The Henry Girls
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The Henry Girls

Dunlewy, Ulster, Ireland | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Dunlewy, Ulster, Ireland
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Roots




"The Henry Girls- Between Us ALBUM REVIEW 2003 Hot Press Magazine (Ireland)"


Produced by Máire Breatnach, their debut CD blends original songs with traditional Irish, Scottish and (oddly enough) Javanese material, all performed with aplomb Sarah McQuaid

Hailing from Malin, Co. Donegal, the Henry Girls are not Henrys at all, but rather McLaughlins – Lorna on vocals, accordion, tin whistle and bodhrán; Karen on vocals, fiddle and piano; and Joleen on vocals, harp and piano. Lead singer Lorna McLaughlin has a confidence and a natural warmth to her singing that are rare to find in combination, while the other two sisters contribute the kind of close harmonies that only family groups seem to be able to manufacture (and Karen does a fine job of taking over the lead on the energetic ‘James Monroe’, co-authored by the three, and ‘After The Night Before’). Produced by Máire Breatnach, their debut CD blends original songs with traditional Irish, Scottish and (oddly enough) Javanese material, all performed with aplomb – particularly impressive when one learns that the entire thing was recorded in just five days.

SARAH MCQUAID - Hot Press Magazine (Ireland)

"The Henry Girls - Between Us REVIEW 2004 Rambles (U.S.A)"

The Henry Girls,
Between Us
(self-produced, 2003)

The Henry Girls is a group of three girls -- just as the name suggests. They are Joleen, Lorna and Karen McLaughlin, and between them they provide the vocals on these 12 tracks and, between them, play harp, piano, accordion, tin whistle, bodhran and fiddle. The CD Between Us is a joy to hear, with fresh interpretation of traditional pieces interspersed with new compositions, some by the ladies themselves.

There is little information given directly on the insert but from reading the credits, I detect that these are natives of County Donegal and have received some exposure on local radio in the region. Maire Breatnach co-produced the album with the girls and the recording was accomplished in Letterkenny. All of which goes to prove that, in this modern age, excellent musicians and singers who once had to live in hopes of attracting a major label can now bring their talent to a wider audience. I am delighted that the technology has progressed to allow us to hear the brilliant performances of this group far beyond the Persian Bar.

The album has a fine balance between vocals and instrumentals. I particularly enjoyed the accordion work on the lovely "King Street Waltz," which is credited to the Henry Sisters. Having praised an instrumental, I must say how good I found the vocal offerings. Little information other than composer credits are given, which is a pity because I am always intrigued by how songs come about.

They do not confine themselves to the Irish tradition. They provide a fabulous version of the Scottish "Hori-Horo" and, not content with the British Isles, transport us to exotic shores for a Javanese traditional item called "Gambang Suling." This is a lovely, haunting tune that will linger in your mind for days. One of my favourite songs is "After the Night Before," which is more of a good, true, country style song and could be a breakthrough hit, if it got the airplay.

The Henry Girls will surely be a force to be reckoned with as time goes on. The variety of styles and the obvious talent make this a CD worth making an effort to find.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 6 March 2004

[ visit the artist's website ]
- Rambles (U.S.A)

"The Henry Girls - Morning Rush REVIEW 2008 FATEA (U.K.)"

The Henry Girls
Album:Morning Rush
Label:Self Released


I wasn't sure what to expect when I put this in the cd player, the sleeve gave nothing away. I certainly wasn't expecting tight, scintillating harmonies and an album that referenced the likes of Dixie Chicks, Be Good Tanyas and Nickel Creek. Bluegrass and country form the backbone of "Morning Rush", but there's an expected slide into more of a jazz thing at more than one point. It's The Henry Girl's vocalisation that really gives the album it's shivers down the back of your spine feel. Together and apart the voices work and work well for an album as sharp as a cut throat razor. - FATEA (U.K.)

"The Henry Girls - Morning Rush REVIEW 2008 irish Music Magazine"


Morning Rush

Own label, 2007

The second-album syndrome is one which affects many performing artists as they undertake the challenge of living up to their debut album. In the case of the Henry Girls, there is no fear as ‘Morning Rush’, the sequel to their debut is in fact very well crafted indeed, reflecting the diverse mix of musical traditions that have shaped and influenced their unique blend of country, traditional, jazz and roots - each of which they perform with considerable ease and enjoyment. All three of the Mc Laughlin sisters or ‘Henry’s’ as they are better known by, have a solid understanding of music theory having each studied music at university, which helps inform their musical choices, arrangements and songs on this recording.

The opening track presents a lively, upbeat sound, creating a ‘live’ feel to the music. One instantly gets the impression that the Henry’s really enjoy with they do - and this is further deepened by their sisterly bond that unites them closely. Track six is notably a jazz arrangement featuring an impressive walking bass from Nicky Scott as well as an atmospheric intro from Matt Jennings on saxophone. The Hammond organ is also a welcome addition to this musical mix from the multi-talented Ted Ponsonby.

Perhaps the most outstanding feat of this album is how well the various genres of music sit together - a relaxed country beat blends into a chilled, jazz sound, notably featuring the blues notes on piano. Joleen’s harp weaves in out and magically adding the Celtic strand of their sound palette. Vocal entries are well timed and arranged along with some beautiful harmonies here. Overall, it’s an excellent recording presenting an eclectic mix of styles. There’s a great sound quality throughout so hats off to Billy Robinson who recorded, mixed & co-produced the album.
For further info check out their website at
Edel McLaughlin - irish Music Magazine

"The Henry Girls - The Ripple Affect 2009 (Contemporary dance show with live music from the Henry Girls) REVIEW Culture Northern Ireland"

DANCE REVIEW: Ripple Affect
Dive into a dance world of waves, hugs and harmonies and experience the Ripple Affect

Updated: 25/03/2009

Get ready to be transported to a world of waves and hugs with Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company’s latest offering, Ripple Affect. Five dancers and three musicians create an ambience that will soothe your senses and temporarily transport you to a place of light and love.

The dancing begins with swirling, playful, prancing movements. The five female dancers bring to mind pagan celebrations, or wood nymphs on a spring day cavorting in time to the music. The sounds of the drums, flutes and wood instruments enhance the ambience and there’s a real earthy feel to some of the sounds.

Throughout the whole performance you do lose yourself. The musical accompaniment in this production really sets it apart and draws you in. It's performed by The Henry Girls, who are Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin from Inishowen, County Donegal. (You may remember them as finalists for Ireland’s Eurovision entry back in 2005.) They create an eclectic mix of sounds and play an impressive range of 15 instruments between them! These girls have many strings to their bow.

The first song with lyrics is High Hopes, a touching melody originally sung by Neil Halstead. The lyrics, with lines such as ‘You’ve got high hopes for someone good and strong, Someone good to hold you close’, are in tune with the hugging and embraces that are embedded into the dance. The whole performance is a very intimate affair and sometimes uncomfortably so!

Director and choreographer Steve Batts found the inspiration for Ripple Affect from that most simple of interactions, the hug, and the imprint each hug leaves in your body, your memory. He believes everyone has the desire to be held or to escape and that there is a certain pleasure in visiting the feeling of loneliness as well as intimacy.

This is expressed through the movement in which we see the dancers in pairs with one left out in the cold, or one choosing to be on their own. A mixture of movements that sometimes rejoice in intimacy, sometimes reject it, and sometimes express exuberance at being part of a group.

The movements are very wave-like with the group joining together holding each other closely, huddling together, then branching out from the centre, flowing throughout the stage. Every part of the stage is used and the light throughout the performance is very effective, used to create a cold emptiness or a warm sunny brightness that calls to mind a summer's day.

When La Mer (The Sea) is performed the waves go wild. Sung in French by Lorna, this is a truly beautiful version. Lorna’s voice lends itself beautifully to the French accent, and I much prefer her version to the original by Charles Trenet. The accordion adds to the wonderful European flavour and this song is one of the highlights.

The range of sounds created in this performance are remarkable. From tinkling piano sounds, drums, cymbals, fiddle, wood percussion, harp, accordion, I am amazed at how many instruments the Henry girls conjure up from their small space! And the range of music they play - Celtic, folk, blues, European, and a lot more besides. Haunting, cheerful, melancholy, carnival, even slightly deranged at times! A truly talented trio, the music is sublime. I prefer all their versions to the originals.

Ripple Affect can perhaps be best described as interpretative dance or poetic movement. The dancers convey their feelings intensely through their movement and it’s not just about the dancing, their expressions also reflect the mood changes throughout. Ayesha Mailey stands out particularly, with an animated performance.

The rhythm in this dancing is sometimes feisty and fast, sometimes tender and slow and at other times the dancers are frozen like statues. This is a diverse piece of contemporary dance with a simple idea at its core - the power of touch and how a hug can affect a - Culture Northern Ireland

"The Henry Girls - The Ripple Affect 2010(Dance show with live music from the Henry Girls) REVIEW Culture Northern Ireland"

DANCE REVIEW: Ripple Effect
Echo Echo extend the hand of friendship - but the Henry Girls steal the show

Updated: 17/05/2010

The world of interpretative dance has a ‘marmite’ effect on audiences: you either love it or hate it. Nevertheless, Derry and the Northwest’s premier dance company, Echo Echo, have brought their 2009 Ripple Effect performance out of retirement in anticipation for an all-Ireland tour which is being planned for later this year.

The show’s tagline, if you will, poses the simple question ‘What do you do after you have been hugged, or hugged someone?’ Five women, all members of Echo Echo’s burgeoning talent pool, aim to answer this question using their own unique styles of movement and dance, ably assisted musically by Inishowen trio the Henry Girls.

Playing to a small audience in Strabane’s Alley Theatre, the five international dancers (Ayesha Mailey, Emily Welther, Maite Larraneta, Siobhan Simpson and Leilani Weis) take to the stage. A frenetic opening ensues, wherein the five roll, run, embrace and lift each other to the lyrical strains of the accompanying music. It feels like a warm-up for the rest of the performance, as if the performers are limbering up for the physical strains ahead.

After an upbeat opening, the mood gets more sombre, a tonal cycle that dominates the whole performance; noisy highs and quiet, soft lows.

Themes such as friendship, love and acceptance are explored via the medium of movement and touch, and, as the title suggests, so to is the idea that the ripple effects of brotherly love can reverberate around the world. Solitude, loneliness and feelings of non-acceptance are explored too.

It would be fair to say that this type of performance is very much an acquired taste. The dancers attempt to tell a story with their bodies, but what it is they attempt to communicate can be hit and miss. If you don’t know what you’re looking for then the dance itself can be difficult to follow and may seem scatter-shot. I found 2007’s Consequences a more fulfilling experience and better structured than Ripple Effect.

At certain points during the production each dancer is given a solo opportunity. These are much more entertaining and easier to follow. Coupled with the excellent music, the solo sections can be hypnotic, with the audience focused on one performer’s actions rather than trying to keep up with the whole.

Surrounded by a plethora of instruments, the talented Henry Girls, a trio from Donegal, help convey the impression that we're travelling through various countries and eras. The music not only reflects traditional Irish airs, but also hints of a Spanish tango, a Brazilian carnival and a Parisian nightclub in the 1930s. The last comes in the form of a throaty, passionate rendition of Charles Trenchet’s ‘La Mer’.

For the uninitiated, and even for some of us who have experienced interpretative dance before, Ripple Effect may confuse. Few of the themes are ever painted clearly enough to give the performance focus. It has its moments, but if the movement doesn’t get you, the music certainly will.

Paul McElwee
- Culture Northern Ireland

"The Henry Girls - Dawn REVIEW 2010 FolkWorld CD Reviews (Germany)"

The Henry Girls "Dawn"
Label: Own label; 2010
The Henry Girls Joleen, Lorna and Karen are three siblings from Malin on the Inishowen peninsula in Co. Donegal, Ireland. A decade ago they formed a band, performed here and there, recorded a little bit (FW#38). Fate had it that some of their music has been used in the film "A Shine of Rainbows" starring Aidan Quinn which had recently been shot on Inishowen. It gained the Henry Girls a nomination for Best Original Score at the Irish Film and Television Awards, and their third album is intended to hit big time. The Dawn breaks with the original song "Early in the Morning," which is a real show-stopper. The sound reminds me of Irish-German group Cara (#34). Furthermore the girls relate Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day" (no wonder of the album title), an acapella version of "Morning has Broken" (not really trad, written by children's author Eleanor Farjeon in 1931 to a suppoosedly Scottish tune and reworked and popularized by Cat Stevens) and - this time actually traditional - "As I Roved Out" (one of the well-known songs with that title) and the "Mingulay Boat Song". There is also instrumental music, including self-composed tunes and the haunting air "Eamonn An Chnoic" (Ned of the Hill). The girls play fiddle, accordion, whistle, harp, mandolin and keyboards. The three-part harmonies are great, and there is a sensibilty for contemporary pop music throughout, which doesn't bother on the Henry Girls' most mature output yet.
Walkin' T:-)M
- FolkWorld CD Reviews (Germany)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 The Irish Times"

The Henry Girls

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December Moon Self-released

There must be something in the water that allows Donegal to produce family bands whose harmonies are a joy. There’s little of Clannad in The Henry Girls, from Malin in the Inishowen Peninsula, though they’ve honed their sisterly harmonies over four albums to an equally impressive level. The latest offering from Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin is smartly produced, mixing their country leanings such as Stop Saying Forever and Sing My Sister Down , or the snappy cover, Ol’ Cook Pot. Elvis Costello’s Watching the Detectives is not such a judicious choice with its choppy rhythm meeting La Pigalle cabaret and The Andrew Sisters. The McLaughlins’ songwriting is a mixed bag, with the shiny optimism of Couldn’t Ask for More balanced against the laboured Sweet Dreams . See thehenry

Download tracks: Sing My Sister Down, Stop Saying Forever

JOE BREEN - The Irish Times

"The Henry Girls and The Fox Hunt - GIG REVIEW 2011 'Alan in Belfast' - Online Music Blog"

A lazy Sunday afternoon with The Henry Girls and The Fox Hunt - CQAF/Out To Lunch
The Out to Lunch festival is now into its last week. Boo hiss. It’s good sign that many of the shows have sold out … but if you’re quick and check the festival website, there are still tickets available for some of this week’s gigs.

On Sunday afternoon, the Black Box hosted The Henry Girls playing alongside with the boys from The Fox Hunt. The transatlantic collaboration between “West Virginian Americana and Irish nu-folk” is a continuation of a commission for last year’s Earagail Arts Festival in Donegal.

The Fox Hunt play and sing around a single condenser microphone, standing in a rough semicircle with their fiddle, guitar, banjo and upright (double) bass. Singers needing to he heard lean in towards the mic. Similarly instruments that need to come to the fore in the mix edge closer to the mic.

As well letting the band control the sound mix (there’s only one mic and a pickup on the double bass for the sound guy to fiddle with) it also creates a visual dance around the mic. When you add the three Henry Girls to the four Fox Hunters, you get up to seven people swapping position and leaning in and out. With a couple of switches during a verse and another for the chorus, its’ a visual treat as well as music to the audience’s ears.

The members of the Fox Hunt swap instruments between each other between songs. The main guitarist is left handed but plays guitars and fiddles stringed for right handed players. The Henry Girls add harp, accordion, keyboard, fiddle and mandolin (or was it ukulele?) as well as a beautiful blend of close harmony singing. Everyone also manages to play and sing at the same time – try that next time you’ve a violin under your chin!

Playing for around two and a half hours (with a short interval), it was a great value gig and the audience seemed to be loving it. A particular highlight came near the end when the combined group dropped all pretence of folk music and played a crowd pleasing cover of Dire Straits’ Walk of Life … with a lot of the audience joining in!

You’ll catch the Fox Hunt and The Henry Girls playing in Clonmel (Thursday 27 – SOLD OUT), Naul (Friday 28), Derry (Saturday 29) and finishing their tour in Letterkenny (Sunday 30). - 'Alan in Belfast' - Online Music Blog

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 Cover Lay Down (U.S.A.)"

All things Irish blog 2 U I Bestow‘s native ground is rich with the folk tradition, and his celebration of it is notoriously comprehensive. As such, though host Peter Nagle goes rock, too, there’s plenty to love here, and I often find new coverage through the artists and albums he touts – for example, we noted a new covers album from Irish singer-songwriter Mundy, whose song from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack gives 2 U I Bestow its name, back in our April 2011 Tribute and Cover Compilations week series, thanks to early notice from the blog.

Peter’s Top 20 Albums of 2011 included this amazing take on traditional tune Rain & Snow, introducing me to the work of the sister trio The Henry Girls; the back-and-forth between delicate harp-driven tradfolk verses and fiddle-led folkrock chorus speak to a strong grounding in the various traditions of modern folk and roots music, and their newest album, December Moon, proves it, offering a surprisingly diverse set that catches the heart and echoes in the ears. Like 2 U I Bestow, The Henry Girls take on all corners of the modern folk ouvure, from cheery uke-driven indiefolk ditties to etherial tradfolk instrumentals and sea shanties, from warm harmony-driven tracks to contemporary americana balladry, with aplomb and respect; the delightfully playful Watching The Detectives – Elvis Costello, done as gypsy poprock with a theatrical flourish – is an exceptional delight.

The Henry Girls: Rain & Snow (trad.)
The Henry Girls: Watching The Detectives (orig. Elvis Costello)
(from December Moon, 2011) - Cover Lay Down (U.S.A.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 Hot Press Magazine (Ireland)"

Donegal trio mine their Americana roots.
Jackie Hayden, 06 Dec 2011

The McLaughlin sisters from Donegal trade as The Henry Girls. Their trademarks include delicate harmonies and gossamer playing and these qualities are to be found in abundance over the generous selection of 14 tracks on December Moon. There’s a captivating melancholy O Sister, Where Art Thou? vibe to originals such as ‘Sing My Sister Down’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’, the trad ‘Rain And Snow’, and Lhasa de Sela’s ‘Fool’s Gold’. But the style-shifting doesn’t always work. They take Elvis Costello’s slinky ‘Watching The Detectives’, add a French accordion and drain the life out of it; ‘When Will See You Again’ is unconvincing Corrs-lite. They use their instrumental skills sparingly, and thus more effectively, to add subtlety to the harp-driven ‘Aisling’. ‘Moonstruck’ has a cute kora and there’s a rich rootsy Americana flavour underpinning ‘December Moon’ and the poignant ‘Farewell’.

At its best this is a very engaging record indeed.
At times one could easily be convinced that the Girls are American born and bred. But we know better. - Hot Press Magazine (Ireland)

"the Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 FATEA (U.K.)"


The Henry Girls
Album: December Moon
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 14
The third album from the Irish sisters Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin is as immediate a slice of folk-pop as any you'll come across this year. Their tight three-part harmonies are matched by soulful musicianship across a range of instruments including harp, viola, mandolin, fiddle, piano, accordion, ukulele and banjo.

Stop Saying Forever explores a more country road, while the delicious interlude Moonstruck is almost cinematic in its scope. The title track probably best captures the girls' easily accessible take on traditional music and while their cover of Costello's Watching the Detectives adds little to the original it does provide a moment of familiarity that only endears the listener. Sweet Dreams and Fool's Gold display the group's poppier instincts, particularly Sweet Dreams, which imbues a relatively simple structure with genuine emotion and would serve a soundtrack well.

Of course, The Henry Girls are not the first outfit to take a delicate dance along the dividing line between folk and pop, but they manage to explore a slightly different route to the likes of the Be Good Tanyas, Indigo Girls and Fairground Attraction.

Nick Churchill - FATEA (U.K.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 Music Review Unsigned (Ireland)"

The Henry Girls ::: December Moon

MagicThis band is not your traditional country or folk band; this is essentially a band consisting of three sisters, Joleen, Lorna and Karen McLaughlin, they come from Inishowen in Co. Donegal, Ireland, The Henry Girls have a passion for making good music. They sound like Gemma Hayes, Sharon Corr and Cathy Davey all mixed together which isn’t a bad thing.

I’ve listened to this Cd several times and I’m really looking forward to hearing lots more music from them in the not too distant future. With beautiful lyrics, harmonies and music, you could listen to this group all day long. My personal favourites from this band are “When Will I See You Again,” “Stop Saying Forever,” and “Rain And Snow.” “Farewell,” is also a beautiful and emotive song too, just to add The Henry Girls name comes from the local family nickname, Henry.

Review by Emer Kelly
- Music Review Unsigned (Ireland)

"the Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 Irish Music Magazine"

Irish Music Magazine review December Moon 2011
December Moon
14 tracks 46 minutes 20 seconds
Own Label

What a revelation, the Henry Girls have finally found their voice and what a happy voice it is. December Moon sees them tackling Americana head on and winning the argument. Sure there's Celtic fiddle (on Rain and Snow) and harp on Moonstruck with the Kora player Gemeli Tordzr, which sits strangely in this project. They take on Elvis Costello's Watching the Detectives and polish it with a French accordion to give it a sophisticated Gallic gloss. But original Americana is the taste you are left with; honky-tonk corn dog on Couldn't Ask For More, smoky bourbon on Ol 'Cook Pot.
The Donegal sisters travelled not to Memphis but to Gorbal Sound the brand new studios in Glasgow to record the album with some of the final production at home in Donegal. The girls are augmented by a cast of fine musicians: Nicky Scott, Liam Bradley, Ross McFarlane, Denise Boyle, Ted Ponsonby, Donal McGuinness, Sean McCarron, Robert Goodman and Gameli Tordzro.
For example they exhibit an uncanny family ability as they hit those close harmonies as if they'd been shape note singing since they were toddlers on The Long Road (complete with an authentic chopped bluegrass mandolin and a new country backbeat). They can do trad too, on the short harp led Aisling and a down home intro to Fool's Gold. Their original songs have the potential to have a very long life beyond this album. December Moon the title track could be the Galway Girl of 2012. It kicks off with an infectious fiddle riff and syncopated beat from Ted Ponsonby that will get your foot tapping and that chorus is positively viral. (Listen carefully and you'll detect some great Dobro work behind it all).
Nashville has to hear the Henry Girls.
Seán Laffey - Irish Music Magazine

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 2 U I Bestow - Irish Artist Music Website."

Album Review: The Henry Girls - December Moon

'December Moon' is a quality folk/roots album which is consistently brilliant from start to finish. The Henry Girls hit all the right spots on this their third album.

The Henry Girls are sisters from Inishowen in Co. Donegal, Ireland and have been performing together as a band for almost a decade. I get the feeling that 'December Moon' is going a breakthrough album for the band. It's released on the back of European tours and a successful Summer tour in the US. It's recent release also precedes a big European Spring tour as well as a return back to America. There are many really great songs on 'December Moon' which will appeal to fans of folk and roots with the band being comparable to The Dixie Chicks, The Good Be Tanyas or The Indigo Girls.

The 14 tracks include two instrumental arrangements, eleven original tracks and a fine cover of Elvis Costello's 'Watching the Detective'. While it's fair to call this album a folk album it flirts with happy Pop on tracks like 'When Will I See You Again' and 'Fool's Gold'. There are well written ballads such as the beautiful 'Farewell' and the blissful 'Sweet Dreams'. We also have homage to roots and bluegrass on 'Ol' Cook Pot' and 'The Long Road' and then there's the theatrical cover of the brilliant 'Watching the Detectives'. All these genres fit together because of the cohesiveness of the harmonies and the musicianship on the album.

The best track on the album is the title track and it best sums up what The Henry Girls have to offer. This love song 'December Moon' contains wonderful harmonies and a soundtrack that begins with a simple beat, violin and a hand-clap but builds up nicely while still holding the vocals at it's core. It's a superb song.

I really couldn't find a major fault with the album. However out of 14 tracks I'd only consider four of the tracks being of the highest standard [December Moon, Rain and Snow, Sweet Dreams and Farewell]. I have a feeling this album will take The Henry Girls all over the world and on bigger stages than they currently play now.

The Henry Girls - December Moon [11 out of 12]
- 2 U I Bestow - Irish Artist Music Website.

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011 Roots Music Report (U.S.A.)"

Label: self-released
Genre: Folk

Visit This Artist's WebsiteThe Henry Girls*NEW*
December Moon
The shimmering harmonies that adorn the haunting leadoff track, “Sing My Sister Down”, set the stage. And from there, this winsome Irish trio weaves a continuous spell, adorning a fresh sounding and varied set with their beguiling and versatile vocal chemistry. Though nurtured by their Celtic roots, the Henrys’ sound is not bound by them. Their fetching “three-part” is recast here as country- “Stop Saying Forever”, jazz/blues- “Ol’ Cook Pot” and straight pop- “When Will I See You Again”. Their precocious cover of Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives” screams for airplay.

Reviewed By: Duane Verh - Roots Music Report (U.S.A.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2011Americana UK"

The Henry Girls “December Moon”
Independent, 2011

Donegal has a long tradition for producing talented vocalists, songwriters and musicians in the folk field, and in The Henry Girls, Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin we have an act carrying on the county’s age-old tradition.
They may not be folk singers in the traditional sense but more Americana, an Irish-version of Canadian act, The Be Good Tanyas comes to mind on occasions. Steeped as they are in tradition they blend or if you like, nourish the seeds of old with a bright, refreshing approach.
They call on everything from Dobro, fiddle, bodhran, banjo, percussion and harp plus as a unit they produce, mouth-watering sibling vocal harmonies. Something that is never more prevalent than on the ragtime swing, piano and brass assisted delight “Couldn’t Ask For More” or the wonderfully, instrumentally textured “Sing My Sister Down”. Like with the title-cut “December Moon” it may be something they wrote, but the former especially could just as easily have come from deep in the Appalachian Mountains one hundred years ago. So impressive are they at creating authentic material rich in traditional values.

Assisting the girls, who previous to December Moon had made four albums between them play harp, mandolin, piano, banjo, fiddle, viola, accordion, ukelele, guitar and Bodhran they have Ted Ponsonby, Nicky Scott, Denise Boyle, Liam Bradley and Ross McFarlane plus an accompaniment of brass on one or two cuts.

While they have written ten of the fourteen songs the covers are inspired. For not only do they cover “Rain And Snow” (trad), Lhasa De Sela’s gentle “Fools Gold” that enjoys a beautiful arrangement of harp, dobro, viola and fiddle (Boyle) and finger snapping jazz styled “Ol’ Cook Pot” (Shawn Bryne, Chuck McCarthy) elevated by a jaunty rhythm throughout. Sterling stuff. Last but not least we have a version of Elvis Costello’s ‘Watching The Detective”, who would have thought it. But, it works (I love the accordion opening that brings a French feel to the song) as do everything the girls perform.

Their appearance at this year’s Glasgow Celtic Connections will have done them the world of good and hopefully enticed one or two promoters bring them back over soon. As for personal favourites the singing on the understated “Farewell” hits the spot, perfectly. So beautiful and artful is the heart-felt lead and finely cushioned harmony vocals. “Long Road” is a big time number that has the girls let their hair down on a record that, at times glides seamlessly between country and folk. It is the kind of recording the listener will take to heart without thinking about its source. The Henry Girls are a name I urge you all to checkout and jot down in your diary for future reference even if you don’t purchase the album before the ink on this review has the chance to dry.
- Americana UK

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2012 Seattle PI (U.S.A.)"

Music Review: The Henry Girls - December Moon
Published 09:58 a.m., Thursday, April 12, 2012

From County Donegal, The Henry Girls (Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin) have found a way to personalize their music with crystalline vocals, lilting melodies and eclectic influences. Produced by Calum Malcolm, December Moon also offers relaxed sophistication in its arrangements. Karen plays fiddle, viola, guitar, banjo and even some ukulele. Joleen is a harper, but she also adds a little mandolin and piano to the mix. Lorna's instrumental contributions are more understated, with some piano, accordion and chimes on a few tracks. All three women have music degrees, teach regularly, and have toured for years. Recently, they appeared as backing vocalists on Mary Black's Stories from the Steeples.

With the exception of four tracks, all songs on December Moon were written by The Henry Girls. All lyrics are on their website. We hear three voices emerge with irresistible clarity and emotion. Opening with "Sing My Sister Down," they establish a spiritually-infused groove even though the story is a sad one of personal travail and retribution. "December Moon" has a Cajun feeling with synthesized sounds of xylophone and triangle as the girls sing of burning hearts unfulfilled. A one-minute reprisal of the tune, in the form of "Moonstruck," evokes a worldly African beat featuring only harp, kora and percussion. Some of The Henry Girls' earthy songs like the optimistic "Stop Saying Forever" and "When Will I See You Again?" tread territory between mellow and trendy. The stage for "Sweet Dreams" is set as "night time comes around and peaceful melodies will play."

Without any punk rock sensibilities, the cover of Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives" is a good choice for musicians who appreciate that English singer-songwriter's literate lyrics and eclecticism. Throughout the set, many skillful musicians contribute a variety of sounds ranging from Atenteben bamboo flute to Dobro. A horn section on "The Long Road" and swinging "Couldn't Ask for More" provides a full ensemble sound, while a much leaner setting of only three instruments for "Aisling" provides nice contrast. The electric sounds incorporated into the traditional "Rain and Snow" were innovative but not quite my cup of tea. Shout outs are appropriate for the strong rhythm section on nearly every track by Nicky Scott (double bass) and Liam Bradley (drums, percussion), as well as the strings of Denise Boyle.

I haven't heard The Henry Girls' three previous album releases, Between Us (2002), Morning Rush (2007), and Dawn (2009). However, if they're anything like their 2011 December Moon project, they can count me as one among their expanding legion of fans. Stay tuned for the details of their summer 2012 U.S. tour, and catch these rising stars if you can.

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Read more: - Seattle PI (U.S.A.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon ALBUM REVIEW 2012 Rock N Reel Magazine/ R2 (U.K.)"

December Moon

At a glance the cover of the Henry Girls' 4th Album might suggest the southern United States or Canadians in search of warmer climes, but the girls are from county Donegal although their music is garnered from far and wide.
Karen, Lorna and Joleen are sisters and have siblings' talent for harmony that is at the heart of their music. In fact, the vocals on the first two songs, 'Sing My Sister Down' and the title track, are reminiscent of the 30s/40s style of the Andrews Sisters with modern accompaniments, but after a short instrumental the record takes on a harder edge. The traditional 'Rain and Snow' is a monster with heavy percussion and electric guitar, and the album encompasses boogie-woogie, swing and country, with original songs in an authentically retro style alongside more contemporary sounds.
Their cover of 'Watching The Detectives' slots in so well that if you didnt know who wrote it you wouldn't remark at all. The Henry Girls can mould any song in their own image and write some good ones too, and that will provide the longevity that a class act deserves/

Dai Jeffries - Rock N Reel Magazine/ R2 (U.K.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon ALBUM REVIEW 2012 fRoots Magazine (U.K.)"

The Henry Girls are a County Donegal trio whose eclectism mixes traditional/world/country with surprisingly successful results. High buoyant vocal harmonies and ebullient instrumental attack make for stellar moments aplenty. A full bodied and powerfully dynamic collection.

John O Regan - fRoots Magazine (U.K.)

"The Henry Girls - Live concert REVIEW 2012 Culture Northern Ireland"

MUSIC REVIEW: The Henry Girls

The talented trio warm up for their Belfast Nashville Songwriters' Festival gig at the Playhouse in Derry~Londonderry

Updated: 21/02/2012

By Simon Fallaha

For more than ten years, Lorna, Karen and Joleen McLaughlin – better known as The Henry Girls, named in honour of their grandfather – have been writing and playing music together to widespread critical acclaim. Hot Press described their most recent record, December Moon, as 'very engaging'.

No pressure, then, as the Malin-born trio prepare to step into an absolutely packed Playhouse Theatre in Derry-Londonderry. TV cameras are positioned at either side of the stage, ready to record footage from the evening (for a live DVD, one presumes). A huge array of traditional instruments are laid out on stage, and the lighting is ambient and warm.

First up, though, we have an eight-song traditional set from local musician Paul Herron and his collective, Faduda, also consisting of flautist Sarah Murphy, keyboard player Kevin Murphy, and fiddle player Padraig O’Brien. Highlights include the instrumental 'A Sack Of Potatoes', which apparently 'hypnotised a screaming child to sleep', claims Herron, and 'The Donegal Dream', a pleasant ode to the group's homeland.

After a brief interval, the Henry Girls and their group of accomplished backing musicians launch into the catchy, hypnotic 'December Moon'. 'Fools Gold' and 'Rain and Snow' follow, with the Henry Girls' three-part harmonies tight and atmospheric. The jovial mood extends into 'Sweet Dreams', a lullaby written by Karen for her own children.

A space is left at the front of the stage for three members of the Echo Echo Dance troupe to strut their stuff during a cover of Elvis Costello's 'Watching The Detectives'. The impressive fluidity of the troupe’s is an unexpected distraction, but works well with the Girls' stripped-back version of the song.

It’s undeniable that some parts of the gig work significantly better than others. Bostoner Ry Cavanaugh’s Ryan Adams-lite vocal solos seem a little out of place with the overall tempo of the show, but thanks to the stage presence of the girls, he becomes more at ease as the night wears on.

More successful in backing the band up are the brass ensemble, who perform in the second half of the gig, and the Inishowen Gospel Choir, who take the stage for the last few numbers. It’s impossible not to lose oneself in the band and choir’s cover of the annoyingly catchy 'Iko Iko' from Rain Man.

The calming encores of 'Farewell' and 'Should I Fall Behind' are necessary breathers for an energised audience, described by Karen afterwards as 'the best we have ever had'. Hyperbolic perhaps, but given the atmosphere in the Playhouse by the end of the night, few would disagree.

The Henry Girls will perform in the Empire Music Hall in Belfast on Friday, February 24 as part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriters' Festival. - Culture Northern Ireland

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2012 Roots Music Report (U.S.A.)"

Label: self-released
Genre: Folk
Rating: 5 stars

Visit This Artist's WebsiteThe Henry Girls*NEW*
December Moon
The shimmering harmonies that adorn the haunting leadoff track, “Sing My Sister Down”, set the stage. And from there, this winsome Irish trio weaves a continuous spell, adorning a fresh sounding and varied set with their beguiling and versatile vocal chemistry. Though nurtured by their Celtic roots, the Henrys’ sound is not bound by them. Their fetching “three-part” is recast here as country- “Stop Saying Forever”, jazz/blues- “Ol’ Cook Pot” and straight pop- “When Will I See You Again”. Their precocious cover of Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives” screams for airplay.

Reviewed By: Duane Verh - Roots Music Report (U.S.A.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon ALBUM REVIEW 2012 Folkworld (Germany)"

The Henry Girls "December Moon"
Own label, 2011
Scotsman Calum Malcolm produced and recorded the Donegal native Henry Sisters' fourth album "December Moon" in Glasgow. The three talented multi-instrumentalists and singers invited some first class musicians to record 10 original tracks, 3 cover versions and one traditional song.
Liam Bradley on drums and percussion, Nicky Scott on double bass and Lorna on bodhràn create the intoxicating rhythm on the breathtaking Blues "Sing my sister down", Joleen on harp, Karen on banjo and fiddle, Ted Ponsonby on Dobro and Denise Boyle on viola and fiddle accompany the great singing of the three siblings; my favourite track. The title song is a beautiful up-beat Americana with brilliant playing together of Karen (viola) and Denise (fiddle) and "Moonstruck", one of the two instrumental tracks, stands out with a mesmerizing duet by Joleen on harp and Gameli Tordzro on kora. The traditional ballad "Rain and snow" is a perfect showcase for their hauntingly beautiful singing accompanied by melancholic fiddle and harp playing as well as e-guitar sound by Cameron Malcolm and rock rhythm. In addition to their self-crafted tracks they perform American songwriter Lhasa de Sela's "Fool's gold", a romantic slow waltz, brought forward by harp, viola, banjo, fiddle, Dobro, bass and drums. American Bluegrass masters Shawn Byrne and Chuck McCarthy wrote "Ol' cook pot" and The Henry Girls sing the Blues, Denise adds some awesome mandolin playing and the two fiddles (Karen and Denise) play their melancholic melody. they end up with an original up-beat Bluegrass featuring a jazzy brass arrangement by Donal McGuinness, Joleen's funky honky-tonk piano and Karen on ukulele, "Couldn't ask for more".
The Henry Girls impress with their beautiful vocals, wonderful arrangements and brilliant musicianship and their band include great musicians from Ireland and abroad. Check them out!

© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup - Folkworld (Germany)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2012 Fanrealm (U.S.A.)"

December Moon ~ by The Henry Girls
January 26, 2012
By Jane Woods

The Henry Girls are three sisters from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, IE. They are really starting to make a name for themselves in Ireland, Europe and North America. They have performed with Imelda May and did backing vocals on Mary Black’s latest album.

December Moon is their fourth album and is a wonderful blend of styles from Irish Traditional, to bluegrass to jazzy swing with a touch of Brittany thrown into the mix. Aside from the amazing variety on this album, the thing that stands out is the beautiful harmonies that are the trademark of this band. With songs like the easy paced Fool’s Gold and the outstanding title song December Moon, the Henry Girls will get your complete attention and never let it go. They do absolutely fantastic versions of Rain and Snow and Watching the Detectives. It would be hard to pick a favorite here but I think the beautiful Sweet Dreams would have to be mine.

This whole album is very high quality and one you MUST HAVE in your collection. I know it’s already a favorite of mine. You’ll be hearing a lot more about the massively talented Henry Girls in the future. If there was ever a band primed to break out, it’s this one. Keep your eye on them.

Song List

1. Sing my Sister Down
2. December Moon
3. Moonstruck
4. Rain and Snow
5. The Long Road
6. Watching the Detectives
7. Stop Saying Forever
8. Sweet Dreams
9. Aisling
10. When Will I See You Again
11. Fools Gold
12. Ol Cook Pot
13. Farewell
14. Couldn’t Ask For More

December Moon is available through ITunes here and at their website . You can hear samples at both sites. They are at Facebook here.

The Henry Girls are currently on tour in Ireland. Check the poster below for dates and venues. - Fanrealm (U.S.A.)

"The Henry Girls - December Moon REVIEW 2012 Folk and Roots (U.K.)"

The Henry Girls – DECEMBER MOON (Own Label, no catalogue number)
The Henry Girls are fast becoming a much-talked-about act, more especially since their appearance at Celtic Connections. Hailing from Inishowen, Co. Donegal, this sibling trio (whose surname in fact turns out to be McLaughlin, Henry being just a local family nickname apparently!) consists of sisters Karen (fiddle, viola, banjo, ukulele, piano, guitar, vocals), Lorna (accordion, piano, bodhrán, vocals) and Joleen (piano, harp, mandolin, vocals). Here augmented by Ted Ponsonby (dobro, guitar) and Nicky Scott (double bass) – both of whom had appeared on earlier Henry Girls albums – along with Denise Boyle (fiddle, viola), Liam Bradley (percussion), and even a full brass section on one track, the Girls deliver an even more intoxicating mix of roots styles than I heard on their third album Morning Rush a couple of years ago.

December Moon is the Henry Girls’ fifth album release, and traces an appealing (if maybe just a touch wayward) path through folk, country, gospel, bluegrass, even pop, but never really sounds entirely like any of these – nor like Irish traditional music, although at times their music has a subliminal part of its roots there too. The Henry Girls have been variously compared to Indigo Girls, Dixie Chicks and Be Good Tanyas, but again they don’t really sound much like any of these – probably a touch more like the last-named if anything. Their eclectic sensibilities can at times bring them closer to the McGarrigles, as on the delicate shadings of the title track and some of the close sibling harmonies, but equally they have a marked tendency to swop around and trade parts within the texture according to the demands of the song (they’re all so devilishly talented!).

Particular standout tracks are the beautiful own-compositions Sweet Dreams and Farewell, the charming confection When Will I See You Again?, the disc’s title song, a slightly grungey take on Rain And Snow and the soulful waltz-ballad Fool’s Gold. OK, I find there’s one or two moments when the Girls’ determined eclecticism seems just a little too off-pat (for instance, their cover of Elvis Costello’s Watching The Detectives feels overly jaunty, altogether too cute to shoot, as does the closing barroom-meets-Andrews Sisters number Couldn’t Ask For More); even so, (commendably) they don’t try their hand at anything they can’t actually handle. And I couldn’t really see the rationale for the inclusion of a couple of brief and insubstantial instrumental tracks, which amount to little more than pleasing interludes in the scheme of things, especially given the high quality of the singing and playing throughout the disc. But whatever the shortcomings of their latest album, do look out for them elsewhere too – for they’ve recently recorded backing vocals for songs on Mary Black’s new project Stories From The Steeples…

David Kidman - Folk and Roots (U.K.)


Still working on that hot first release.



The Henry Girls are three sisters from Co.Donegal, Ireland. They were brought up by music loving parents who introduced them to an eclectic array of sounds such as The Everly Brothers, The Bothy Band, The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Ella Fitzgerald as well being surrounded by traditional Irish music. In their own music, they have a unique rootsy sound which blends their native traditional Irish folk music with hints of americana, bluegrass and blues. They are renowned for their fine close harmonies and musical arrangements, and have been likened to such great musical acts as Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Dixie Chicks and The Be Good Tanyas. They write songs that are tuneful, catchy, and warm. Their repertoire is scattered with old and new and their style reflects many influences and tastes.

They have been playing music together since childhood but decided to go professional in 2010. Since then have become one of the most talked about folk/roots acts to come out of Ireland, now captivating audiences on worldwide stages having toured in Germany, America, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Austria and the UK. 
They are natural performers and are known for their warm personalities, onstage and off.

In 2011, they appeared as guest backing vocalists on Mary Blacks album Stories from the Steeples and one of the songs they appear on is a duet with the fabulous Imelda May. 
Huffington Post's declared their album December Moon as one Top 10 albums of 2013. It was produced by Calum Malcom (Lau, Blue Nile, Heidi Talbot).

In early 2014, the Donegal folk and roots trio released their latest album Louder than Words. The album received rave reviews from the Irish media and will be released in the UK, Germany and the USA later in the year. 

'Louder Than Words is a simply stunning offering from The Henry Girls' - 2UIBestow (12/12)

'...beautiful harmonies that are the trademark of this bandThis whole album is very high quality and one you MUST HAVE in your collection' - Fanrealm

'The Henry Girls have forged a sound all of their own' - Hot Press Magazine (IRL)

'Confident, organic & understated' - The Irish Times

'If ever a reminder of the strength of that blend was needed, it comes in the form of 'Maybe', the recent single from The Henry Girls forthcoming album Louder Than Words' - Irish Examiner

Band Members