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Susan McKeown & Lindsey Horner

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Traditional Celtic folk/rock contemporary folk


Most recent release as this combo, Mighty Rain (1998)

See also:

WIkipedia's entry on Susan McKeown

Susan McKeown's Facebook page

Lindsey Horner's site

WIkipedia's entry on Lindsey Horner

The Ectophiles' Guide entries for Susan McKeown's solo work, Susan McKeown and The Chanting House, her work with Cathie Ryan and Robin Spielberg, and her work with Johnny Cunningham


Susan McKeown's solo work

Covers/own material:

Mostly own material, though traditional songs and well-placed covers crop up occasionally as well.

General comments:

The conjunction of the gorgeous-voiced Susan McKeown and multinstrumentalist Lindsey Horner is a charming and powerful match. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Mighty Rain


Through The Bitter Frost and Snow

Release info:

1996—Upshot/Sheila-na-Gig Music, 138 West 15th St., New York, NY 10011 (


A limited number available directly from Sheila-na-Gig Music, or at shows

Group members:

Susan McKeown—vocals
Lindsey Horner—acoustic bass, acoustic bass guitar

Produced by:

Lindsey Horner, Susan McKeown and Gust Tsilis


The CD release is about twice as long as the tape release, with six new tracks added. All of the tracks that appeared on the tape were re-recorded, and in most cases the new versions have more complex arrangements that involve more instruments (and players). If you liked the tape I think you will *love* the CD. :) I loved the tape, so of course I love the expanded and reworked cd version even more. (

Well I am now the proud owner of the long-awaited Susan McKeown/Lindsey Horner traditional/non-traditional christmas/non-christmas general-wintery holiday-type tape entitled Through the Bitter Frost and Snow. it's a lovely pairing of just bass and voice, a mix of songs I sorta knew, like "Coventry Carol" and "Auld Lang Syne" (no, not the icky new year's eve version!) plus some old (we're talking 16th century here) songs i'd never heard, and some new McKeown & Horner originals. it's got a very intimate sound, kinda like Susan and Lindsey are just playing for you in the living room. (

It looks like Loreena McKennitt's To Drive the Cold Winter Away finally has some competition for coolest seasonal album. This is one of the best seasonal albums ever. Didja know "Auld Lang Syne" could be so beautiful? Bet Burns didn't! I'd almost forgotten what a farking brilliant album this is.... It *really* made me wish for winter. Through the Bitter Frost and Snow is indeed mostly xmas music, and I personally find it a bit tiresome getting through the heavily jesus-y songs. But the album is still worth owning, if only for "Auld Lang Syne." Or the title track. Or "The Mountain King." Or "Bold Orion." Or "Green Grow'th the Ivy." Or "When All the Songs Were Sad." All tracks individually worth owning it for, but to be blessed with them all in one place? Actually, I really do like almost the entire disc. Mostly traditional material, though a few songs were written by Susan and/or Lindsey, and "Bold Orion" is a modern cover. Some of it grates on me (clearly, my tolerance for xmas music is rather low), but I'd gladly have paid twice the price just for her version of "Auld Lang Syne." But frankly, there are so many standout pieces on this album that it really belongs in any self-respecting collection. (

Another plug for Through The Bitter Frost and Snow. Traditional and original winter music that holds up to listening even in July. I've been listening to it more closely, and it just keeps getting better and better. Even if you don't normally go for "Christmas" music (which this mostly isn't), it's a wonderful mix of traditional, jazz, and folk that transcends the seasons. It's a great disc. Lots of different musical styles, great musical arrangements and accompaniments, and over it all Susan's wonderful voice. There's some traditional stuff, some songs Lindsey wrote and some songs Susan wrote. Definitely a must-have for the winter music collection—and one of the few that I'm sure will stand up to listens even in midsummer. Susan's original songs really stand out, but the arrangements of the traditional carols are remarkable (and in some cases truly inspired), and Lindsey's songs are quite good too. Susan is in fine voice here, as usual, and it's amazing just how good a multinstrumentalist Lindsey is. An instant holiday must-have. (

For some reason I didn't think I was going to like Susan, even though I've seen so much said about her on the list. I was pleasantly surprised...a fabulous collection of winter/christmas songs. If the rest of her CDs are like this I'll be buying all of them. (sspan)

Somehow Through The Bitter Frost And Snow doesn't work for me yet. I guess I have to listen to it more, because each time I do listen I like more songs, but as yet I find most songs too jazzy and not so melodic. Or something like that. (Marion)

Through The Bitter Frost And Snow is my December album of choice and spends much time in my CD player pumping me up for my favorite time of year, the "Winter King". (

Mighty Rain

Release info:

1998—Depth of Field, 2350 Broadway Suite #1207, New York, NY 10024, U.S.A.—DOF-3


Wide in stores in U.S. that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for folk and jazzy fans

Group members:

Susan McKeown—vocals, bohrán, shaker
Lindsey Horner—acoustic bass, bass guitar, whistles, bass clarinet

Produced by:

Bobby Previte


A mix of original, traditional, and cover tunes. A wonderful CD, of Susan McKeown with the amazing multi-instrumentalist Lindsey Horner. Sparse arrangements of traditional and original tunes, and even a couple Bob Dylan songs, and over all of it is Susan's incredible voice. I think in its own way it is still quite celtic. Some of the originals sound more traditional than the trad songs they've chosen to do. The sparse arrangements are perfect for the material. My only quibble with the album (and it's *really* minor) is that you can tell it was recorded in a matter of a few days—Susan's voice sounds really rough in spots. (See? Minor. :) Contains what could be the new definitive "Danny Boy", and a couple originals which sound like trad classics already. Yum. (

This one's a bit different (well, they're all different). Pretty much just Susan and Lindsey this time, playing much bluesier stuff. A couple of Dylan covers, some traditional tunes, and some original material. Less Celtic than her earlier albums, and sparser arrangements, often just voice and bass or drum. I wasn't entirely sure about this album when I first got it, but I've come to figure out that Susan can pull off, well, gee, just about anything she pleases. I'm very partial to Mighty Rain, and recommend it particularly if you like really stripped-down, sparse arrangements. (

I think the simple arrangements help to highlight the astounding talent possessed by both Susan and Lindsey. (

This might be my favourite of hers since Bones gradually worked its way into my heart. (Neile)

Mighty Rain—basically Susan &Lindsey on myriad instruments. If you liked the trad. side of Bushes and Briars but also the feel of Through The Bitter Frost and Snow, you'll not take this one out of your CD player in awhile! Plus, to me it was a great treat to hear Susan perform Bob Dylan & the blues. (

Further info:

There's an email discussion group for Susan McKeown. To subscribe send an email to with a body of "subscribe curiouser" OR "subscribe curiouser-digest". Email Susan McKeown at

Thanks to Meredith Tarr for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

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