The new nine song collection from Gulf Coast born singer/songwriter Brooks Maguire is his second in the last two years, the last being 2014’s The Road I Never Chose, and there’s little doubt that this is a singer and songwriter experiencing a late career peak that shows no signs of ending. Comeback King features nine songs that never dip into outright mediocrity and have enough humor to quite clearly reflect the reasons why Brooks Maguire recently won Jango.com’s Radio Airplay Grand Prize for best holiday song. “Santa’s Gone Surfin’” has real musical substance and Maguire brings the same talent to bear on this collection. His Southern roots shine through, but Maguire is more than just the musical DNA derived from the circumstances of his birth. Comeback King is a solid set of songs that has a deeply felt and artistically delivered message.
“Goliath” is a great example of the imagination and creativity that Maguire can bring to bear on individual songs. It has an upward rock surge, but Maguire manages it in such a way that the song never feels overcome by the instrumental highlights. Maguire’s voice is a thing of beauty – he inhabits upper registers with a clear, emotive tone and has a knack for locking his voice into the arrangement’s flow. His storytelling prowess gets a nice work out and he uses the Biblical story of David and Goliath with great artfulness. “Front Street” features the guitar talents of the legendary Phil Keaggy, but Keaggy works his way deep into the fabric of the song. Maguire’s vocal handles the song’s often semi-intricate wordplay with a smile and great relish in his voice. The strong drumming propelling “God Knows Your Name” gives it the same bright bounce that comes from Maguire’s singing and the lyrics deal with messaging the audience in a very even handed, stylish fashion.
The acoustic based “Shoulders” is another artful musical and lyrical piece that accomplishes much through understatement. The careful guitar work gives listeners a clearly delineated melody and Maguire gently glides through very poetic, but still quite accessible, lyrics. He takes a stylistic U-turn on the album’s title track with an impassioned vocal balanced up against vivid keyboard flourishes and muscular drums. The storytelling strengths of the song are also considerable and Maguire proves he is quite capable of creating strong characterizations. “Love Sucks You In” has a light bluesy vibe anchored by crisp drumming and Maguire’s great vocals. The song “Makeshift Angel” is going to end up a personal favorite of many. Once again, Maguire shows a real flair for creating memorable characters that basically any adult will recognize from their own lives. This is a particularly great piece thanks to the way he ties character and message together. The finale “All In God’s Time” is a gorgeously exhortative piece that celebrates the inspiration spirituality brings to Maguire’s life. The rich vocal harmonies nicely underscore Maguire’s beautiful voice. Comeback King is a wonderful album from start to finish and conveys its spirit without ever browbeating the audience into submission.