Deidre McCalla doesn’t merely take the stage - she owns it. Her songs embody hope and celebration, struggle, loss, and longing. Sometimes all in one song!
Affectionately dubbed the “dreadlocked troubadour” by the Miami Herald, Deidre McCalla is a performing songwriter with five albums to her credit and a tour schedule that has touched audiences from Maui to Maine, church basements and college coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall. In 2021 Deidre received a SERFA Award from the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance for distinguished service and exceptional contributions to folk music in the Southeast region of Folk Alliance International.
The Austin-American Statesmen cites Deidre as “...a highly distinctive voice in a crowded field of contemporary folk music" and Sing Out Magazine lauds her CD, Playing for Keeps, as a work of "power, conviction and grace.” Deidre McCalla's first Olivia Records album Don’t Doubt It is listed as one of 25 Classic Women’s Music Albums by Ms Magazine. With powerful songwriting, expressive vocals, deft guitar work, and a smile-inducing onstage charm, Deidre McCalla’s music fearlessly celebrates the power and diversity of the human spirit.
Deidre McCalla came of age in the fiery blaze of NYC's folk heyday - a time when Greenwich Village clubs were filled with the likes of Dylan, Baez, and Ochs; a time when Motown ruled the top of the charts and the streets of America screamed with anger and civil unrest. Her first album, Fur Coats and Blue Jeans, was released when Deidre was 19 and a student at Vassar College. With a theater degree tucked under her belt and an acoustic guitar tossed in the back of a battered Buick station wagon, Deidre McCalla hit the proverbial road and never looked back. Deidre later majored in jazz guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and released three albums with the pioneering women's music label Olivia Records.
Deidre McCalla is a much beloved performer in both folk and women's music circles and has shared the stage with a long list of notables that includes Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, Holly Near, Odetta, Cris Williamson, and Sweet Honey in the Rock. She has taught Performance at Warren Wilson College's Swannanoa Gathering and songwriting at Common Ground on the Hill. Deidre's work has been published in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, The Original Coming Out Stories, and Chrysalis: A Feminist Quarterly, and she is featured in The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader. Deidre is a proud member of AFM Local 1000 and the North American Folk Alliance.
Photo: Irene Young