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Kyle Carey

North Star – 2015 (Americelta)

Reviewed by Sam Gazdziak

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CDs by Kyle Carey

There is a common thread between traditional Celtic music and traditional country/folk music. Many of the traditional country and bluegrass songs that made their way out of Appalachia got their start across the ocean. Contemporary acts like The Chieftains and The Rankin Family have done an excellent job of bridging this gap, but there is always room for someone like Kyle Carey to add her talents to the mix.

Carey's sophomore album, "North Star," showcases her brand of what she calls "Gaelic Americana." A song like "Casey Jones Whistle Blow" would fit right at home with most any folk music album, while "Sios Dhan An Abhainn" could be found on an album from Cherish the Ladies or a similar contemporary Celtic act. For a fan of both genres, Carey is a welcome sound.

Carey wrote the English tracks, and it's easy to understand the "Gaelic Americana" description. "Nora O'Kane" has the feel of an ancient ode from Ireland, but it is a modern creation. The closer, "Stone Creek" veers as close to country music as any song on the album. "North Star" benefits from having a variety of styles.

The songs are well-suited to Carey's clear, crystalline vocals. From the opening "June Day," the acoustic setting complements her voice nicely. The one thing that is missing, though, is the liveliness that Celtic music so often produces. Even the most staid Irish acts kick their heels up a little from time to time, but this is a much more low-key album. Two songs sung in Gaelic do help to add a dose of energy, but by and large, it stays quiet and low key throughout. While "North Star" does lack some of the oomph of much Irish music, it has enough elements to make Carey a unique sound in the folk world.