Cara Dillon is a relatively recent discovery for me. I first happened upon Cara Dillon on the BBC’s transatlantic sessions where her performances with husband Sam Lakeman really shone amongst an already stellar line-up of folk artists. On hearing the records I was struck with how the sensitive production beautifully complemented the chiming purity of Cara’s voice giving the mix of traditional and original songs room to breathe.This well attended concert at Birmingham Town Hall was part of a national tour to promote the latest album ‘A Thousand Hearts’. Kicking off with heart stopping versions of River Run and Jacket so blue, Cara Dillon immediately reassures that she can reproduce live that beautiful voice you love so much on record, adding extra emotion and meaning to the songs.
For this tour, she’s accompanied by husband Sam Lakeman on acoustic guitar and keyboards, Bouzouki player, Violin and Accordion – apologies for not noting down their names, but they were fantastic – and, although there’s no percussionist, Sam’s guitar and keyboard playing holds the band together allowing the vocals and other instruments to shine. Cara also plays a mean penny whistle! It’s easy to underestimate folk music, but these acoustic instruments in the right hands have power and a sense of dynamics that thrill and move you in equal measure.As live performers, Cara, Sam and band and are very much at ease with each other and there’s frequent on stage banter and teasing. They have recently come back from a concert tour of China where bizarrely Cara Dillon’s first two albums are part of the national curriculum for English courses. There is a whole generation of Chinese students – all currently 28 or under – who have grown up listening to Cara Dillon albums to help them learn English, possibly with a Northern Irish accent.
After the concert Cara Dillon stood at the CD stall signing albums and chatting to fans – mine is now a treasured possession. A thoroughly enjoyable and memorable evening was had by all.
Visit Cara Dillon’s website for more information and future tours: http://www.caradillon.co.uk/by