Cara Dillon wins hearts and minds on new album

Victor Ariat

Smooth sailing for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

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According to the press release accompanying Cara Dillon’s first new album in five years, the stunning A Thousand Hearts, she is ‘folk’s first lady.’

But when she is told this, she giggles and demurs: ‘Am I? I didn’t know that. I just get on with it and do what I do.

‘I feel blessed that I get to go out on the road with my husband and have these amazing experiences.

‘I don’t know what that’s all about though, that’s quite funny.’

Although this is only Cara’s fifth album since her self-titled 2001 debut, she hasn’t been dragging her heels.

‘I know it looks like we haven’t been doing anything, but I’ve been kind of flat out,’ she explains.

As well as bringing up her twin boys, Cara also gave birth to a daughter in 2010. And with husband and musical partner Sam Lakeman, she set up Charcoal Records, through which they’ve launched a new act, Winter Mountain.

She was also invited to Abbey Road studios to sing the opening song for Disney’s Tinker Bell 3 in 2010, They liked her so much she also ended up recording a song over the closing credits.

By the time it came to recording a new album, she says: ‘The bulk of the material is traditional songs that I’d grown up listening to.

‘There’s a wealth of songs from the little town I grew up in County Derry. It all comes down to which ones float our boat at the time.

‘The kind of music, we do, these traditional songs, they’re timeless. They find a way to be heard.’

But they also cover more modern songs too, including River, Run, by ’90s indie obscurities Suddenly, Tammy!

‘We’ve known this song since we were 19, and we’ve been playing it in soundcheck for years and I said, why don’t we record it? The girl who wrote it is a music teacher in New York now. We contacted her to ask if we could record it and she was over the moon that we knew her music. We’ve had a lot of people say it’s their favourite song on the album.’

Cara is at Winchester’s Theatre Royal on Sunday.

Doors open 7.30pm and tickets are £21.

Go to theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk or call 01962 840440.