[Release date 06.10.17]
The follow up to Dublin-based singer songwriter Ciara Sidine’s excellent debut Shadow Road Shining (2011) has been a while coming.
Unbroken Line follows the same pattern in featuring a self-written set, with the exception of a haunting re-arrangement of ‘Woman Of Constant Sorrow’, again drawing on Americana roots and country blues, to deliver a critique of Irish society past and present.
Co-produced by Sidine and Conor Brady (guitars), the other core players of Justin Carroll (keyboards), and Dave Hingarty (drums) remain, this time around, supported by some of Ireland’s finest players.
Unlike many contemporaries, traditional Irish influences rarely surface, and while the vocal and band performance are once again impeccable, Unbroken Line has an altogether more doleful, and introspective feel, bearing more immediate comparison to artists like Vaya Con Dios, Mary Black, and Billie Holiday rather than some of the more contemporary crossover appeal that peppered Shadow Road Shining.
The album reaffirms Sidine as one of the best vocalists to emerge in the vast Americana field in recent years, but whereas Shadow Road Shining offered the prospect of widespread appeal, Unbroken Line retreats to more unsullied roots.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the performance, but for me Unbroken Line doesn’t have quite the same number of sweet spot hooks as her debut. Whether that’s a deliberate directional shift, or a tricky second album failing, only time will tell, but nevertheless Unbroken Line has ‘quality’ stamped all through it. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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