North Back Lane Records***
After a long absence from the music business, Mary Dillon (formerly of Déanta) returns with this soft-focus, genteel collection. She has chosen songs of longing and prolonged absence, though with a mellow flavour. Dillon’s voice is almost as sweet as her sister, Cara’s, though at times its breathy quality makes it sound as though it is straining at its own leash, for example on Edward On Lough Erne Shore. Keen arrangements, particularly those of Neil Martin on cello and Brendan Mulholland on flute, help matters, but though individually they may be sweet, cumulatively Dillon’s treatments fail to reveal anything new in her mostly well-worn song choices. Her own composition, The Boatman, however, suggests a writer intimately acquainted with the conventions of traditional songsmithery. A taste of things to come, perhaps?