Rough Trade – 2001 – 45 minutes

Having won the All-Ireland singing title aged fourteen in 1989, Cara Dillon had an early introduction to musical success. After a stint with folk bands Óige (which she co-formed) and Equation, Dillon is now looking to build on her teenage achievements and bring the soothing, winsome qualities of her voice to a larger audience.

Dillon's debut album is largely comprised of interpretations of age-old folk songs, with just two originals. The Derry girl's voice is quite perfect for the likes of 'Green Grows The Laurel' and 'Black Is The Colour', its childlike innocence illuminating the accounts of broken hearts and aching nostalgia. The original compositions are simply vehicles for Dillon's crystalline voice, let down by unimaginative and clichéd pastoral lyrics.

Bearing in mind music fans are regularly exposed to a deluge of able singers from the folk/traditional divide, it remains to be seen whether the world at large will embrace Cara Dillon. It will probably hinge on the public's unwillingness to welcome yet another folk singer, versus its appreciation of what is undoubtedly a beautiful voice. I hope the latter wins.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: Black Is The Colour - Donald of Glencoe - Craigie Hill - Green Grows The Laurel - Lark In The Clear Air - The Lonesome Scenes of Winter - Blue Mountain River - I Wish I Was - The Maid Of Culmore - She's Like The Swallow - I Am A Youth That's Inclined To Ramble