Lavelle’s music is often classified as either Celtic or New Age, or both. It definitely has elements from those genres, but her music holds a depth and intense, almost trip-hop beat that is absent from other Celtic/New Age acts like Enya and Clannad. This is most likely due to the influence of William Orbit, who worked on many of the songs on the album. Caroline also has a powerfully deep, rich voice that reminds me a little of PJ Harvey. In fact, back when I first heard her on World Cafe, I thought she was PJ Harvey until she introduced herself.
Spirit features traditional Celtic songs like “Moorlough Shore”, as well as a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” reworked for what is simultaneously a modern and ancient sound. The album also has several original songs written by Lavelle and William Orbit, like “Dream of Picasso” (written, as I recall, after a dream she had of a recently departed friend).
In addition to her solo work, Caroline is an accomplished cello player who has collaborated with bands like The Pogues and The Chieftains. I saw her perform with The Chieftains and Allison Moorer a few years ago, and her voice is even more captivating live.