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Cara Dillon, After the Morning

Cara Dillon
After The Morning
Rough Trade RTRADECD198

This gorgeous, graceful album reveals Cara Dillon's voice to be as exquisite as ever. She's one of the few folk musicians to possess the knack of catching the 'listening ear' of the mainstream radio stations, and this has to be due to her vocal beauty and lyrical, expansive song arrangements. The very catchy 'Never In A Million Years' has just made the Radio 2 play list (it might be the C list, but it guarantees her airplay) and there's no question that songs like this exude commercial appeal. It exemplifies an album that's strong on rhythm, and strong on melody.

An interesting departure from previous releases, there's quite a bit of banjo on this recording, giving a nice 'bluegrass' feel. Great backing vocals, loads of percussion, bass, guitar, accordion and piano complete the expansive sound - with fine string arrangements on a couple of songs, including a cover of Dougie MacLean's 'Garden Valley'. A new dynamic also comes into play on this album: Sam Lakeman has recently taken up the guitar, and a few arrangements are structured around guitar rather than piano. There's a lovely balance between traditional arrangements and new compositions, with half the songs written/co-written by Cara and Sam Lakeman. Paul Brady guests on 'The Streets Of Derry'.

Cara's elegant cover of 'The Snows That Melt the Soonest' will surely join the ranks of sublime covers of this song, with its delightful piano and string arrangements. A beautiful, sensually appealing album, brimming with confidence and an outstanding sense of musicality.  

Debbie Koritsas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 67 of The Living Tradition magazine.