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KYLE CAREY —THE ART OF FORGETTING (Riverboat Records / World Music)

www.kyleannecarey.com

Produced by Dirk Powell (key member in Joan Baez and Rhiannon Giddens’ band) in his Breaux Bridge, Louisiana recording studio Kyle Carey’s latest album (her third) has, as expected some fine players and vocalists aid the travelled performer. Once a full-time waitress, the New Hampshire-born Scottish Gaelic inspired performer also has a wonderful understanding of traditional Irish music. Carey actually made her professional debut playing in 2011 in Dingle, Co Kerry. Earlier still after college, she travelled to Cape Breton on a Fulbright Fellowship to study Celtic music. 

Next step taken was for her to spend a year on the Isle of Skye as she studied Scottish Gaelic, intensively with Christine Primrose, and with her now about to turn thirty Carey is still studying. Only now it is how best to use the tones of the former with folk music of America, primarily. The kind influenced by the criss-crossing of the Atlantic from the British Isles up into the Appalachian hills and beyond. Producer Powell’s influence and understanding of the latter is an area she will no doubt have tapped into, and with him playing extensively on the record (bass, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, backing vocals, accordion, banjo and piano) aided by John McCusker (fiddle), Mike McGoldrick (flute), Sam Broussard (guitar), James Mackintosh (percussion), Ron Janssen (Octave mandolin), Kai Welch (trumpet), Josh Scalf (trombone) plus backing vocals from Rhiannon Giddens, Liz Simmons and Gillebride Mac IlleMhaoil Carey’s eclectic combination of work is beautifully presented. 

Carey’s drawing on Gaelic music and Appalachia The Art Of Forgetting is a big project in itself, but to also convert an old American gospel hymn “Down The River To Pray” to Scottish Gaelic, and be inspired by a Child Ballad, Yeats, McNeil, Frost and poems by West Virginian Louise McNeill plus work of Charles Dickens the depth of the record is immense. That is not the end of it, because for one song she checked-out John Hiatt’s Crossing Muddy Water, and she includes a cover of a Scottish mouth music song. Last but not least, she also tenders a version of the Nanci Griffith – Rick West’s composition “Trouble In The Fields”. Phew! At last you can draw breath! Now that is what you call a sizeable undertaking, her producer Dirk and friends from his TransAtlantic Sessions days have together (plus his continued thirst to learn more about traditional music) ensured her work is seen in the best light possible. Powell's work on banjo, piano and fiddle (alongside that of McCusker and McGoldrick) is masterful!     

Among the highlights, and there’s more emerging everyday as the music of this stylish performer melts into my subconscious. Her handling of opening cut “The Art Of Forgetting” reminded me of Natalie Merchant’s artistic style. While Carey’s version of “Siubhail a Ruin” is a sheer delight, and on showing much grace, the gentle fiddle, guitar and flute warmed “Come Back To Me” takes the listener to a heavenly place; and in the moving “Sios Dhan An Abhainn” (“Down To The River To Pray”) she genuinely reaches a great height. Although I would have liked to had more emphasis on the vocals, and more space allowed but my preference isn’t for every one.   

“For Your Journey” is as stripped down tender as they come piece. Performed a cappella style, Carey with support from either or both Mac IlleMhaoil and Simmons produces something most special. You can feel and measure the stillness and beauty.  On displaying more freedom, and yet more grace a song written whilst in Louisiana “Evelyna” powers forth as much imagery is released. Her grasp of Gaelic is outstanding and demonstrated in wonderful fashion by piano warmed ‘mouth song’ “Puirt A Beul”; learnt from the singing of Christine Primrose and Mari MacInnes her performance is mesmerising. As already noted,Carey does a version of “Trouble In The Fields”, and with fiddle, flute and piano, plus harmony vocals accompaniment she does full justice to the iconic composition. 

        Maurice Hope 

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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