FolkWorld #48 07/2012
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Powerful Alto, Virtuoso Picking

Sarah McQuaid - Promotional Tour and CD Release "The Plum Tree and the Rose" - Alte Mühle, Huttwil, 23 March 2012.

Sarah McQuaid

Sarah McQuaid @ FolkWorld:
FW#36, #38, #42, #48 |

Sarah McQuaid, singer/songwriter from Cornwall, released her new album "The Plum Tree and the Rose" and in March she came to continental Europe for a promotional tour. Though her album features some of the finest folk musicians like Trevor Hutchinson on double bass, Gerry O'Beirne on guitars, Bill Blackmore on flugelhorn, Rosie Shipley and Maíre Breatnach on fiddle and Liam Bradley on percussions, Sarah came just with her sound engineer and her guitar.

She presented tender ballads like "Lift you up and let you fly", a song written for her little daughter, as well as dramatic songs like "In Derby Cathedral". Both mesmerized on the album by Blackmore's flugelhorn, she captured the audience with her warm alto voice and her brilliant guitar playing. The Pagan chants at the end of Derby Cathedral were miraculously completed by the sound man's perfect timing. Another highlight was the John Martyn cover "Solid air", a bluesy song brought forward with passionate singing and brilliant guitar playing. The title song is one of nine original songs on her latest album and the studio version is as well a solo performance. It is a medieval style song with historical and philosophical background.

Sarah McQuaid: The Plum Tree and the Rose

On my request in the interval she added "Shady grove/Cluck old hen" to the second set, a hauntingly beautiful air from the Southern Appalachians and a heritage from her late mother. Sarah tunes her guitar in DADGAD and is a virtuoso finger picking player. Another song from her former album was "West Virginia boys", she invited the audience to sing the chorus and sang it a capella with her powerful alto. The crowd in the small venue was delighted by her performance and she had to sing several encores, one of them, though not the last one, was "Last song", a lullaby to remember her mother who used to sing for her when she was a child.

The small but charming venue in Huttwil, County Bern, was pretty full on this Friday night and Sarah inspired the crowd with her hauntingly beautiful program. For those who missed her on scene: check her album out!

Photo Credits: (1) Sarah McQuaid (by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup); (2) CD "The Plum Tree and the Rose" (website).

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