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Long Time Courting: Bio

Boston-based band Long Time Courting is an all-women supergroup featuring Shannon Heaton (flute, accordion, vocals) of Matt & Shannon Heaton and Childsplay, Liz Simmons (guitar, vocals) of Annalivia and the John Whelan Band, Valerie Thompson (cello, vocals) of Laura Cortese's Acoustic Project and Fluttr Effect, and newest member Katie McNally (fiddle, vocals), also of Childsplay. Together as Long Time Courting, these four talented woman offer an extraordinary blend of neo-traditional Irish, Scottish and American music that showcases each musician's versatility, creativity, and mastery. Exquisite vocal harmonies combine with formidable instrumental prowess to create music that is both playful and richly satisfying. The members of the group are all seasoned performers, having toured with such notable acts as The John Whelan Band, Childsplay, Robbie O’Connell, Aoife Clancy, Laura Cortese’s Acoustic Project, and Carlos Núñez.

"Graceful, authentic and very winning indeed." -Aidan O’Hara, Irish Music Magazine

"Enchanting vocals, top-rank musicianship, and well-conceived, intelligent arrangements." -Boston Irish Reporter

"An exceptionally good album... one of the best new groups playing in the Celtic genre." -Times Argus

“This is not a 'girl band' for the sake of being so. These women are true masters of their craft.” —Aoife O'Donovan, vocalist and songwriter

Meet Long Time Courting:

Shannon Heaton "Shannon is a confident and accomplished player with beautiful tone, and is also respected for her many compositions... one of North America's finest traditional musicians, able to hold her head up with fluteplayers worldwide." -Irish Music Magazine

Named "Female Musician of the Year" twice by Irish radio giant LiveIreland, Shannon has performed in three continents. Moving seamlessly from wooden flute to trad-style singing to lush accordion lines, she is a poised, passionate performer and composer who had her musical start in Chicago, with annual trips to Clare. She is an integral part of Boston’s vibrant Irish music and neo-Celtic Acoustic scenes, and also performs with duo Matt & Shannon Heaton.

Liz Simmons "A honey-voiced singer. . .Simmons sings with winsome ease and genuine feeling." -Dirty Linen Magazine

Liz grew up listening to her mother sing traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and Appalachia, as well as the New Orleans brass music her father plays. She studied classical voice in her teens, and used the technique she had acquired to dive back into the traditional songs she was steeped in as a child, as well as developing a passion for songwriting and arranging. She is the lead singer and guitarist of her own band Annalivia, as well as the singer for the John Whelan Band. Her singing will be featured in the soon-to-be-released film "Time and Charges", written and directed by Grammy and Emmy award winner Ernest Thompson.

Valerie Thompson “One of the most interesting female low end musicians isn’t technically a bass player. She is electric and acoustic cello player Valerie Thompson.” -Bill Copeland, CTRL ALT Music

A Kansas City native, Valerie grew up a classical cellist in a household filled with the music of Bach, The Beatles, The Chieftains and the blues. Entranced by dance music in her teens, she supplemented her formal studies by participating in summer folk festivals. She graduated with honors from the Berklee College of Music and then went on to obtain a masters in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory. She has toured nationally and internationally with musical projects as diverse as Fluttr Effect (world infused progressive rock band), Laura Cortese's Acoustic Project (acoustic folk pop), and Goli (songdriven chamber duo). In addition to being an engaging performer, Valerie is also an active teacher and recording session musician in the Boston area, and her original music has scored independent films and plays.

Katie McNally "Her playing is at once fun-loving, ballsy, and graceful, and her beautifully crafted arrangements and original tunes make for a wonderfully varied and exciting listening experience." –Natalie Haas, cellist

Katie McNally grew up steeped in fiddle music. She is a former New England Scottish Fiddle Champion and a two time runner up for the National title. She recently graduated from Tufts University, where she studied traditional music from many cultures (including a semester abroad in Glasgow, Scotland). She released her debut solo CD entitled "Flourish" in 2013, and is quickly becoming a renowned performer and instructor of Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle styles. You may often find her leading workshops for the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club or teaching at Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School. She performs with the supergroup Childsplay and in her own solo project, and this past year she could also be seen touring with famed Galician piper Carlos Núñez.