For the past three years, Magnolia Boulevard has been packing clubs in their hometown of Lexington, KY and building a loyal audience. Then on August 7 of this year, Magnolia Boulevard released its debut EP, titled New Illusion, a four-track collection of music showcasing the brilliance of both the songwriting and the vocals of Maggie Noelle. The record was produced by famed guitar maker and owner of PRS Guitars Paul Reed Smith, whom guitarist Gregg Erwin describes as the band’s champion. A key element to the Magnolia Boulevard experience is its fluent sound that flows freely and seamlessly while embracing multiple styles and genres.
“When I first heard Magnolia Boulevard I thought, ‘this band deserves a shot,’” says Smith, who discovered the band while on a trip to Lexington to conduct a guitar clinic, and was so blown away that he subsequently took them under his wing, flying the band to the PRS Experience to begin their working relationship. The first time Noelle sang in the studio on “Sister,” she nailed it on the first take, and is the first single on the album, which was released back in November 2019 to coincide with the band’s support slot on Blues Traveler’s Four 25th Anniversary tour. “Sister” was written by Noelle as an ode to her best friend.
“That song in particular, a lot of people will come to me and talk about how it has affected them,” says Noelle. “There was one girl who told me after a show that she hadn’t talked to her sister in so many years and then they had a really great reunion because of that song.”
Magnolia Boulevard’s music is like an intense conversation between musicians that extends beyond the stage into the audience. New Illusion is a superb debut EP from a band with infinite promise for the future, while the present finds them spinning on WTMD, WDST, WFPK, KMTN and KRML, to name only a few of the stations on board.
Photo by Kim Blackburn