Cara Dillon’s Top 10

Cara Dillion

Award-winning Irish singer and owner of one of the most crystal-clear soprano’s we’ve ever heard, Cara Dillon picks 10 tracks that sound great on headphones to celebrate the launch of the P5 Wireless.

10 tracks that we wouldn’t interrupt for anything…in no particular order…they’re all awesome!
by Cara Dillon and Sam Lakeman

“Willie Of Winsbury” by Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (Child Ballads 2013)
This classic English Child Ballad which has seen countless outings in folk clubs up and down the country for decades has been re-interpreted by American singer songwriters Anaïs and Jefferson and there’s no doubt they have a lightness and freshness about their performance to wholly renew my love of this song and many more on the their album. Their voices flow perfectly and allow the telling of this traditional tale to appear like a magical dream. To top it all the album is beautifully produced and recorded by Gary Paczosa who is famous for his work with Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton.

“Bitter Creek” by the Eagles ( Desperado 1973)
Well, I came across this from a random 10 second clip of the vocal hook which appeared in a foreign TV advert somewhere. I was captivated and tracked down the song which has the most incredible acoustic sound and is truly stunning in it’s quality considering the year it was recorded. The lyrics aren’t going to change the world but no-one comes close to those harmonies and that cowboy vibe…also, it includes one of my favourite acoustic guitar solos anywhere!

“Bloodstream” by Ed Sheeran (“X” Multiply 2014)
If i’m honest I’m a bit of a fan. I think he’s amazing and a really, really talented artist. He manages to combine so many aspects of different genres and makes them totally current and appeal to almost everyone…and amazingly, he does it almost covertly. The production is pretty fantastic and the track always jumps out no matter what precedes it. It just has the best groove and we turn up the sub to make the most of the lift into the chorus. Simple but very effective.

“Hello Earth” by Kate Bush (The Hounds Of Love, 1985)
Well, everyone knows i’m the biggest Kate Bush fan and I could’ve picked almost any one of her songs but this has a particularly immersive sound. This one features the Uilleann Pipes which call to me from within the song and the sections with the male choir never fail to send shivers up my spine. Turn this up loud and lose yourself in the theatre of Kate’s world.

“Mary And The Soldier” by Paul Brady and Andy Irvine (Andy Irvine and Paul Brady 1976)
In my opinion one of the greatest singers and interpreters of traditional music performing what is now THE definitive version of this Irish Folk song collected by Sam Henry. His vocal phrasing and style are incredible and only matched by his innovative and unparalleled Guitar playing…often copied but never ever matched, this is a song that I return to again and again, it’s an absolute classic and I hope you love it as much as I do.

“Mon Amour, Ma Cherie” by Amadou & Mariam (Mali to Memphis, 1999)
Taken from a compilation album exploring the links between the American Blues and African traditional melodies and rhythms. This is never off my phone and always gets played in the car when we’re on long journeys. I love the rhythm, the vocals and that guitar that sounds like its coming out of a transistor radio…it has to be listened to loud and i’m always harmonising along with it. Our kids absolutely LOVE this track.

“Wrong Foot Forward” by Flook (Haven, 2005)
Flook are a traditional band from the Ireland/UK who have never failed to amaze me. Featuring the unbelievable whistle playing of Brain Finnegan, the Worlds finest Bodhran player John Joe Kelly, One of the greatest traditional accompanist on acoustic guitar, Ed Boyd and the fantastic Sarah Allen on Flute. This sums up everything that is moving, beautiful, astonishing, dramatic, evocative and original in instrumental folk music…it really doesn’t get much better than this! Listen out for the great interplay between the whistle and flute.

“The Parting Glass” by Cara Dillon (Hill Of Thieves, 2008)
Well it might appear strange putting one of our own songs in this list but it’s one of the few tracks i’ve recorded that stop me in my tracks and gives me the same feeling I have when i’m singing it live on stage. This song speaks to me on so many different levels. It was recorded shortly after the extremely premature birth of our twin boys back in late 2006 and I think all the emotions we felt during that traumatic period seem to come to the fore in this song. We still close every live set with it to this day and it always has a big impact.

“Shed A Little Light” by Winter Mountain (Winter Mountain, 2013)
This duo were our first signing to Charcoal Records which is the label set up by Sam and me in 2008 and this was the song that confirmed to us that Winter Mountain were the real deal. Their vocals work so well together and the vibe on this track really motors along. It has a crunchy sound and was recorded in some of the the best vintage/analogue recording studios in the country. Listen out for the licks and solo from guitar legend Robbie McIntosh who worked on this album for next to nothing because he loved the music so much.

“Tundra Swans” by Barnaby Taylor, BBC Concert Orchestra & UK Chinese Ensemble
(Wild China, Original Soundtrack, 2008)

This is a short piece of incidental music from the amazing BBC series “Wild China”. It reminds me of everything that is stately and elegant that can be found in China with a pleasant nod to their traditional melodies. I’ve had the pleasure of touring there on several occasions and it’s a remarkable country with as much dark as there is light. This piece is just so evocative and transports me back there every time I hear it.

Cara Dillon’s album A Thousand Hearts is out now.
She will be performing on the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System tent at WOMAD on Sunday 26th July

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