Sarah McQuaid – The Sun Goes On Rising

Sarah ends her series of singles from the forthcoming album The St. Buryan Sessions with a lovely, blues-y song co-written with Gerry O’Beirne a decade or so ago, and previously recorded on the excellent 2012 album The Plum Tree And The Rose. 

To my ear this version seems a little slower than the previous version, and benefits from the ambience of the venue and perhaps an indefinable maturity of delivery. But judge for yourselves: the video of the single is on YouTube here, while the earlier album and 3-track single (and much else, including the previous singles from the St. Buryan album) can be found on Sarah’s Bandcamp page.

The St. Buryan’s Sessions album is due for release on October 15th 2021: while there are no plans to release any more singles from it, but there may be more videos (Sarah’s YouTube channel is here). I don’t mind either way: I have a copy of the album to look forward to!

David Harley


One Step Away – a new old single…

Back in the 1980s, a handful of us – Bob Theil, Don MacLeod, Pat Orchard, Bob Cairns and myself – got together to record an album. Not a band album as such, but one that would represent the work of each of us as songwriters. Unfortunately, the album was never released because of contractual issues: it’s a pity, because there was some excellent stuff on it, in my unbiased opinion.

Fast forward to 2021: having reluctantly come to the conclusion that at my age and in my state of health, it’s unlikely that I’d do any more serious gigging even if life returns to something nearer to normal, so I’ve started to work on releasing some music digitally.

The first steps involved a couple of releases on Bandcamp:

  • The album Tears Of Morning, featuring songs and a few instrumentals, most of which have some connection with Shropshire, including my settings of verse by A.E. Housman and ‘W.H.B.’ – Bill Golembeski’s very kind review for is here.
  • The single ‘Moonflow VI‘ started life as a lengthy instrumental partnered with Bert Jansch’s ‘Needle of Death’ but took on a life of its own as the acoustic and resonator guitar duet ‘Moonflow III‘ (included on Tears of Morning), then acquired a couple of extra electric guitars, by which time it was in its 6th iteration.
  • My intention is that ‘One Step Away (From The Blues)’, though it will be released only a few weeks after ‘Moonflow VI’, will receive a wider digital distribution, though it will also be available on Bandcamp. It’s one of my tracks from the 1980s album mentioned above, remastered to the best of my ability, and it has a more contemporary edge than the ‘Tears of Morning’ album. It will be released on Friday 12th February 2021. (Wheal Alice Music WAM03-21)
    • Words & music by David Harley
    • Vocals, acoustic guitar and electric slide guitar by David Harley
    • Acoustic lead guitar by Don MacLeod
    • 12-string acoustic by Bob Theil
    • Produced, engineered and mixed at Hallmark Studio, London.

Here’s a live-ish video of ‘One Step Away’ coupled with another song that I haven’t commercially recorded yet.

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 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

Paul Cowley in the South-West

Paul Cowley, an excellent blues-influenced player, tells me that he has some gigs in the South West in the near future, including gigs in Brixham (Feb 14th), Dartmouth (March 2nd) and Liskeard (The Albion, 4 Dean St, Liskeard PL14 4AX, on March 3rd). More information on all his upcoming shows here.

I reviewed his 3rd CD here: it’s really rather good.

David Harley

Sarah McQuaid UK tour update

Updated UK gig list from the ludicrously talented and hardworking Sarah McQuaid (see for details of addresses, times, ticket prices etc):

Nov 1 Launceston: No. 8 Cafe & Deli
Nov 2 Trowbridge: The Village Pump @The Lamb
Nov 3 Stroud: Minchinhampton Market House
Nov 4 Barnstaple: ThePlough @StAnne’s
Nov 6 Northampton: Great kNight Folk Club
Nov 7 Pontyclun: Llantrisant Folk Club
Nov 8 Carmarthen: The Parrot
Nov 9 Shrewsbury: Snailbeach Village Hall
Nov 10 Doncaster: Cast
Nov 12 Surbiton: House Concert
Nov 13 Newport Harbour: Quay Arts – Anthony Minghella Theatre
Nov 14 Southampton: The Chapel Sessions
Nov 15 Redbourn Folk Club
Nov 16 Newbury: ACE Space
Nov 17 West Kirby Arts Centre
Nov 18 Southport: Bothy Folk Club
Nov 19 Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre
Nov 22 St Margaret’s Hope: Cromarty Hall
Nov 23 Hoy: Gable End Theatre
Nov 25 Edinburgh: Assembly Roxy
Nov 28 Carlisle: Old Fire Station
Nov 29 Rothbury Roots
Nov 30 Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
Dec 1 Bovey Tracey: South Devon Music
Dec 2 Truro: Old Bakery Studios

Sarah McQuaid UK tour

I just received details of Sarah McQuaid’s UK tour, starting in November. You can find more details of this and her earlier US tour on her web site and on her Facebook page.

  • Nov 1  Launceston: No. 8 Cafe & Deli
  • Nov 2  Trowbridge: The Village Pump @The Lamb
  • Nov 3  Stroud: Minchinhampton Market House
  • Nov 4  Barnstaple: ThePlough @StAnne’s
  • Nov 6  Northampton: Great kNight Folk Club
  • Nov 7  Pontyclun: Llantrisant Folk Club
  • Nov 8  Carmarthen: The Parrot
  • Nov 9  Shrewsbury: Snailbeach Village Hall
  • Nov 10  Doncaster: Cast
  • Nov 12  Surbiton: House Concert
  • Nov 13  Newport Harbour: Quay Arts – Anthony Minghella Theatre
  • Nov 14  Southampton: The Chapel Sessions
  • Nov 15  Redbourn Folk Club
  • Nov 16  Newbury: ACE Space
  • Nov 17  West Kirby Arts Centre
  • Nov 18  Southport: Bothy Folk Club
  • Nov 19  Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre
  • Nov 22  St Margaret’s Hope: Cromarty Hall
  • Nov 23  Hoy: Gable End Theatre
  • Nov 25  Edinburgh: Assembly Roxy
  • Nov 28  Carlisle: Old Fire Station
  • Nov 29  Rothbury Roots
  • Nov 30  Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
  • Dec 1  Bovey Tracey: South Devon Music
  • Dec 2  Truro: Old Bakery Studios

Now that’s what I call a busy schedule…

David Harley

Forever (still) Autumn

While our little corner of Cornwall seems to be in the grip of Winter – though perhaps a milder Winter than most parts of the country have been enjoying – I seem to have found a time tunnel back to Autumn.

While looking for the words to ‘Autumn Song’ by Harvey Andrews – yes, it’s now crept back into my repertoire, though I don’t know if I’ll ever sing it in public – I came across a YouTube video of Sarah McQuaid singing ‘Forever Autumn’, a song sung by Justin Hayward* for Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ project from 1978 (and revisited in 2012, when it was sung by Gary Barlow). This was quite a while ago, but I was reminded of it when I exchanged some email with Sarah about her forthcoming CD, which includes a version of ‘Forever Autumn’.

The video is a live, solo version from the Southdown Folk Festival, so I don’t know how close it is to the recorded version, but, having heard it again, I’m more than ever looking forward to hearing (and reviewing) the album and the launch concert at The Acorn in Penzance on January 25th. I know that Penzance is so far West that even the inhabitants of Truro don’t come down here without carrying their passports, but I note that there are plenty of other places on Sarah’s tour schedule around the time of the CD release, if this video and the ‘Tug of the Moon‘ video have whetted your appetite.

*It seems that Justin Hayward is still doing a good job of promoting ‘Forever Autumn’. In this video he sings it very nicely, but it’s almost worth listening to it just for the entertaining story with which he introduces it.

David Harley

Sarah McQuaid – Digging the new CD

A forthcoming album by Sarah McQuaid that I’m looking forward to reviewing.

This article isn’t about Michael Chapman, but bear with me… Towards the end of the 1960s I acquired his album Rainmaker, and found him to be an innovative guitarist and very distinctive singer/songwriter/. (I remember confusing one of my friends by saying that a song of his reminded me pleasantly of Michael Chapman, until I realized that he thought I meant that Chinnichap chap! ) I played Rainmaker a lot in my teens, and it certainly influenced my early guitar playing. Ironically, I finally parted with the album, along with nearly all my other vinyl, when moving to Cornwall.

Ironically? Well, mildly, in that it’s since that move to Cornwall that his name has recently crossed my radar again. Specifically, as producer of the forthcoming 5th album by the very talented Sarah McQuaid, a well-known name not only here in Cornwall, but far beyond.

Interestingly, Sarah not only shares but exceeds my own passion for the DAGDAD guitar tuning, having written a book and developed two workshops on using it. But her singing and songwriting has earned her many fans who may not know much about modal tunings, but appreciate a fine performance.

I’m looking forward to reviewing her new album If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous nearer to the release date (due out 2nd February 2018). In the meantime, you might like to check out the track The Tug Of The Moon, which is on the album but was released as a single in November 2017: see Mawgan Lewis’s intriguing video here.

David Harley