I’m actually taking a break from music reviewing right now. However, it seems a pity not to mention good music when it comes my way: hence my mini-review of Sarah McQuaid’s current releases – Sarah McQuaid – The St. Buryan Sessions.
And now I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Paul Cowley’s upcoming CD Long Time Comin’, a collection of his own blues-soaked songs plus his versions of songs by Blind Boy Fuller (‘Lost Lover Blues’, a favourite of mine since the 60s), Charlie Patton, Mississippi John Hurt, Ray Charles and Blind Willie McTell. It’s another fine set of accomplished but unpretentious country blues from someone who has a deep knowledge and love of the genre. Paul’s web site is here, and he’s been reviewed several times (twice by me, with enthusiasm!) on folking.com. And here’s a video by way of a taster: ‘Don’t Need Too Much‘.
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. 🙂
An interesting album by Toby Lobb, whom you may know better as a Fisherman’s Friend. 🙂
LOVERIDGE – As The Crow Flies (Loveridge Records)
Some years ago now, I reviewed for Sabrinafu 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone – 01743 861159.
I don’t go to live venues at the moment, let alone review them. But I was fortunate enough to be able to tune in to a Zoom concert by the rather wonderful Daria Kulesh, aided and abetted by the very capable guitarist Tristan Seume. Here’s my review:
DARIA KULESH & TRISTAN SEUME – online concert
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…
Bewilderingly, I find myself having reviewed a Xmas – well, Solstice – CD for folking.com. And even enjoying it!
HANZ ARAKI & KATHRYN CLAIRE – A Winter Solstice Celebration (The Celtic Conspiracy CELCON001)
Another review for Folking.com: a rather fine traditional album – American, but with an Irish accent. My only complaint (though I forgot to mention it in the review) is the absence of information on the songs and tunes. Most of them will be familiar in some form to hardcore traddies, though.
Somewhat unexpectedly, Wainwright takes on the Great American Songbook. And actually does a good job.
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III – I’d Rather Lead A Band (Thirty Tigers)