Cara Dillon’s After The Morning

cover art for After The MorningWhat can you say about Cara Dillon that hasn’t already been said? She comes from an Irish background, from a family with established roots in traditional music. She sings like an angel with a sweet milky voice as smooth as Bailey’s Irish Cream and an inherent style that is to die for. If you are reading this review, chances are you are already a fan of Cara Dillon. But if you’re not, get a copy of this album and you soon will be.

On previous albums Cara has established her self as a fine singer of traditional songs, bringing a flair and colour to them that is her own. On this recording, she moves forward with 12 songs, of which only four are traditional, arranged by Cara and partner Sam Lakeman. On the rest of the album Cara takes on a more contemporary mode with five songs co-written with Sam Lakeman, who also recorded and produced the album. Their songs blend in quite well alongside other contemporary works by other such luminaries such as Dougie MacLean. However, on the Dougie MacLean song ‘Garden Valley’ the lyrics have been changed a little – nice to see the folk process is still alive and well!

I liked this album, and I think you may too. It has a nice feeling of quality, not only in the vocals but the instruments and the guest musicians: all is tastefully done. Sam Lakeman’s multi tracks provide piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, accordion, and percussion, with Neil McCall on mandolin and guitar, Ben Nichols on upright and bass guitar and banjo, Simon Lee on drums, Roy Doddson on percussion, Martin O’Connor on button accordion, and Cathal Hayden on fiddle. On backing vocals is Mary Dillon. Paul Brady sings a duet with Cara for a stunning version of ‘Streets of Derry’, and it’s from the first line of this song that the album takes its title.

It’s hard to pick out a favourite track but ‘Here’s a Health’ (trad) is always a gem. However, worthy of an extra mention are ‘I Wish You Well’ and ‘Never in a Million Years’, both written by Cara and Sam.

I recommend you get this album. You don’t have to be Irish to appreciate good music.

(Rough Trade, 2006)

Peter Massey

Born in 1945, Peter Massey, Senior Writer, is now living in the city of Chester, England with his wife Sandra. Now medically retired he worked for 35 years in the shoe business. He has been a semi-professional musician and singer performing mainly traditional / contemporary folk songs for over 38 years as part of the duo (and sometimes trio) 'The Marrowbones'. His musical interest started at the age of 14 with Rock 'n' Roll and by the time his seventeenth birthday came along he was already playing rock 'n' roll and R&B in and around the local dance venues and clubs such as the Cavern in Liverpool. Thankfully he was saved from the evils of rock 'n' roll when he discovered real music and folk clubs. His collection of recordings houses over 3500 folk songs alone. Other interests and hobbies include Computers and Amateur Radio (he has a class A G4 call sign) His latest project is 'The Little Room Studio' dedicated to making 'live' recordings of folk artists and producing their work on to CD using a portable digital recording studio. To date he has written and composed over 12 folk songs and co-wrote with Gordon Morris another 10 that have been recorded on CD. The song writing has continued and they have another 10 songs in the pipeline not yet recorded to CD. Favourite music / bands at the moment are Steeleye Span, The Battlefield Band, Little Johnny England and Fairport Convention, (in that order), and much admires the work of Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey, Vin Garbutt, and Bob Fox, to name but a few! You can visit the crummy Web site here and read about The Marrowbones and how to get your free songbook.

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