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Cara Dillon - “Cara Dillon” - RTRADECD019

Every so often a singer comes along and stops me in my tracks making me look at music in a slightly different light.  Over the last few years Beth Orton and Kate Rusby have done just that.  The latest in this occasional line of artists is the hugely talented Cara Dillon.  It’s not that she has a similar style to either of those singers.  Her voice is fragile and delicate giving the impression that it may somehow shatter if you listen too closely.  The key to her uniqueness is a rare ability she has developed of taking a song from the standard repertoire, and makes you fell that it could’ve been written for her alone.

Cara first came to public attention as part of the young Irish group Oige, from there she went on to replace Ms Rusby as lead voice in the supergroup Equation.  It was whilst in Equation that she met her partner Sam Lakeman and he provides mournful piano and production duties on this debut solo CD.  Indeed it’s the interplay between her plaintive voice and Sam’s fine piano arrangements that set this album apart from many.

Although this eponymous debut is filled with mostly traditional songs of which “Black Is the Colour”, and “The Maid of Culmore” are stand out moments.  The two self-penned tracks exhibit a writing ability that could be a rich vein to be tapped in the future.  Many people may know the name Cara Dillon however I think she’ll surprise many people with the sheer scope and quality of this release.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.