Home Hear Seán R. McLaughlin & The Wind-Up Crows Warmly Bid You Goodnight, Lad

Seán R. McLaughlin & The Wind-Up Crows Warmly Bid You Goodnight, Lad

The Scottish singer-songwriter and his bandmates fuse traditional & contemporary elements into a sound that hits the sweet spot between folk, indie-rock and more.

Seán R. McLaughlin & The Wind-Up Crows take flight and soar heavenward on their sincere and uplifting album Goodnight, Lad — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

The debut full-length from the Scottish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — joined by a sizable, loose-knit collective of cohorts and collaborators — is a deeply compelling hybrid that effortlessly bridges styles, sounds and musical eras. While drawing the from the rich wellspring of Scottish traditional culture, McLaughlin is not afraid to break the mould, weaving contemporary elements into his songwriting and performance to create a magnificent sound that hits the sweet spot between folk, rock, pop and more.

Lyrically, the record to McLaughlin’s upbringing on the tiny island of Bressay in the Shetland islands, with rural imagery and the pull of the North running through these poetic, evocative tales of love, loss, learning and regret. These ideas can be found in tracks such as Wishing Well and Run Aground. Elsewhere, McLaughlin deals with the surreal effects of grief (first single Ninewells) and displays a knack for short-story writing on darkly powerful tracks such as The Lightning Tree:

“Annie, meet me by the lightning tree

I miss my old house and the sound of the sea
Not falling in love, but neither are you
There’s a beautiful chaos in all that we do
When I buried his bones I sat here alone
When I made love and I cut and run
And I’m down on my knees ‘neath the lightning tree
Begging you please to come home
I need you now to atone.”

Photo by Graham Ogston.


Aiding and abetting the multi-talented McLaughlin — who plays guitars, keys, mandolin, bass, banjo, harmonica, whistle and viola on the album — are a slate of internationally renowned and award-winning musicians such as Ragini Shankar, Lewis McLaughlin and Joe Montague, alongside celebrated Shetland folk artists such as Alex Johnson and J. J. Jamieson.

Goodnight, Lad was co-produced by McLaughlin, Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit) and Jeremy Backofen (Felice Brothers). It was primarily recorded in McLaughlin’s home studio (a lockdown build project), but mixed between Monaghan’s Glasgow studio and Backofen’s place in Upstate New York. Says Monaghan: “Sean is a beautiful artist — honest and raw. His songs are searching for the secrets that life gives, inner and outer connection, a joy to be part of it.”

Raised on the tiny Island of Bressay in the Shetland Islands, surrounded by the sea, McLaughlin developed a deep love for rurality and traditional music. Picking up the fiddle and guitar before his teens, he was inspired by the local folk music of islands and his mother’s involvement in the local Shetland Folk Festival. In 2024, he released his debut EP Ninewells with The Wind-Up Crows, showcasing his alternative roots sound and earning praise from critics throughout U.K. and beyond.

Joined regularly by renowned fiddler Vicky Gray and long-time collaborator Stephen Thom on mandolin, McLaughlin is equally at home in alternative indie-rock and traditional music worlds, while his evocative songwriting and authentic delivery helps him stand out in any crowd.

Listen to Goodnight, Lad below, watch some of Seán R. McLaughlin & The Wind-Up Crows’ videos above, and join them on their website, Instagram and Facebook.


Photo by Daniel McGowan.