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SARAH MCQUAID I Won't Go Home 'Til Morning  EMD  ***

The benefits of reflection are evident on Sarah McQuaid's second album. Here she shifts her focus from Irish traditional to the Appalachian music beloved of her late mother. McQuaid's voice has evolved in texture as well, and she inhabits Loretta Lynn's In the Pineswith an ease that reflects her lifelong acquaintance with the songs of the high country. Her cover of Bobby Gentry's Ode to Billie Joeis particularly elegiac, the spare arrangements revealing the full impact of the winding storyline. Her own songwriting is beautifully spare, and Only an Emotioncasts a weary eye on the embarrassment with which society deals with grief these days. Producer Trevor Hutchinson and guitarist Gerry O'Beirne bring a muted, perfectly pitched presence to what is a melancholy but somehow celebratory collection. SIOBHÁN LONG

Download tracks: The Wagoner's Lad, In the Pines