Karan Casey is one of the most influential and imitated vocalists in Irish and American folk music; a natural innovator, she proves that the ancient and the modern make excellent bedfellows. On Ships in the Forest, her fifth solo album and debut with the Compass Records Group, Casey’s warm, soulful voice ebbs and flows around ballads both timely and timeless. Produced once again by Donald Shaw (of Capercaillie fame), the album was recorded at Casey’s home in County Cork and features the members of her current touring band, Caoimhín Vallely (piano), Kate Ellis (cello) and Robbie Overson (guitar) along with special guests Kris Drever, Niall Vallely and Cillian Vallely.
The songs found on Ships in the Forest range from fresh arrangements of tried and true folk standards (“Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” and “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”) to “The Fiddle and the Drum”, Joni Mitchell’s 1969 anti-war madrigal and Martin Furey’s newly-composed “The Town of Athlone”. Casey says of the album: “I feel that this is by far my most ambitious album to date. I think it has taken me all my years as a singer to come to the point of feeling confident enough to tackle the big songs within the traditional repertoire.”
As well as touring extensively with her own band, over the past two years Karan has performed with Peggy Seeger, Liam Clancy, Solas, Lunasa, Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Karen Matheson and Donald Shaw and was involved in Mick Moloney and Paul Wagner’s Absolutely Irish film project which will be screened on PBS in 2008.
New ventures for 2008 include The Vallely Brother’s Big Band, Karan and Seamus Egan’s new project involving Aoife O’Donovan and Lau, and Niall Vallely’s “Turas na dTaoiseach/Flight of the Earl’s” event, which was premiered in Belfast’s Grand Opera House in November 2007 and is to be repeated during 2008 in Louvain, Belgium.
Casey began 2008 with critically acclaimed appearances at the renowned Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and will be touring North America throughout February and March.