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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 27 May 2017
Such a talented performer. This album has already seen air play on our Roots Show. Outstanding! I wish I could give the album six stars.
The Roots Collective are on FaceBook.
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on 27 July 2017
Excellent
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on 24 September 2013
very pleased with cd, was a great music and very much enjoyed, one of my best purchaces so far thanks
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on 4 February 2009
It's great to hear this undervalued British gem of a singer finally return to her roots - finding her true strength in the process. Abandoning the commercial, glossy sheen and confused attempted crossover songwriting of her last release - Cara and husband Sam have produced an understated masterpiece of an album.

The album's strength lies in its simplicity. Perfect arrangements, subtle vocals and spot-on production give the album a fresh, uplifting yet haunting feel. It's great to hear such a compelling, timeless combination of traditional intruments in the arrangements - Cara's voice floating above it all with an ethereal quality. The perfect combination of traditional and contemporary.

For me - it's the beautiful piano ballads such as The Parting Glass, False False and She Moved Through the Fair that really stand out. But really - the whole album is nothing short of outstanding.

I have an eclectic taste in music as a 32 year-old guitarist (everything from blues to funk to heavy metal), discovering the folk/nu-folk scene some years ago now and have been hooked ever since. In an age where seemingly only the most crass of musical output seems to end up in the charts and on the radar of the collective British consciousness - it's great to hear 'music' is still alive and well (a subjective opinion of course). If you have yet to dip your toe in the water - think a credible version of the Coors without all the commercial cr*p (i'm going to cop some flak for that one).

Give it a couple of spins and you'll be hooked.
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To add to the other excellent and detailed reviews here - I'll throw in my Dublin/Irish tuppence worth and say that this is a truly gorgeous album - probably one of the loveliest listens I've had pass by my weary ears in yonks.

I've been aware of Northern Ireland’s Cara Dillon (she’s from Dungiven in County Derry) for some time now. On her lovely "Cara Dillon" debut album in 2001, she did a cover version of a particular favourite of mine - "Black Is The Colour". It was a piano-led/guitar folk take on the famous ballad and it was brilliant. And that delicate as silk voice too - I thought - now here's a talent.

With January 2009's "Hill Of Thieves" (on Charcoal CHARCD002 - Barcode 805520212717) - CARA DILLON realizes all of that potential. She also settles down and goes for the full-on-folk album - and like Kate Rusby - or even Andrea Corr - she knocks you sideways with the beauty of her voice and the clever choices of interpreted Traditional Airs (all bar the opener "Hill Of Thieves" are Traditional Songs arranged and interpreted by both Dillon and SAM LAKEMAN, her keyboardist & husband).

1. The Hill Of Thieves
2. Johnny, Lovely Johnny
3. The Parting Glass
4. Spencer The Rover
5. False, False
6. Jimmy Mo Mile Stor
7. She Moved Through The Fair
8. P Stands For Paddy (Lament For Johnny)
9. The Verdant Braes Of Skreen
10. The Lass Of Glenshire
11. Fil, Fil A Run O

Another fave of mine is "Spencer The Rover", which I first heard covered by JOHN MARTYN on his wonderful "Sunday's Child" album on Island in early 1975 (lyrics above). Cara Dillon does a very different take on it, and for me it's ‘the' highlight on here. With his tragic loss still fresh in our minds, I think Iain David McGeachy would give this version a great big Scottish nod - it's gorgeous - it really, really is.

Also worth nothing is that while Sam Lakeman plays on all the tracks and co-arranges all the songs; SETH LAKEMAN (his brother) duets with her on "Spencer" - and also plays Tenor Guitar and fiddle on the tune. And that would be my only complaint about the album – it’s that when Cara and ‘Seth’ duet - there's a perfect harmony magic that takes place - and I only wish there was more of it on here. Only on the one track I'm afraid.

Cara also does a serenely peaceful version of the Londonderry Air "She Moved Through The Fair" while "Jimmy Mo Mile Stor" sounds like a great Planxty/Bothy Band reel - with perfectly complimentary Flutes and Uileann Pipes. Made me tingle and think of home. In fact the whole album is one of the loveliest CDs of Folk Music I’ve heard in many-a-year.

If you're new to the lady and her gentle magic - then prepare to punish that credit-crunched plastic of yours again in the next few weeks - because you'll want every album she's ever done after buying this...
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on 8 December 2008
I bought this (pre-release) CD at a Cara Dillon concert in October and it's really superb. The title song is co-written by Cara and Sam Lakeman,all other tracks are traditional songs arranged by Cara and Sam. My favourite track is Spencer the Rover,but all are excellent - so much so that I've been playing it daily.
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on 8 May 2010
I hope you guys don't mind a few words from a Cara Dillon fan in the States. I heard a song by Cara about a year ago on the radio. It was filler music on a talk radio program, the Dennis Miller Show I think. Not sure. I remember sitting here mesmerized. They didn't give her name so I had to write in and beg them to tell me who it was. Since then I have purchased every CD that Cara has produced and faithfully followed her developing career. Apart from her beautiful voice, what strikes me about Cara Dillon is the integrity of her music. That shows in her selection of music, as well as in her deliberate flight from the established marketing channels and companies. Hill of Thieves is her best collection so far, though you would have to use force to part me from any of her CDs. The Parting Glass is probably my favorite in this collection, though the acapella "Fil,Fil a Run O" still makes my heart skip a beat after hearing it many, many times now. I am proud to be an American, but it does sadden me that we in this country cannot produce anything close to Cara. I for one am thankful that there is an Ireland, and that it gave heart and soul to this beautiful young woman. If she were the only thing I knew of Ireland, I would love the country well! I do hope that Cara and Sam know how much joy they have brought to fans, some even as far away as Virginia in the USA. I doubt that I will ever be able to see them in person, but if any of you have the chance, do please tell them that they have friends in the States who love what they are doing.
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on 2 January 2009
I concur with the many detailed and positive responses in the other reviews on here about Cara and her husband Sam's beautifully executed album "Hill of Thieves". What may be a surprise is how many reviews there are for an album not on general release, but I bought five signed copies at a wonderful Cara Concert in Tunbridge Wells, back in November 2008, two of these crossed the Atlantic to New York and California, one went in the opposite direction to Germany and another to a mate in Uckfield, for his mother's Christmas Present. I know that two signed albums bought in California headed to Italy and England, so the word has got about just how very excellent this album really is, from Cara devotees that know her work, from Mike Harding on Radio 2 who loves this album to bits and soon all you lucky people out there will be able to buy the "Hill of Thieves" album and discover that we were all not exaggerating one little bit. Personally, my favourite track is "The Verdant Braes of Skreen" and you can check out my video of a superb live performance on YouTube, that two months on still sends tingles up my spine.
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on 12 March 2009
Cara's last album Into The Morning pulled three ways. The question was, which of those paths would she head down next time around? Would she breeze down the folk-tinged-pop highway? Would she rest in the valley of traditional song awhile? Or would she take the road less travelled and develop her song writing against husband Sam's sparse but perfectly poised accompaniments?

The good news is that she has abandoned the first of those routes. There is nothing that could be confused with the Corrs here. Never In A Million Years.

At first glance she has taken route two. 10 of 11 songs here are traditional. But it doesn't take much of a listen to what she and husband Sam have done with them, to realise that they have made an intensely personal and original album. They have taken 10 traditional songs, and made them their own.

This isn't just a case of Cara singing these songs from the heart, although she does that. The partnership of Cara and husband Sam is an equal music. These performances would be nothing without his unique way of stripping down a song to it's simplest skein of melody, then reassembling it with amazing poise and clarity.

Such is their achievement that the one completely self penned number here - the opening `Hill of Thieves' - a great song in its own right - does not stand out.

Second Song `Johnny, Lovely Johnny' is perfectly presented, but lacks that edge, that focus, that sets their best arrangements apart.

But then come three songs that show two masters at work. We know that Cara can do yearning, and weariness. But did we know that she could do them like she does them on `The Parting Glass' ? Just listen to the way she savours `All the sweethearts', pauses momentarily - continues - `that ere', - little stumble - I've had'. This is beyond making a song personal. Cara and Sam are like thieves, that having been caught with a precious artwork, point to the edge of the canvas - where their names are written, with a layer of dust ground into them.

And things get better. They take John Martyn's hazy eyed version of Spencer the Rover and turn it inside out. They replace his introverted dreaming with bold arcs of melody, and turn it into a real anthem to roving and returning. They have created this huge spaciousness before, most effectively with `Bonnie Bonnie' on their Sweet Liberty album. I cannot help thinking that Cara and Sam could give us a new musical genre - `Stadium Folk', where the expansive passion of U2's Where The Streets Have No Names' strides across the wilds of the western shores of the British Isles.

To some people Cara's voice is nice, lovely even - but too sweet, not enough meat. They have been looking at what she doesn't have, and ignoring what she has in spades. When she sings she gives voice to three ages of woman at the same time. There is the young woman, but also a child to one side of her, and a weary older soul to the other. These three voices singing as one on False, False make it absolutely devastating. No longer is this just a song about the betrayal of an adult. When Cara sings it is as if an adult has betrayed a child, turning that child into an old woman before her time.

On the album goes, one telling arrangement after another. Each one a borrowing turned into an original.

This album is a triumph.
22 Comments| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
To add to the other excellent and detailed reviews here - I'll throw in my Dublin/Irish tuppence worth and say that this is a truly gorgeous album - probably one of the loveliest listens I've had pass by my weary ears in yonks.

I've been aware of Northern Ireland’s Cara Dillon (she’s from Dungiven in County Derry) for some time now. On her lovely "Cara Dillon" debut album in 2001, she did a cover version of a particular favourite of mine - "Black Is The Colour". It was a piano-led/guitar folk take on the famous ballad and it was brilliant. And that delicate as silk voice too - I thought - now here's a talent.

With January 2009’s "Hill Of Thieves" (on Charcoal CHARCD002 - Barcode 805520212717) CARA DILLON realizes all of that potential. She also settles down and goes for the full-on-folk album - and like Kate Rusby - or even Andrea Corr - she knocks you sideways with the beauty of her voice and the clever choices of interpreted Traditional Airs (all bar the opener "Hill Of Thieves" are Traditional Songs arranged and interpreted by both Dillon and SAM LAKEMAN, her keyboardist & husband).

1. The Hill Of Thieves
2. Johnny, Lovely Johnny
3. The Parting Glass
4. Spencer The Rover
5. False, False
6. Jimmy Mo Mile Stor
7. She Moved Through The Fair
8. P Stands For Paddy (Lament For Johnny)
9. The Verdant Braes Of Skreen
10. The Lass Of Glenshire
11. Fil, Fil A Run O

Another fave of mine is "Spencer The Rover", which I first heard covered by JOHN MARTYN on his wonderful "Sunday's Child" album on Island in early 1975 (lyrics above). Cara Dillon does a very different take on it, and for me it's ‘the' highlight on here. With his tragic loss still fresh in our minds, I think Iain David McGeachy would give this version a great big Scottish nod - it's gorgeous - it really, really is.

Also worth nothing is that while Sam Lakeman plays on all the tracks and co-arranges all the songs; SETH LAKEMAN (his brother) duets with her on "Spencer" - and also plays Tenor Guitar and fiddle on the tune. And that would be my only complaint about the album – it’s that when Cara and ‘Seth’ duet - there's a perfect harmony magic that takes place - and I only wish there was more of it on here. Only on the one track I'm afraid.

Cara also does a serenely peaceful version of the Londonderry Air "She Moved Through The Fair" while "Jimmy Mo Mile Stor" sounds like a great Planxty/Bothy Band reel - with perfectly complimentary Flutes and Uileann Pipes. Made me tingle and think of home. In fact the whole album is one of the loveliest CDs of Folk Music I’ve heard in many-a-year.

If you're new to the lady and her gentle magic - then prepare to punish that credit-crunched plastic of yours again in the next few weeks - because you'll want every album she's ever done after buying this...
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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