Cara and Sam have faith in 'Winter'

In an interview with the Donegal News three years ago, Cara said: “We mainly set up Charcoal Records for ourselves, but Sam has also turned into a it of a talent scout researching on myspace and we’ve been approached by artists who want to work with us, but we have to get this album out first.

“Being in control of your music is a lot more comfortable and there is no pressure to produce something.

“Labels can be quite inhibiting and now for the first time in a while we are really enjoying ourselves again.”

Fast forward to 2011 and the popular Derry singer revealed that Charcoal Records have just signed their first act, The Winter Mountain Band, featuring Joe Francis from Cornwall and Malin’s very own Martin Smyth.

Cara said: “We were really pleased with how well Hill Of Thieves did on our label, it got some great reviews and won Album Of The Year at the Radio 2 Folk Awards.”

With a new addition to the family, little 8-month-year-old Elizabeth joining twins Colm and Noah, Cara and Sam are winding down the touring and concentrating on the label and recording a new album in the near future.

Cara said: “We weren’t just going to sign anyone as our first act as it is also a big investment and risk for us.

“We first heard Joe and Martin perform when they opened for us in McGrory’s of Culdaff. We had a chat after and they gave us their demo.

“Sam and I listened to the demo on the way home and that was it, but a year later when Sam came across the CD again and we sat down to listen to it, we realised how amazing they are.

“I think you have to be in a right place to listen to music sometimes and so we invited them to our hose in Somerset and it has progressed since then.

“Sam has taken them under his wing and we are both genuinely very excited about the guys. They’re such prolific songwriters and they keep on writing great songs,” she said.

In Cara’s own career, the Dungiven native has been enjoying the best of both worlds over the past years.

“When we were younger it was all about the music, but nowadays family very much comes first, including our youngest Elizabeth.


“We were really delighted to have a little girl and I will now have a shopping partner,” she laughed.
“It really has been the best of both worlds for us, we have a great agent and we are very fortunate to be in a position to pick and choose gigs.”

Autumn and Spring tend to be the busier seasons for Cara and in November things will get a little busier as she is set to tour Ireland, including dates in Omagh, Armagh and a big concert at the National Concert Hall.

“We’ll also have dates around Europe in Sweden and Germany. Now the kids have come with us on some occasions in the past, but the boys are starting school in September.

“The family does keep you busy and it’s great, the little one has taken over the whole house now,” she laughed.

“The kids have kept me busy so I haven’t thought much about what songs we will do for the new album, but I have a few aces up my sleeve.”

Cara’s next gig in Donegal will be at the Keltic Hooley in Letterkenny next month and while they’re here, Cara and Sam will make a family holiday out of it with Colm, Noah and Elizabeth.

“It’s always a pleasure to perform in Donegal and while we are there we thought we might make a holiday out of it with the children.


“Sam has been to some parts of Donegal like Culdaff and Redcastle, where we recorded a DVD, but there’s a lot of other areas of the county that I would like to show him and the kids so who knows where we’ll end,” she said.

So there you go, there’s a debut album from The Winter Mountain Band and a new album from Cara Dillon on the horizon. Exciting times lie ahead for Charcoal Records.

For more information on Cara Dillon keep posted on


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