Album Reviews

Dawn McCarthy: Traveller Returning (Circa 1997-2000) (Drag City)

traveller returning circa 1997-2000

Dawn McCarthy
Traveller Returning (Circa 1997-2000)
Drag City

Dawn McCarthy is best known as the husky-voiced front woman of the band Faun Fables, but is of an apocryphal nature, capturing her music-making activities from before she started that project, and before her psychedelic folk came to be know (somewhat derisively) as “freak folk.”  This cassette/digital collection illustrates the sound of a young woman finding her voice. Over nine tracks that alternate between live performances and properly recorded tracks–several of which would be found in a more complete form on her debut album as Dawn The Faun, (later reissued as a Faun Fables record entitled Early Song)–one can’t help but be impressed with her range.  The opening track, “Old Village Churchyard” is the highlight of the tape, with her young voice sounding positively ageless as she sings a haunted tale. The title track and “Mother Twilight”  highlight not only her voice and her songwriting, but her nuanced guitar playing as well. The live tracks are of very rough quality, but “Hela” and “Only A Miner” show that her vocal prowess is the real deal. (Don’t miss “Bliss,” either, where she yodels impressively!) This collection might be for the more devoted fan, but it’s definitely an enjoyable listen, regardless.

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