I don’t often review other people’s music nowadays, but I’m always happy to make an exception for Sarah McQuaid.
SARAH MCQUAID – The St Buryan Sessions (Shovel And A Spade Records SAASCD002)
The album is released on October 15th 2021, and there’s a launch concert at St. Buryan’s church. More information on that and other tour dates can be found on her website here.
The 27th September edition of FolkLife is now available online, along with previous updates and newsletters and a link for subscribing to email newsletters.
Quite a lot of information in the latest newsletter: check out the links below.
folklife.uk Folk news (read or download). Festivals & Workshops Diary. Zoom list. Free Updates Newsletter.
folklife-directory.uk detailed listings.
folklife-traditions.uk researched articles, archive, downloads.
As one of the hardest-working musicians on the scene, Sarah McQuaid was hit hard by the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 lockdown. While many artists have tried to keep the flame alive by live-streaming, Sarah opted instead to crowd-fund an album of live tracks taken from video performances recorded last summer at the Cornish church of St. Buryan. The album will be released later in 2021, but in the meantime it has been supported by a series of singles taken from the album, supported in turn by the video performances of those songs. Martin Stansbury’s sympathetic production/engineering, the lovely medieval venue, and Sarah’s own musicianship more than make up for the absence of a live audience.
The first single was the lovely song ‘The Silence Above Us’ (Shovel And A Spade Records SAASDS2101): though I already knew it from her 2018 album If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, it’s been revisiting my ears at frequent intervals since. I reviewed it for folking.com here.
‘Charlie’s Gone Home’ (Shovel And A Spade Records SAASDS2102) and ‘The Day Of Wrath, That Day’ (Shovel And A Spade Records SAASDS2103) were both reviewed here.
My review of the next single ‘Sweetness & Pain’ (Shovel And A Spade Records SAASDS2104) was featured here, and a stunning unaccompanied performance it is, too. (The video, not my review.)
Two more singles were announced in April: ‘Time To Love’, a co-write with Irish singer/songwriter Gerry O’Beirne: you can find the video on Sarah’s YouTube channel – go on, you know you want to! The sixth single, a delightful piano/vocal version of Michael Chapman’s ‘Rabbit Hills’ premieres on YouTube on May 14th.
The full album is due for release on October 15th 2021, and there’ll be more singles and videos throughout the year. I can’t wait for the next one. 🙂
Some years ago now, I reviewed for this site an excellent CD by Mal Brown called Sharp Stones and Tender Hearts.
He recently sent me a couple of his earlier CDs. Rule Changer is another music CD, and it’s just as good as the later album, with a generous 19 tracks, most of them written by Mal (including his setting of Walter de la Mare’s ‘Trees’ and the co-written ‘Johnny Jones’ Rabbit’, plus the traditional ‘Angels’. Mal’s excellent lyrics are supported by some fine tunes, some sounding almost traditional, some leaning towards music hall, but all good singable songs, with some sympathetic instrumental backing and classy harmonies.
Poems, Pies and Peas is a collection of poems and monologues, mostly without music. Not usually my thing, but this includes some hilarious content. I was particularly gratified to learn the real story of the Mona Lisa. 🙂
Prices and contact details as follows.
1CD – £10
2CDs – £15
3CDs – £20
Plus post and package.
- Email – email@example.com
- Phone – 01743 861159.
Last in a series of reviews for Folking.com of a series of CDs on a seasonal theme. While this one is loosely linked to summer, it’s largely focused on work and emigration issues.
HANZ ARAKI & KATHRYN CLAIRE – The Emigrant’s Song/The Laborer’s Lament (The Celtic Conspiracy CELCON003)
Yes, it’s another CD from their seasonal series, reviewed for Folking.com:
HANZ ARAKI & KATHRYN CLAIRE – As I Roved Out: Songs Of Spring (The Celtic Conspiracy CELCON002)
Just one to go…
I’m no longer writing for Folklife West, but it’s well worth checking out for folk-related venue information as well as its articles..