At last week’s Ards International Guitar Festival, Sarah McQuaid was presented with the festival’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous recipients over the festival’s 20-year history include legendary guitarists Davey Graham, John Renbourn, John Martyn, Arty McGlynn, Martin Simpson, Gordon Giltrap, Pierre Bensusan and Martin Carthy.
Here it is, February already! My autumn tours in the USA and UK seem a distant memory (although you can still look at photos from them on Facebook and Instagram if you’re so inclined), and I’m well into what other people keep referring to as my “year off” (as in “Are you enjoying your year off? Having a good time putting your feet up and taking it easy?”).
Goodness, the summer has flown! It’s been a lovely one: I had a fantastic time teaching a weekend DADGAD guitar workshop at Halsway Manor (known as “The Folk Hogwarts” for good reason – have a look at the pics I posted on Facebook and Instagram and you’ll see why!), sang and played at the wedding of my great friend and former Mama bandmate Zoë Pollock (if you come to any of my concerts over the next few months, you’ll get to hear the wedding march I wrote for her), had a wonderful 10-day camping holiday with my husband and kids in Warwickshire and Norfolk, and just last weekend headed over to Belgium and the Netherlands to perform at FolkFestival Ham and Esway Atelier Concerten.
Well, my Netherlands & Germany tour was a bit more eventful than I’d have liked: amongst other things, I made an unscheduled trip to hospital in Germany due to an ear infection that also forced me to cancel what would have been my fifth visit in as many years to Kofferfabrik, one of my favourite venues in the world. Grrr! Thankfully, I didn’t have to cancel any other shows and am all better now.
Belated thanks to everyone who came along to any of the 61 concerts on my marathon three-month, two-continent autumn tour. I’ve now had a lovely few months at home and am excited and happy to be heading out on the road again!
A chance meeting at a pub session in Cornwall led to singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid’s being featured in the Legends Of Rock photography exhibition alongside the likes of Amy Winehouse, Björk, The Prodigy and Courtney Love. As she prepares to set off on tour through the Netherlands, Germany and the UK (with a USA tour to follow in the autumn), Sarah reflects on the mysterious workings of happenstance.
We are delighted to announce that Walking Into White prevailed over seriously stiff competition to be one of two runners-up for “Best Album from a Female Artist” in the annual FolkWords Album Awards for 2015, pipped at the post by Ange Hardy’s Essteesee which also won “Album of the Year”.
Exciting times ahead: Just one week from today, on Monday February 2nd, my fourth solo album Walking Into White will be released in the UK and Europe! It won’t be released in North America until August, closer to my September-October US tour, but even if you’re in the US or Canada you can still buy the album directly from me (see info below).
Sarah writes ...
I meant to send out a newsletter at the start of my UK/Ireland tour, but time caught up with me and we’re now into the final week of the UK leg! I’ve listed the remaining dates at right, anyway, along with the rest of my gigging schedule for the summer.
Sarah writes ...
Appalled to see that this is the first newsletter I’ve sent out since last August – grovelling apologies for being so dilatory, and I’ll try to do better from here on out.
Sarah writes ...
I can’t believe the summer’s nearly over and I’ll be setting off on tour again just over two weeks from now. It’s been a lovely few months at home with the family, punctuated by appearances at the Golowan Festival here in Penzance, Festival At The Edge up in Shropshire and Sidmouth FolkWeek in Devon. All great fun, and such a treat to get to hear so many fantastic fellow musicians and meet lots of old and new friends!
Sarah writes ...
I’m typing this very quickly, as I’m due to set out in less than two hours on a six-week tour of Ireland and the UK and I haven’t even packed my suitcase yet! It’s been a lovely two weeks at home with the family since I returned from my March tour of the Netherlands and Germany.
Today saw Sarah featured in “Best of 2012” programmes on community radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic.
Sarah McQuaid made one US public radio station’s “Best of 2012” list not once but twice!
We are pleased to announce that The Plum Tree and the Rose has made the Top 10 Albums of 2012 list on Mike Ganley’s Crooked Road, together with albums by Fairport Convention, Cathy Jordan, The Outside Track, Kate Rusby, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, Jim Moray, Altan, Show of Hands and Gretchen Peters.
We are thrilled to report that the new issue of Sing Out! magazine featuring “The Sun Goes On Rising” is finally out ... with Sarah’s name on the cover right under Loudon Wainwright III’s!
I’ve just returned from the longest tour I’ve ever done: 8 weeks in the USA, taking in the whole country in a great big circle that started and finished in Austin, Texas, via 37 of the 50 states.
It’s been a very, very busy year thus far – I’ve been touring pretty much nonstop since the end of January, with brief forays home now and again to remind my husband and children who I am, and I won’t get much of any respite until the end of June.
Hello everyone, and Happy Burns Night! Feargal and I attended a terrific celebration hosted by our friends Sarah and Geoff at the weekend, with poems composed for the occasion, some beautiful single malts and delicious haggis.
Hello, all. I hope you had a good summer! Mine was hectic, to say the least, mostly due to the ten days I spent recording my new album in Ireland, the frantic period of preparation that preceded them, and the ensuing frantic period of trying to catch up with all the things I’d let slide while getting material ready for the new album.
I’ve had lots of adventures since my last missive, starting with a lovely tour of Ireland in April, where as usual the highlights were all furnished by the people I met along the way.
Calling all singers
A couple of weeks ago, I started writing a song, and realised a few lines into it that it was taking the form of a canon. Luckily, that very evening – 14 March – I was playing a double bill with the excellent Cornish band Dalla (www.dalla.co.uk) and managed to recruit three of its members, plus Kim Guy of Cornish duo Corncrow, to give it a whirl.
Hello there! Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve uploaded half a dozen new live concert videos, thanks to one Roy Flitcroft, who made an impressively high-quality recording of my gig at the Perthshire Amber festival in Dunkeld, Scotland, last October and was kind enough to send me a DVD of it. Have a look and let me know what you think.
A very happy new year to all of you! The last few months have been busy, to say the least, what with gigs in Holland, Belgium, Ireland and the UK, the release in October of I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning and most recently the launch of Crow Coyote Buffalo – the debut album from Mama, my new band with fellow singer-songwriter Zoë Pollock.
The big news for today is that my new album, I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning – with a 24-page (!) booklet including original cover artwork by the lovely and talented Mary Guinan – is now available to friends and supporters in advance of the 20 October release date.
Hello, all. The album project with Zoë mentioned in the last of these missives is still going strong – we’re nearly finished recording, and expect to release Crow Coyote Buffalo under our band name, Mama, in late November – watch this space for details of both the album and the Mama website, which is still under construction at the moment.
Hello, all. Apologies for the long silence, but it’s been a busy time. I was on the road for most of March, first in Holland and then in Ireland, and since my return I’ve been up to my eyes in a very exciting new project.
Hello, all. As you can see from the subject line, I’ve been brushing up on my Nederlands (note that the titles of some of the pics on my Photos page have been changed accordingly), and it’s come in very handy over the last few days. I am indeed in the train, somewhere between Rotterdam and Brussels as I type, heading home after three lovely gigs in Holland.
A major surprise in today’s post: I’ve just received the October/November edition of Welsh folk magazine Taplas, only to discover that I’m on the cover! I did the interview with the magazine’s editor, Keith Hudson, some weeks back but had no idea that he was planning to give it such prominence.
Hello there. The family and I are now installed in our new home in Cornwall, and the weather is making us feel right at home. I think there’s been at least some rain on every day of the four weeks we’ve been here thus far.
Hello there. I’m on day nine of the recording of my new album, and it’s sounding really lovely so far. All thanks, I must immediately point out, to the good offices of Gerry O’Beirne and Trevor Hutchinson, who are back in the producer’s and engineer’s seats, respectively, just over ten years on from when we recorded When Two Lovers Meet.
The day before yesterday, my three-year-old son Eli, while looking at a picture of a tiger, having already observed that said tiger was orange and black, uttered the following: “Tigers are made from fire and they’re made from night-time.” And no, he hasn’t been dipping into William Blake behind my back ....
Thanks to all the good work of the supremely competent Bernie at Gael Linn, I’m spending quite a bit of time on the airwaves these days. Charlie McGettigan (http://www.charliemcgettigan.com) does a brilliant show on Shannonside/Northern Sound Radio (http://www.shannonside.ie) that airs every Saturday from 10am to 12 noon.
Howdy, folks. The big news is that my album When Two Lovers Meet has officially been re-released today, Friday February 23, with distribution throughout Ireland by Gael Linn Records.
The big news at the moment is that Feargal and I have put our house on the market (a dandy 4-bedroom res in Ballycanew, near Gorey, Co. Wexford, for anyone out there who’s interested).
What with having two children in three years and one thing and another, I didn’t actually take my guitar out of its case from the summer of 2003 until the summer of 2006, at which point I received an email from Seamie O’Dowd of the Strandhill Guitar Festival asking whether I’d be interested in doing a workshop on DADGAD with Dick Gaughan.