New Hampshire-born Kyle Carey's third album effortlessly combines the essence of Celtic and Appalachian folk to create a hybrid sound which has been dubbed Gaelic Americana.
The record contains songs ideally suited for rainy autumn days where references to weeping willows and grey skies symbolize the melancholy mood.
Many of the selections are based on poetry or traditional ballads from Scotland and Ireland but there's also room for a cover of Nanci Griffith's Trouble In The Fields.
The album is produced by Dirk Powell who sings backing vocals on a couple of tracks and more than earns his fee by contributing bass, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, accordion, banjo and piano.
The tracks also feature Rhiannon Giddens on backing vocals together with Mike McGoldrick on flute and John McCusker on fiddle.
The atmosphere is tranquil and subdued with the notable exception of Puirt à Beul, a lively Scottish mouth music song. Otherwise, the lilting melodies and words are full of wistfulness although they never engage enough to fully empathize with the singer's plight.
In part, the soothing tone reminds me of the siren scene in The Coen Brothers' 'O Brother Where Art Thou'. This connection is directly prompted by Sios Dhan an Abhainn which is based on the gospel hymn 'Down To The River To Pray' sung by Alison Krauss in that movie.
Compared with the alluring sensuality of the women singers in 'O Brother', Kyle Carey's voice is merely 'nice' and somehow maintains an efficient yet detached quality even when singing lyrics that tell of powerful pent up emotions such as in the sorrowful tale of Tillie Sage: "Dressed in muslim, daisy crowned, breathless, waiting on a groom".
That said, her reading of Evelyna, inspired by John Hiatt's 'Crossing Muddy Waters', is a beautiful controlled song of death and longing.
Moments like this contribute to a pleasant easy-listening album that charms more than it really excites.
Kyle Carey's website