“If Lydia McCauley were performing during the early 60’s folk scene, her name would be synonymous with Judy Collins, Joan Baez and Mary Travers. Today, place her recordings on the same shelf alongside those plus Karen Matheson, Maire (Moya) Brennan, Mary Black, Loreena McKennitt, Maddy Prior, Enya, Annie Haslam, Jacqui McShee, Sandy Denny . . . She simply is that good.”
“Lyrical magic that will uplift the spirits.”
“McCauley sings effortlessly. This is a first-rate production all the way.”
— Bill Compton, VICTORY REVIEW
“I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. The words were just as good as the music.”
— Madeleine L’Engle, Newberry Award Winning Author of WRINKLE IN TIME
— SACRAMENTO BEE NEWS
“McCauly’ is a fine pianist and arranger, and her original composition Swallow’s Return is very nice, as is her setting of Margaret’s Waltz. The album’s highlight is a lovely instrumental medley consisting of Skye Boat Song, Shenandoah, and The Water Is Wide. There is also a wonderfully soft and gentle rendition of the classic revival song Softly and Tenderly.
— ALL MUSIC GUIDE
“I fell in love with Lydia McCauley’s voice when I first heard it on Sabbath Day’s Journey. Now, she returns with ForeignLander. Most of the songs are traditional, newly arranged by McCauley. The one original piece, “Swallow’s Return,” was written to entice the swallows to return to the area when they were late one year. These songs are slow-tempoed, with lovely melodies sweetly sung. The accompaniments are simple and are a lovely complement to McCauley’s singing”
— Laurie Thayer, Rambles.NET
“Lydia McCauley is a scholar of Appalachian Music, who has studied with some of the best musicians in the Appalachian region and who carefully preserves these traditions in her own music.”
— Mark Thomas, World Beat, KMSU FM
THE MOON OF WINTERTIME • #BM-1031, Brimstone Music
The Moon of Wintertime by Lydia McCauley is a beautifully produced and presented CD. The cover art and text portray its spiritual and traditional origins and in many ways add to the overall experience. The tunes and songs here are derived from many sources and times and yet they combine old and new compositions.
The title track has music from France, lyrics dating from around 1643 with an English translation in 1926 and an adaptation in 2002 by McCauley. From this mixture she has produced lyrical magic that will uplift the spirits. On “Gifts of the Magi,” she takes full control, writing and arranging. The result is a 21st century song that would not have raised eyebrows in medieval courts. “Good King Wenceslas” and the former track make this an ideal Christmas CD if one is looking for traditional with a twist, but this is an all-year-round CD so don’t restrict your enjoyment to two weeks a year. You are a connoisseur of good music so be free. On hearing McCauley sing this song so sadly seen only as a carol, you must recognise it as a classic of good composition. The music may date from 1582 but this is 2003 sound.
“Childgrove” and “Ideo Gloria” are two exceptional instrumental tracks that will haunt your mind and transport you back in time to a glorious age of madrigal and courtly love. McCauley takes an Appalachian song, “Down in Yon Forest,” and gives it an interpretation that is probably closer to the original tune that traveled to the U.S. There is a very special bonus on this track. McCauley sings her version of the song, which is followed immediately by an arrangement by Brian Cunningham. This shows how an old song can be interpreted to give two or more distinct songs. Listen only to this track and marvel.
This is NOT a Christmas CD, it is an album that should be played in sunshine, hail and snow. At Christmas it will give you a welcome respite from maudlin seasonal trash but we deserve good music 365 days each year and Lydia McCauley provides it.
— Nicky Rossiter / South East Radio / Ireland Rambles:July 5th 2003
THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH • #BM-1028, Brimstone Music
McCauley composes and produces new age music without indulging in New Age cliches. There are no synth loops or ethereal choirs here. Built around her fine voice and piano work, these songs celebrate life amidst a natural world that exists to be appreciated.
The title song with its imagery of Spring, sun, and grapes exudes a Celtic spirituality for today. These themes are carried out throughout the CD’s 11 tracks with violin, whistle, guitar, and piano forming a suitably smooth and engaging musical setting. In the Silence in particular evokes the eastern notion of finding a deeper reality in silence. One instrumental, the Scottish Burning of the Piper’s Hut played as an air floats along lushly with the hint of melancholy suggested early by Frank Jackson’s lovely solo whistle. McCauley sings almost chant-like in Latin for two cuts, Aeternitas and Kyrie Eleison. McCauley sings effortlessly. Right down to the presentation of the liner notes, lyrics, and photographs, this is a first-rate production all the way.
— Bill Compton, VICTORY REVIEW ACOUSTIC MUSIC REVIEW MAGAZINE, Volume 27, Number 8, August 2002
“A marvelous and beautiful celebration of life, love and earth are present in your lyrics, your haunting arrangements and angelic voice. Your music transported me to a land of fairy tale and fancy, to a peaceful state where time stood still and nature shared her infinite love.
— Douglas Newsom / BBS RADIO
THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH • #BM-1028, Brimstone Music
The Beauty of the Earth is a very spiritual album. To me it is like a musical version of a book called Anam Cara, a collection of Celtic wisdom that was a bestseller in Ireland a few years ago. The title track sets the mood as it extols the treasures that we possess in our world as McCauley sings of love. “The River of Life” reads like a poem and a hymn: “Changed, formed and recreated on the river of life, onward I go.” My favourite track on the album is “When You See.” This is one of the more spiritual and uplifting pieces of music and song that I have experienced in a long time. The use of Latin adds that extra dimension on some tracks and brings an air of mysterious beauty to the songs. McCauley has a beautiful voice that is ideally suited to the sounds on this CD and some excellent musicians complement her. The whole production, from playing and singing to the printing and layout of the insert with its “warm” illustrations, make this another of those albums that should not be missed.
— Nicky Rossiter / SOUTH EAST RADIO / Ireland Rambles: January 4th 2003