Friday, April 9, 2010

Lynn Hilary: "Take Me with You"

Ok, sorry for disappearing for a month. I had to think of what music review to do next, as there are several Celtic CDs I want to do. For now, I'll review the solo album of new Celtic Woman member Lynn Hilary.

Since my first Celtic Woman show was in 2009 (despite discovering the group in early 2006), I was not acquainted with Lynn and her voice very well besides recordings that made their way on youtube. From what I did hear, I thought she had a nice voice though could not stand up to Meav. I still think that way for reasons that I will talk about later. Anyway, it was because of this that I did not buy Lynn's album or listen to it in great detail for a while. However, listening to it on pandora, lala, and youtube, I was convinced it was good and ended up buying it for eight dollars in MP3 form (cheaper than paying $20 for it at a Celtic Woman concert or paying $15 for it on Amazon). And now, on to the review.

" Melody of Life"

The album opens up to a gentle piano piece accompanied by a fiddle and Lynn's quiet voice. It is a very pretty song.

" Swimming in the Barrow"

The pace picks up with this John McGlynn song (it was actually because of this song that I discovered and fell in love with the original). It's nice, but I prefer McGlynn's solo version.

" Erin Beo"

A minor theme of this album is the departure of the Irish to America due to the Potato Famine, and this quiet song is the first out the two to discuss this. The depressing tone of the song turns hopeful and brighter during the chorus. A pretty and haunting piece.

" Sunset of Gold"

This song is a duet between Lynn and Don Mescall, who worked with her on this album in co-writing songs and such. It takes on a more intimate, jazz feel with the guitar, singing about sailing away from the bustle of the world.

" Carolina Rua"

Because Celtic Woman decided not to air their version of this song, I have grown to love this one. Lynn sings about a boy's crush on a girl named Carolina and is accompanied by her guitar. I like this version better than Celtic Woman's because this one captures the air of childhood innocence present in the song, rather than trying to turn it into a "Dulaman" or "Si Do Mhaimeo".

" Annie Watches"

This song, written by Lynn and by Anuna's John McGlynn (who wrote "Swimming in the Barrow"), is a gentle love song.

" What Makes the Sun Set?"

Another lovely jazz song with the piano and electric guitar.

" Take Me with You"

This song is probably one of the prettiest ones on the album and one of the more haunting ones. Once you hear it, you will never forget it.

" Shona Mara"

The immigration theme re-appears on this song about two lovers who are separated when one crosses the ocean and leaves the other behind. A tragic love song.

" Slan Le Maigh"

The only traditional song on the album is sung acapella. A pretty piece and one where Lynn slightly shows off on the high notes.

" Road to Glory"

Lynn picks up the pace with something fast-paced. Sung to the same tune as "Fields of Glory" (performed by The High Kings), this song talks about people searching for meaning in life.

" Angel Doves"

The album closes out with this Mindy Smith cover. It is a quieter piece but has a hopeful air about it.

A big plus about this album is that, which is rare to find, there is not one song on here that I dislike. I do have favorites, of course, but the entire album is beautiful. One thing that I really like about it is that this is pure Lynn, what her style of music is, and it perfectly suits her and her quiet, shy personality. This, to me, is what defines her, and not the songs she has performed with Celtic Woman (as I think they're forcing her into Meav's shoes). I wish they would let her do more of her own style, but I'm not going to go down that road.

I give the album four and a half stars out of five.