Cara Luft 'Darlingford' - Blue Case Tunes

This release marks the third recording from Canadian singer songwriter Cara Luft. One of the founding members and creative sources behind the Wailin’ Jennies, Cara has been following her own star since departing in 2004.

The release of her first CD back in year 2000, Tempting the Storm, saw Cara begin to forge the solo career that has taken her folk/roots influences through the release of  The Light Fantastic in 2007, now followed by Darlingford, a collection of 13 engaging  songs that are both a varied and stimulating listening experience.

Despite attempts to  box her off into a particular genre of music, Cara Luft spans a whole range of influences, from traditional banjo tunes to English folk songs, roots based arrangements and  cover versions of songs that have touched this very gifted artist.

We have an impressive line- up of musicians on the recording with 15 separate talents credited on the liner notes, plus a string quartet. The songs were recorded on location in several old churches, living rooms, hotel rooms and studios spanning Canada, England and the USA.

There is always a risk in such a diverse recording that the parts are too spread and take away from a cohesive whole.  Happily this is not the case here and the overall feel is seamless as we are given songs of lost love coupled with the aspiration that only love can save in the end.

A cover  version of Mike Scott’s Bring ‘Em All In is particularly arresting and a superb version of She Moved through the Fair sits easily alongside  My Darling One, a song originally penned as a poem/prayer by Cara’s mother when her daughter was travelling the miles in pursuit of a career in music.

Portland Town is a sad lament of a parent for children lost in in a war and Idaho tells the tale of an Aunt who holds strong right-wing views that sit uneasily with the writer. The production and musicianship is of the highest quality and makes for an entertaining 50 minutes plus.

The redemptive nature of many songs is summed up perfectly in the opening track Only Love Can Save Me with the lines – ‘I’m shedding all the pain inside me, burning fires through the night; Rub the ashes all over my body, take a step into the light’.

Review by Paul McGee