Happy New Year!

A very happy new year to all of you! The last few months have been busy, to say the least, what with gigs in Holland, Belgium, Ireland and the UK, the release in October of I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning and most recently the launch of Crow Coyote Buffalo – the debut album from Mama, my new band with fellow singer-songwriter Zoë Pollock. Both CDs have been getting airplay around the globe and brilliant reviews; those of you who are on the Mama mailing list will have already seen the press quotes for that one (if you’re not on the Mama mailing list and would like to be, visit www.mamamusic.co.uk to sign up). Here’s a sampling of what the critics have been saying about I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning:

“Her singing has shades of Baez minus the operatic warble and Gillian Welch without so much Nashville twang.” – Spiral Earth

“Her own songwriting is beautifully spare ... a melancholy but somehow celebratory collection.” – The Irish Times

“One of those rare things, a very lovely personal album but also an incredibly good introduction to Appalachian folk music. Highly recommended.” – Americana UK

“Quietly expressive and supremely affecting performances ... Not a weak link anywhere in earshot ... This is a truly lovely record.” – NetRhythms

“The depth and warmth of McQuaid’s voice is best sampled on the a cappella ‘The Wagoner’s Lad’, while the hymn ‘Wondrous Love’ is truly spine-tingling ... A touching album from a genuine artist.” – Hot Press

The CD has had airplay on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Late Junction’ and ‘World On 3’, RTE Radio 1, BBC Wales, BBC Ulster, BBC Shropshire, BBC Leeds, BBC Cornwall, BBC Gloucestershire, Blast FM (Reading), AllFM (Manchester) and VRN Radio (Kircaldy) among others. It’s been played on WDIY-FM (Pennsylvania), WFDU-FM (New Jersey) and KMSU (Minnesota); and over in New South Wales, Australia, it was the featured album on Bruce Cameron’s 2MCE-FM show ‘Come All Ye’ on 28 December.

You can read the full text of all the reviews on the PRESS page, where you’ll also find a nice video from my November show at Toogenblik in Brussels. I’ve also put loads of new photos: some great shots of the gig I did at the Seamus Ennis Centre in Navan with Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne (and a magical evening it was – the three of us did the gig together, with Graham putting some lovely guitar touches on my songs and me harmonising with Niamh where I could); a friendly cuppa with Colum Sands at Groucho’s in Richhill; brandishing a magnificent Halloween pumpkin with Pamela Wyn Shannon at Woodend Barn in Banchory, Scotland; and playing my heart out at the Ards Guitar Festival despite having spent the previous night being violently ill with a tummy bug!

I’m heading off this evening for a short run of gigs in Holland, getting the sleeper train to London and then on to Groningen via Brussels. I’ll be at various locations around the UK in early spring, then heading over to Holland again in February and to Ireland in April. As always, tour dates are listed on the CALENDAR page. Many thanks for your support, and I wish you a happy and healthy 2009!

All the best,