to the mic and started performing solo in the Toronto area. 'The Way that I Wish it Was', which will be released on February 24, is her first release as a singer and songwriter.
The album contains ten original songs, all written by Maggie Fraser. For 'After The Loving' she got help from husband Alec Fraser. Maggie's songs, distinguished by their unique lyrical quality, seem to find their way into that dark secret place within us and keep us company there. The lyrics are very important in the music of Maggie Fraser. In daily life she is a therapist and the stories she hears there will probably be a very good source of inspiration.
In the beautiful and atmospheric opener 'Your Ghost', Maggie sings about a widow who lost the love of her life. Maggie has a beautiful voice, which is close to that of Lucinda Williams. Besides the vocals, Maggie also takes care of the acoustic guitar. Multi instrumentalist Alec Fraser plays guitar and bass. Rich Roxborough provides the beautiful sounds on the keyboards. In the emotional Americana song "Beautiful Masquerade," Maggie sings about rebuilding a dead relationship. We get back the same three musicians. Rich Roxborough lets us enjoy his wonderful piano playing and Alec Fraser plays outside the bass line on the electric bass, also on the banjo, keyboards, accordion and percussion. The beautiful chorus gives 'Beautiful Masquerade' even more cachet. Chris Bartos is very decisive on the fiddle and the pedal steel guitar in the flowing 'The Cornfield'. It is one of my personal favorites on this excellent album. Maggie knows how to perform the song in a very clever way and backing singer Colleen Hodgson completes the vocal part. 'The Cornfield' is a remorseful lament about the rape of the earth and lost innocence. It is one of the few songs in which a drum is used.
With his warm organ and electric piano sounds, Denis Keldie carries the melody of 'After The Loving', in which a homeless outcast receives a fleeting visit of love. According to Maggie, only the river seems to know what their future is. There is a lot of sadness and sadness in Maggie's voice when she sings the sad song. Balkan influences can be heard in 'Our Little Canoe', a song about creating a little hope in dark times. James McKie has a very large share in this with his mandolin and bodhran (an Irish frame drum that is played with a kind of drumstick with one or two beat ends). in the wistful, 'The Loneliest Creature In The World', Maggie sings about a volunteer aid worker trying to come to terms with her own loneliness. Ed White sets the tempo of the song on drums and Rich Roxoborough colors the sound with his fine piano playing. There is a lot of sadness in the emotional and moving ballad 'Going To Hell', in which a prisoner asks his abused wife for forgiveness. Accordion player Dennis Keldie reinforces the sad atmosphere. The title track 'The Way That I Wish It Was' is a song about hope in dark times. Dennis Keldie is very present on the piano and electric piano throughout the song and Alec Fraser colors the song with a short solo on the electric guitar.
Instrumentally, the fluent Americana song 'Wild Black Dogs' is one of the richest songs on the album. Lyrically, Maggie here pokes fun at the human need to believe that we can actually control life. Denis Keldie on organ and accordion, Chris Staig on electric guitar and Alec Frser on bass, drums and acoustic guitar provide the instrumental pleasure. Maggie Fraser and backing singer Colleen Hodgson for the vocals. The closing 'Song For Susan' is a requiem for a beloved friend. Chris Bartos reinforces the sad atmosphere with his violin and moog bass synthesizer. 'The Way That I Wish It Was' by Maggie Fraser is an excellent listening album, in which the lyrics touch and move you every time. Maggie has a beautiful voice and the instrumental setting fits perfectly with her voice and the type of songs she sings. (7.5/10)