Finally, the much-anticipated duo project from Karan Casey and John Doyle, “Exiles Return” on Compass Records, will be released on Feb. 16, 2010. If you’ve never heard of these two founding members of Irish supergroup Solas, crawl out of your cave and check this out. If you have heard their previous work, you know why Fiddlefreak is excited about this release.
With guest appearances from producer Dirk Powell (banjo, couble bass) and Michael McGoldrick (flute, whistle), Casey and Doyle forge an Irish-American folk music that transcends its genre to become great. Karan Casey’s little-girl vocals float like a seagull above Doyle’s guitar, which dances upon the surface of the sea, both stormy and serene. His oft-imitated trademark strummage and fingerstyle remain, as always, unnassailable; likewise his voice both strong and smooth. The mostly-traditional material is lively and bittersweet, as good Irish music should be, and one of the songs (Exiles Return) is a rare John Doyle original. Arguably the top Irish vocalist and the top Irish guitarist offer here a poignant collection of songs that is already garnering airplay from folk DJs. Fiddlefreak recommended!