Karan Casey: Hieroglyphs that Tell the Tale review – A great leap forward
Hieroglyphs That Tell The Tale
Karan Casey’s latest album is revelatory. She’s always been a singer of songs that tell a story and show their muscle. But this collection sees her step into a space that’s likely to appeal equally to fans of alt-country and Irish folk alike.
Her opening cover of Dylan’s Hollis Brown is a triumph: producer, Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw and engineer Seán Óg Graham support her to soar higher and further than ever before, and her telling of the tale of that South Dakota massacre is strangely resonant of these times we live in.
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Her reading of Janice Ian’s I’m Still Standing Here and of Eliza Gilkyson’s Man of God are remarkably comfortable bedfellows with the traditional Sixteen Come Next Sunday, all connected by the subtlest arrangements, with Niall Vallely on tiptoeing concertina, Michael McGoldrick on flute and contributing vocals from Karen Matheson, Aoife O’Donovan, Niamh Dunne and others.
This is a strikingly three-dimensional work that stands the test of intensive and repeated listening with ease. A vivid and dazzling snapshot of Casey invincible, at the height of her powers.