Sarah McQuaid – new album and tour dates

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.

David Harley

Sarah McQuaid – album launch and Cornish gigs

As this isn’t a commercial site, I don’t usually recycle press releases, but the launch of Sarah McQuaid’s new album and two other gigs locally will interest an awful lot of people hereabouts. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing the whole album.

Benefit Gig in St Buryan Church Marks Launch Of New Album By Cornwall-Based Singer-Songwriter Sarah McQuaid

The new solo album by award-winning Cornwall-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid will be launched on 15 October with a very special benefit concert in – and for – St Buryan Church, where the album and its accompanying video series were recorded and filmed.

Born out of the pandemic, The St Buryan Sessions is Sarah’s sixth solo album, and is her most powerful and emotive offering yet. It had its genesis in the spring of 2020, when Sarah’s gigs and tours were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, she was able to finance a live solo recording (sans audience) in the lovely medieval church of St Buryan, not far from her home in rural West Cornwall.

“I’ve been living in St Buryan for fourteen years now,” Sarah explains, “and it’s been incredibly heartwarming how my family and I have been welcomed into the life of the village. I kind of thought when we first moved here that we’d be shunned as ‘blow-ins’, but that hasn’t been the case at all, and I’m so grateful.

“I’m also incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to record the new album in such a gorgeous space, and I really wanted to be able to give something back.”

The launch takes place on the album’s worldwide release day, Friday, October 15. In order to make it accessible for all in the local community, no entrance fee will be charged, but there will be a voluntary retiring collection for church funds.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” says churchwarden Fiona Vinnicombe. “The Parochial Church Council is hugely indebted to Sarah for suggesting the concert in aid of maintaining our wonderful historical building as well as its work and ministry within the community.

“We’ve recently completed the renovation of the tower, along with the installation of a kitchen area and toilet so that the whole community can use and benefit from this magnificent building in the centre of the village.

“This project cost us £180K, which was all funded by grants, donations and many fundraising events. Apart from these major projects, we need to raise £900 every month just to pay our utility bills and general expenses for running the church.

“We are always so grateful for any help we can get, and particularly from a performer of such high calibre.”

Two further Cornwall dates feature later in the six-week, 21-date tour that follows the launch: Praa Sands Community Centre on Saturday 30 October and Sterts Studio near Liskeard on Sunday 28 November.

Conceived as a concert set and including such fan favourites as “In Derby Cathedral”, “The Sun Goes On Rising” and “Yellowstone”, the album is a journey not only through a wide range of instrumentation and styles, but also through the spectrum of emotions that Sarah evokes in her performance and invokes in the listener.

Sensitively captured by her longtime sound engineer and manager, Martin Stansbury, with the aid of ambient microphones placed throughout the church, the sound of Sarah’s voice and music soars through the stunning acoustic space as she moves between acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar and floor tom drum, performing songs that span her 24-year career – from “Charlie’s Gone Home”, originally recorded on her 1997 debut album When Two Lovers Meet, to electric guitar based pieces from her most recent studio album If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous.

Two previously unrecorded covers feature on the album: the classic jazz standard “Autumn Leaves”, on which she demonstrates the full dynamic range of her lush, distinctive voice, and a cover of “Rabbit Hills”, written by her dear friend (and past producer) Michael Chapman.

This second piece was commissioned by Michael’s wife as a gift for his 80th birthday and sees Sarah at the beautiful grand piano that resides in the church, her compelling, heartfelt delivery revealing the depth of her immersion in the rich imagery of Chapman’s evocative lyrics.

“I’m particularly indebted to the St Buryan Male Voice Choir for giving me permission to use their gorgeous Yamaha concert grand for the recording,” adds Sarah. “It was left to them in a bequest and it’s such a fantastic instrument to play. I wish I could take it on tour with me!”

The recording was filmed by Cornish filmmaker and director Mawgan Lewis of Purple Knif with the aid of Eden Sessions veteran camera operator John Crooks. The fruits of their work can be seen on Sarah’s YouTube channel – https://youtube.com/sarahmcquaid — where Lewis’ 9-minute documentary “The Making Of The St Buryan Sessions”, featuring interviews and song snippets, can also be viewed, along with a 59-second promo video about the album and tour.

The St Buryan Sessions is now available to pre-order via https://sarahmcquaid.bandcamp.com on CD and limited-edition blue vinyl double LP, together with T-shirts, tea towels, tote bags, ultra-limited-edition test pressings, and the full concert film on a 16GB engraved wooden USB stick, all bearing Sarah’s original artwork.

A six-week UK-wide tour will follow the album launch and continue through the end of November. Sarah’s 2022 tour plans include the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and the USA. See https://sarahmcquaid.com/tour for details of all shows.

High-resolution photos and album cover artwork are available for download from https://sarahmcquaid.com/media-kit – also see https://sarahmcquaid.com/about for full biog. Download links for the album (including a 12-page PDF booklet with credits and other information) and hard copy CDs are available on request.

Contacts:

Sarah McQuaid: <sarah@sarahmcquaid.com>, Tel. +44 1736 810807
Martin Stansbury: <management@sarahmcquaid.com>, Tel. +44 7977 470498

See https://www.stburyanchurch.org.uk for contacts and further information about St Buryan Church.

Folklife West magazine

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..

David Harley

Closing/suspended events

Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, a large number of regular events have already been cancelled or at least suspended. I’m afraid I can’t promise to keep on top of all the events listed here as they go offline and (hopefully) resume further down the line. Of course, I’ll remove anything I know to have stopped happening altogether in due course. Where I can, I’ll continue to repost any relevant information on the Wheal Alice page on Facebook. Whether you decide to go to events that are still running is up to you, of course, at least until the government decrees otherwise: for the moment I’m leaving the list intact with contact details – where I have them – so that you can check on current status.

David Harley

Sarah McQuaid – back in the UK

With the US leg of the incredibly hardworking Sarah McQuaid’s autumn tour coming to a close this month, here’s a current list of dates for the UK leg. Including plenty of venues convenient for those of us living in the West Country. 🙂

See http://www.sarahmcquaid.com/tour for details of addresses, times, ticket prices etc.

Nov 1 Teignmouth: Pavilions Teignmouth
Nov 2 Praa Sands Community Centre
Nov 3 Ivybridge: Folk On The Moor
Nov 4 Blandford Forum: Chettle Village Hall
Nov 6 Preston: The Willows Folk Club
Nov 7 Caerleon Arts
Nov 8 Farnham Maltings
Nov 9 Box (Corsham): Schtumm Extra
Nov 10 Haverhill Arts Centre
Nov 12 Felton (Morpeth): Gallery Forty5
Nov 14 York: Black Swan Folk Club
Nov 15 Ulverston: Water Yeat Village Hall
Nov 16 Buxton: The Green Man Gallery
Nov 17 East Cowton Village Hall
Nov 18 Newcastle: The Bridge Folk Club
Nov 20 Leicester: The Musician
Nov 23 Northampton: Folk By The Green
Nov 24 Hardraw: The Green Dragon Inn
Nov 25 Stockport: The Green Room @ The Plaza
Nov 28 Luton: The Hat Factory
Nov 29 Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
Nov 30 Liskeard: Sterts Studio

David Harley

Sarah McQuaid UK dates

Since quite a few of them are in Cornwall/the West Country 🙂

Nov 1  Teignmouth: Pavilions Teignmouth
Nov 2  Praa Sands Community Centre
Nov 3  Ivybridge: Folk On The Moor
Nov 4  Blandford Forum: Chettle Village Hall
Nov 6  Preston: The Willows Folk Club
Nov 7  Caerleon Arts
Nov 8  Farnham Maltings
Nov 9  Box (Corsham): Schtumm Extra
Nov 10  Haverhill Arts Centre
Nov 12  Felton (Morpeth): Gallery Forty5
Nov 14  York: Black Swan Folk Club
Nov 15  Ulverston: Water Yeat Village Hall
Nov 16  Buxton: The Green Man Gallery
Nov 17  East Cowton Village Hall
Nov 18  Newcastle: The Bridge Folk Club
Nov 20  Leicester: The Musician
Nov 23  Northampton: Folk By The Green
Nov 24  Hardraw: The Green Dragon Inn
Nov 25  Stockport: The Green Room @ The Plaza
Nov 28  Luton: The Hat Factory
Nov 29  Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
Nov 30  Liskeard: Sterts Studio

(See http://www.sarahmcquaid.com/tour for details of addresses, times, ticket prices etc)

David Harley

Daria Kulesh / Kara

A little bird tells me that the amazingly talented Daria Kulesh is offering the albums by Kara – with whom she was lead singer between 2013 and 2017 – ‘Some Other Shore’ and ‘Waters So Deep’ at half price. And if you haven’t already, you might want to check out her solo albums – two of which I’ve reviewed enthusiastically – at the same time. Her online shop is here.

David Harley