Barry Saunders: Magnetic South

NZ Listener, July 4, 1998

MAGNETIC SOUTH, Barry Saunders (Pagan)


I’ll come clean – I played on this album. Bass guitar, track 12. That was a year or so ago. I hadn’t heard the other tracks at all until now. Barry Saunders writes as he sings – without artifice. Like the best country singers, he makes you feel he’s telling a story to you alone. In one song he sits in a café and describes the little dramas that are taking place around him, as one might in a quick note home. 'Postcard' is the name of the song, but most of these songs could be postcards.


Saunders puts few obstacles between song and listener: no distracting solos or musical grandstanding. Mostly he sticks with his two sidekicks, accordion/keyboard player Alan Norman and drummer/singer Caroline Easther, who have been with him long enough to know what to leave out. Occasionally he throws in another colour – Bob Smith’s Hammond organ, Nik Brown’s fiddle, or me. Chris van der Geer’s mix makes the whole thing shine.


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