Connie Dover

If Ever I Return

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Connie Dover has a voice that rings like a crystal bell. Whether singing cowboy songs or forlorn Irish love ballads, she can make angels appear and dance in your head. But while critics across the country have rhapsodized about her voice, what is often overlooked is her ability to write strikingly beautiful original music in traditional idioms (an ability overlooked probably because you would rarely guess that her original tunes aren't ageless folk melodies). On this disc, she sets the Gaelic poem "Fear an Bhata" to a lovely, haunting tune and also offers a stately air dedicated to the memory of her paternal grandmother. Elsewhere, she covers such traditional fare as "Lady Keith's Lament," a song of longing for the return of the Scottish monarchy, and the heartbroken "How Can I Live at the Top of the Mountain?" She sings in French on "La Fontaine" (set to another original tune) and comes up with an interesting major-key arrangement of the traditional Appalachian song "Shady Grove." This disc finds her using a bit more percussion and synthesizer than usual, a move which might cause some die-hard traditionalists to raise an eyebrow, but her exquisite singing will erase any doubts.

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