Americelta Records …………
Sophomore album from Gaelic-Americana specialist and innovator
Kyle Carey is well-versed in folk music heritage from narrative songs of Scotland and Ireland to the gospel roots of the southern American states and dustbowl tales of Woody Guthrie. She spent a year studying Celtic music and Scottish Gaelic on a scholarship in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She followed this as a pupil of the Gaelic song specialist, Christine Primrose, picking up every musical nuance she could. If you thoughtthis scholarship would result in highbrow and inaccessible sounds, you would be very wrong. Kyle has a songwriter’s lyrical understanding and a melodic feel that is straightforward and very beautiful.
NORTH STAR is her second album, having also recorded an EP in 2013 with up-and-coming UK artists, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker. The producer is Seamus Egan, founding member of IrishAmerican band Solas and was recorded in Scotland and North America. The dual message of struggle and optimism shines through, especially on the opener, June Day, evoking sunshine and new love on a scorching summer’s day. Kyle has written several narrative stories in this
collection. Casey Jones Whistle Blow tells of a young Tennessee wife pining for a world away from the whistle-stop life with her railroad lover. The accompaniment of bubbling banjo, churning cello and flailing fiddle adds to the intensity.
The title track is a gentle tale written from the perspective of a fisherman and his ‘selchie’, a mermaid wife whom he briefly brought home to shore one fateful summer’s evening although their romance was not to last. ‘The crown and glory of the night is bound to disappear.’ Kyle’s beautiful vocals and the ethereal harmoniesenhancethe melody, supported by instrumental undercurrents of banjo and plucked guitar. The final trackon NORTH STAR is the classic Across the Great Divide’, written by the late Californian singer songwriter, Kate Wolf. Kyle brings her muse to this song with its spirited chorus ‘Now I find myself on the mountainside, where the rivers change direction across the great divide’, accompanied by finger-picked guitar, Shetland Island
fiddle and rhythmic percussion.
Two tracks on NORTH STAR are in Gaelic, inviting comparisons with artists like Julie Fowlis, Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson and Enya. The first is Cairistonia (Christina), a ‘waulking’or work song that laments a deceased lover in a tender ballad. The second is a fine rendition of Alison Krauss’ Down to the River, featured in the Cohen Brothers’ acclaimed film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. The Gaelic title becomes Sos Dhan anAbhainn, featuring pipe drone, shruti boxand Appalachian mountain dulcimer as instrumentation.
Kyle’s vocal style has been compared to that of Nanci Griffith. I also detect the sweet and precise tones of the mid-1960s Marianne Faithfull. There is a delicate sensuality in her delivery that, combined with her songwriting skill, should soon see her at the forefront of contemporary Celtic music. She deserves to be heard by a wideraudience. With NORTH STAR, her own star is clearly in the ascendant! Simon Beards