I love it when an artist stretches him or herself. Cara Dillon has done it most wonderfully on Coming Home.

Cara Dillon the poet. It begins there. Covid lockdown had many side benefits alongside the negatives we tend to be drawn to first. Artists who doodled and found something or even more exciting, something else. Dillon used the time to write poetry about home.

It all found its way onto this spoken word record that occasionally breaks to song. Dillon’s long time hubby and musical companion, Sam of the dynasty of Lakeman, then adds rolling piano and finger picking guitar, never garish - just right.

Like all such experiments, it could have tumbled down around them but quite the opposite - it lands in near perfection.

And there is more… not only an immaculately adorned album with beautiful photographs but also a hard back book that goes deeper still into each and every track and a few extras. Dillon has mastered the prose as well.

If I spoke of an artist finding her voice then it would be a perfect lead into Dillon’s north east of Northern Ireland’s accent. She’s a country girl Ms Dillon and we get it loud and clear. Of course being from just 40 miles east of her, in another accent betrayed place, I am loving it. 

Once I had heard the record I found myself hearing the prose in that voice. All about people and place, particularly family and Dungiven at the foothills of the Sperrins. Her mother is all over this and family going back in time, family around her still and family looking forward. Being Northern Irish it is very near my experience but just that wee bit different too. It all made me want to go deep diving among my own people and place.

It could be seen as a goodbye to innocence, Dillon seeing her own life through the age of her own children. It's about having a refuge when all is lonely or hurt or broken. During Covid a very needed and romantic place. Maybe heightened in our memories as such.

Yet, not all is safe. The poem Inishowen is a reminder that we all were touched by those decades of The Troubles. She tells this part of our upbringing well.

Over all I am really taken with this. I have made a spoken word record myself. Over 20 years ago I recorded an album withs singer songwriter Sam Hill Jr. We tried to keep my spoken word pieces in the discipline of the verse which Cara doesn’t often do. It makes me think there is more here. With these new strings to her bow Cara can take the writing in even more directions. 

Until then... this is an artist fulfilling her vocation. 


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