The Winds Begin To Sing

Karan Casey

Shanachie Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I hate writing reviews like this.

See, there's not much wrong with the latest solo effort from Karan Casey, the lead vocalist for Celtic band Solas. Unfortunately, it suffers from a common problem to the ethereal female Celtic vocalist style of music; there's not much notable about it, either.

Like a good number of CDs in this genre, it's quickly listened to, and just as quickly forgotten, smooth and vaguely mystical like a ten-dollar tarot reading at a traveling carnival. There's very little distinctive about it. Yes, Casey has a beautiful voice. One wishes they'd give her something to sing that's distinguishable from Enya, and one wishes for a little less beauty and a little more soul.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Winds Begin To Sing is at least well produced; Casey's voice is that lovely, a clear, ethereal presence that lingers over words lovingly. The musicianship is competent, though nothing stands out. Production is minimalist, which is usually the right way to go on music of this kind; nothing gets between you and the vocals and instruments. Unfortunately, after about four songs, you wish something would get between you and The Winds; say, a double espresso.

Casey's biggest weakness is that she seems utterly dispassionate on this CD, as if she's mailing in the performance because it's time to do another solo album. (My sudden mental image of the Dunkin' Donuts guy from the eighties mumbling 'Time to do another solo album' should probably be considered evidence that I'm warped.) Her performance on traditional selections like "Who Put The Blood", "The King's Shilling", and "Eppie Morrie" seem to lack any real soul, and traditional songs like these were designed to tell stories and evoke emotion. In that, The Winds fails.

It's only when Casey sings in Gaelic that she seems to be more comfortable. "Eirigh Suas A Stoirin" is a very good track, and "Buile Mo Chroi" a great one. I almost wonder if Gaelic is her first language and English her second, though I believe that's almost impossible nowadays, even in Ireland. She also turns in a wonderful performance on "You Bought Me Up" and "The Snows They Melt The Soonest".

A final track deserves mention, if for nothing else for its oddness. Casey covers Lewis Allen's "Strange Fruit", a song about lynchings in the American South. While she does very well on it, it's still somewhat jarring in the middle of a CD full of Celtic music.

The Winds Begin To Sing is, taken in toto, not much better than average. It has its high points and its low points, but in the long run suffers from having too little personality in it. Next time, one can hope Casey takes that achingly beautiful voice and shows some feeling with it.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shanachie Records, and is used for informational purposes only.