Carol Kleyn “Return of the Silkie” (Drag City)

If harpist Carol Kleyn‘s second album, Takin’ the Time, was her attempt to take her sound into a more mainstream direction, her third album, Return of the Silkie, released in 1983, brings her back to the sound she excelled at: haunting and hauntingly beautiful music that defies easy categorization. One cannot easily pigeonhole Kleyn; her sound blends folk, new age, and world music into a sound that is wholly her own. The opening title track is a drop-dead beautiful instrumental that’s just her playing her harp, whilst the sounds of the sea and oceanic life accompany her gently in the background. The rest of the album doesn’t vary one iota from the formula that she lays down. Kleyn’s voice is unique; very few artists come to mind when trying to compare her haunting and timeless falsetto, and songs like “River’s Calling” and “Lorelei” are positively otherworldly.  Kleyn’s still making music, thankfully; what she does is original enough and compelling enough to give her a cult following–of which I now proudly count myself a member.

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