A good singer knows how to use the voice to achieve an effect. She knows when to use nuance and her phrasing is always on point. Apart from that, a good singer possesses a good timbre. Although we know that our concept of ‘beauty’ varies from culture to culture, we do know a remarkable voice when we hear one. Kyle Carey is one example that deserves a mention. When you hear the way she sings, you respond to it right away-the way you respond to singers like Sarah McLachlan, Connie Dover, Janis Ian or Moya Brennan. It is not the fireworks and volume that count. It’s the intelligence on how such instrument-the voice- is used to tell a story or to express a sentiment.
Now in her third full-length album, The Art of Forgetting, the singer-songwriter and amazing interpreter of Gaelic songs continues to touch listeners with her unique art. Carey continues to tackle the Celtic influence in American music. There are twelve songs in the album. My current favorite is the jazzy Suil A Ruin. It reflects the mood of the early 20th century that gave rise to the Jazz babies among Irish and Scottish immigrants. I think it is a perfect song to describe that era. Her playful voice carries us through a not so distant past, but still has a very strong anchor to the present.
The Art of Forgetting is also a testament to the evolution of her musical style. Yes it is still the Celtic Americana artist that we have grown to love, but she added a sense of playfulness to her latest effort. A sort of exuberance that could only come from an artist that has developed both personal and aesthetic wisdom. She can easily incorporate jigs and other traditional forms in her ballads seamlessly. Like in the case of the poignant Opal Grey.
Vocally, she is great shape. In Sios Dan An Abhainn, she incorporates breathy passages while still maintaining the strength of her voice, highlighting the consonants of each line. I admire the clever use of a saxophone in this track which further intensifies the mood. For Your Journey continues to showcase her vocal power. Yeah, two minutes if pure haunting bliss! She breathes a new life in the traditional Puirt a Beul, a track I first heard performed by Julie Fowlis. Her rendition stands on its own in b terms of beauty and gentleness. Trouble in the Fields closes the album. This is Carey going out of her comfort zone singing in a style that is upfront and fresh.
The Art of Forgetting is a joy to possess. There are many memorable moments here. This album makes us anticipate for more music to come from this lovely artist like no other. Big names that worked with her on this album are:
So you know what to expect 😉