With no Scottish dates planned, 5 years since her last album and 3 1/2 years since I last saw her … I couldn’t risk missing Cara this time, so Manchester it had to be! I’m so glad I travelled down for a great performance showcasing many of the song from her new ‘A Thousand Hearts‘ album that is fast growing on me.
As always it’s her wonderful, unique voice and her delightful Irish delivery that never fails to win everyone over. Sensitive and beautifully played arrangements are a big part of her appeal too and that’s where partner Sam Lakeman comes in with superb assistance from Ed Boyd on guitar and Niall Murphy’s All Ireland Champion fiddle. Cara also plays a mean whistle in a few songs. The latest album and this set are much more guitar oriented than in the past, so less opportunity for Sam’s piano, and I would have loved to add accordion and whistle/flute player as in earlier shows this year, along with a longer set … all minor quibbles though!
The songs are heady mix of old Irish/Scottish traditional songs and some great original material in that vein, but with more modern arrangements. Nice touches of humour from all of the band add to the smiles, including Sam’s amusing interesting facts. Did you know all windmills go counter-clockwise except in Ireland? I’m not convinced by that one!
Of the new songs ‘My Donald’ (see video below) and ‘Moorlough Mary’ impressed me most with ‘Bright Morning Star’ the new singalong hit! Her stunning rendition of Dougie MacLean’s ‘Garden Valley’ with Sam on piano, raised a tear or two and was the absolute highlight for me though. An emotional ‘Parting Glass’ finished off a fantastic evening all round.
It was great to chat with Cara and Sam afterwards with a pint of Guiness and I obviously couldn’t refuse her request for a selfie with me! ;o) This great review from earlier in the year says it all better than I could! http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2014/04/cara-dillon-live-at-the-islington-london/
9/11 Attended by George