A bit slow on the uptake here, but I was in hospital after all. Shelagh McDonald, the singer/songwriter whose albums came out in the early 70s, then apparently vanished from the face of the earth for over thirty years. I wrote about her in 2005 and – not longer afterwards – she reappeared only to go under the radar again. Far from being dead, she’d dropped out after a traumatising experience with hallucinogens and latterly been living in a tent in the wilderness with her boyfriend. Now she is properly back, singing and playing in territories including London. Since my original article no longer appears on The Independent’s website, I have posted it here. Click here for Shelagh’s own website. And there’s also an in-depth 2012 interview with Shelagh here.

Meanwhile, here is my 2005 feature. Of course, I’d have written it differently today. Shelagh’s piano, guitar and song-writing approach share more with Joni Mitchell (Blue era) than Sandy Denny. And compositions such as ‘Ophelia’s Song’ are not comparable to either but demonstrate that Shelagh was forging her own style.

Shelagh McDonald_05


  1. Thanks Charles, always good to get a reminder of how good Shelagh was, and still is. Hers is a very interesting story, thanks for sharing her story and the links as well. I wasn’t aware of her website, am now following this as well. I’m curious as to other musicians of that generation who have fallen off the map, so to speak. One of my favourite musicians of the 60s and 70s was Danny Kirwan. I know he has fallen on hard times of late, but it is so hard to find information on his current state of affairs. It may be that he prefers it this way, but I know he has a lot of fans who know he deserves a lot more recognition and acclaim for his work with FM and as a soloist.
    Hope things are improving for you too, Charles.

    1. Thanks for writing. I heard about Shelagh because of the 2CD reissue and immediately felt that her story needed to be in a newspaper! I had seen a snippet in Mojo which was what got me started. She is coming to Bush Hall in July, and I will try to be there!
      Danny Kirwan – I believe he was one of several who left Fleetwood Mac in troubled circumstances. I took me years, but finally in 2009 I started listening to pre-Buckingham/Nicks FM. Wow – some brilliant albums.
      Thanks for your good wishes, all reciprocated.

    1. Hi Andrew – of course, please do use the scan. My mobility is still rather limited so although I can go to things here and there, it has to be quite sparingly. Alas, I did not get to see Shelagh but am delighted to hear it went well. I will drop you a line as there was something else I wanted to ask you. All best, C

      1. Many thanks. were hoping to do a short 15 min film of some songs and an interview when the tour heads to Oran Mor, so you’ll be able to hear how great Shelagh is sounding these days. Ask away… best Andrew

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