Album Review - Kyle Carey / Monongah

Kyle Carey describes her music as Gaelic Americana and as a big fan of Americana and Country or Folk infused variants of it I can quite confidently say it is an outstanding debut.  Its Gaelic component is subtle it must be said.  The songs are from the American Folk Anthology with influences from Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton traditional music.  Add in the Appalachian poetry of Louise McNeill and you have a varied range of influences.  Its Irish influence comes from her trip in the winter of 2011 to the west of  Ireland to record.  She recruited Donogh Hennessy (Lùnasa) as producer and brought on board a team of well known players that included Pauline Scanlon (Lumiere), Aoife Clancy (Cherish the Ladies) on harmony vocals, Cape Breton fiddler Rosie MacKenzie (The Cottars), Brendan O’ Sullivan (Gràda), old-time fiddler Cleek Schrey, Appalachian expert John Kirk (Quickstep) on mandolin and banjo and Trevor Hutchinson (The Waterboys, Lùnasa) on double bass.

Combining this amount of talent into a focused record was I imagine a daunting task but the result is indeed focused both lyrically and musically.  The title track Monongah is outstanding with its layers of guitar, fiddle, and banjo behind a beautiful melody.  The Star Above Rankin's Point, a song she wrote after striking up a relationship with fiddler Jerry Holland follows a similar path.  Inspiration for the lyrics comes from many places.  Adenine is a song inspired by a Rattlesnake Baptist preacher’s only son, sold to the circus to make ends meet. Accompaniment on these is kept sparse, relying on very gentle finger picking guitar and harmonies which creates a very delicate and fragile undercurrent to the tracks. It also allows the emotion, stories and texture of her music to find a natural home. Her songs reveal themselves to the backdrop of this atmospheric soundscape.  These are her stories from the ages set in a modern narrative and it works beautifully.  It's an impressive recording of principally Americana with the Gaelic influences that have crept into her style. It has received recognition and awards in the US and rightly so. Listen to the audio for Monongah below and you will get the picture. Outstanding.

Listen and Buy at www.kyleannecarey.com or on www.cdbaby.com

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