The third album is famously the difficult hurdle to jump, with many artists resorting to re-treads or losing their way. It is however a hurdle that Gaelic Americana purveyor Kyle Carey vaults with such ease she could easily knock off an entrechat as she crosses it.
Some things in her music remain the same. As previously the album closes with an excellent Americana cover: last time ‘Across the Great Divide’, this time ‘Trouble In The Fields’. There are of course songs in Gaelic and Carey’s voice, a thing of startling purity and delight is fore-grounded throughout. All of which are good things. Some things in her music are different. The instrumentation has been beefed up considerably and displays a wider range of influences – some New Orleans trumpet on ‘Siubhail a Rùin’ for example. There are also some serious guests including Rhiannon Giddens and John McCusker. These are good things too.
Carey’s songwriting continues to evolve and improve and producer Dirk Powell contributes the expected deft picking as well as fashioning a perfect setting for the music. Highlights include ‘Sios Dhan an Abhainn’, a startlingly effective Gaelic reinterpretation of ‘Down to The River To Pray’ and ‘Opal Grey’, which draws on traditional British folk to great effect.
Enough facts though, let’s cut to the chase. This is a beautiful album filled with beautiful music that tugs at the heartstrings. The Gaelic is at the centre of it, and you sense at the centre of Carey too. Long may it remain there.