Lifetime Achievement Award for Sarah McQuaid at Ards International Guitar Festival


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.




Sarah writes:
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?”).




Sarah writes:
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.




Sarah writes:
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.




Sarah writes:
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!


Rubbing Shoulders With The Legends Of Rock


Sarah_McQuaid_Legends_of_Rock.jpgA 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.


FolkWords Awards Honour for Walking Into White


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”.


FolkDJ Chart Success


We’re delighted to report that Sarah is the No. 9 artist, Walking Into White is the No. 12 album, and “Canticle of the Sun” is one of the No. 13 songs on the FolkDJ-L chart for September – and delighted to see that Waterbug Records​ is the No. 4 label!




Sarah writes:
I’m appalled to see that this is the first newsletter I’ve sent out since January! Apologies for the long silence, but it’s been a busy time between touring like crazy and the release of my fourth solo CD, Walking Into White.


Album of the Month on FolkWords


We are delighted to announce that Walking Into White prevailed over seriously stiff competition to be awarded “Album of the Month” on FolkWords for the month of February 2015! Below is the full text of FolkWords editor Tim Carroll’s announcement and review:


Walking Into White is No. 11 on Euro Americana Chart


We’re delighted to report that Walking Into White has entered the Euro Americana Chart at No. 11!


Update – January 2015


Sarah writes:
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).


UPDATE – New Album Available to Pre-Order!


Pre-order Sarah’s new album Walking Into White and get a FREE DOWNLOAD of “The Silver Lining”, the lead track of the first single from the album (


Update – May 2014


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.


Update – March 2014


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 lands endorsement deal with Elixir Strings


Sarah McQuaid is proud and happy to be an Elixir Strings endorsed artist, alongside the likes of Richard Thompson and Newton Faulkner.


Update – AUGUST 2013


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!


Update – April 2013


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.


Update – March 2013


Sarah writes ...
Once again I must apologise for leaving it so long since the last newsletter and also for falling behind on the Tour Diary! Plus ça change .... I’ll try very hard to keep up with both from here on out, but had better refrain from making any promises. Just in case.


A Favourite on Two Continents


Today saw Sarah featured in “Best of 2012” programmes on community radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic.


No. 14 for Year 2012 on Folk DJ Chart


Sarah McQuaid’s album The Plum Tree Tree and The Rose finished out the year in the No. 14 place (tied with These Old Dark Hills by Robin & Linda Williams) for 2012 on the FolkDJ chart, based on 156,671 airplays from 194 different DJs who host folk and acoustic music radio shows.


Double Honour on WDCB’s Folk Festival Faves of 2012


Sarah McQuaid made one US public radio station’s “Best of 2012” list not once but twice!


Concert Broadcast on Roz Larman’s FolkScene


On Sunday, 30 December, 2012, a full-length live concert (two 45-minute sets) by Sarah was the special feature on Roz Larman’s well-known syndicated radio show, Folkscene.


Sarah McQuaid featured on “Art of the Song”


In October 2012, Sarah travelled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to record an interview and session for Art of the Song Creativity Radio, a syndicated public radio programme heard on over 150 stations across the USA.


The Plum Tree and The Rose No. 19 for 2012 on Euro Americana Chart

We are delighted to report that The Plum Tree and The Rose finished at No. 19 for the year 2012 on the Euro Americana Chart!

The Plum Tree and The Rose makes WMSC Favorites of 2012 List


Thanks so much to Joltin’ Joe Pszonek, host of Radio Nowhere on WMSC, for including The Plum Tree and the Rose in his Radio Nowhere Favorites of 2012.


Blackbird Bookings now booking Sarah McQuaid in Europe


We are very happy to announce that Mathias Heijen of Blackbird Bookings is now looking after Sarah McQuaid’s bookings in Continental Europe.


“The Plum Tree and the Rose” makes Top 10 List


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.


“The Sun Goes On Rising” featured in Sing Out! Magazine


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!


No. 6 in the Folk Top 50!


We’re delighted to report that this week The Plum Tree and The Rose made it to No. 6 in the Roots Music Report Folk Top 50 – just one notch below The Chieftains, and well above such luminaries as June Tabor, Leonard Cohen and Anaïs Mitchell!


Update – April 2012


The Plum Tree and The Rose was released in March on the US-based Waterbug label ( and is currently No. 3 on the Folk Radio Chart, No. 4 on the UK Roots Radio Airplay Chart and No. 5 on the Euro Americana chart!


The Plum Tree and The Rose reaches No. 3 on FolkDJ Chart


Sarah’s new album The Plum Tree and The Rose was No. 3 on the FolkDJ Chart for March 2012, and as of the week of March 30 was No. 16 on the UK Roots Radio Airplay Chart published by Roots Music Report. The album is also still at No. 5 on the Euro Americana Chart.


New album No. 5 on the Euro Americana Chart!


As of this month, Sarah’s new album The Plum Tree and The Rose has reached No. 5 on the Euro Americana Chart!


Update – February 2012


Lots has happened since my last installment! I’m very happy and excited to be able to announce that I’ve been signed to the US-based Waterbug Records label, which will be releasing my new album The Plum Tree and the Rose on March 5th.


Update – October 2011


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.


Update – August 2011


It’s been a busy summer! In June I spent two weeks in Ireland finishing off my new album. There’s one day of mixing still to be done, which I have to leave in the extremely capable hands of my producer, Gerry O’Beirne, and engineer Trevor Hutchinson.


Update – May 2011


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.


No. 6!


A wonderful bit of news came in just at the start of this month: My double CD (the two solo albums, released together on the North American market as a two-disc package) came in at No. 6 on the FolkRadio chart for 2010, based on playlists from 195 DJs.


Sarah McQuaid for Folk Alliance 2011


We are delighted to announce that Sarah McQuaid has been selected for an official Performance Alley Showcase at the 23rd Annual International Folk Alliance Conference (, taking place between 15th & 20th February in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.


Happy Burns Night!


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.


New album in the can!


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.


Tours, vertigo, new album and more


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! and other news


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 ( and managed to recruit three of its members, plus Kim Guy of Cornish duo Corncrow, to give it a whirl.


On Twittering

I’ve just written a “Guest Blog” for about my bemusement with Twitter and the whole online scenario for musicians in general. Click here to read it if you’re interested!

New videos, Radio 2 airplay, calendar changes


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.


Happy New Year!


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.


New album now available!


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.


Collaborations galore


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.


The West Penwith Hit Factory and other stories


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.


Lots of firsts


Hello, all. I’m just back from my first-ever tour in Scotland, which was also my first-ever tour with the family in tow ... AND my first-ever tour with my beautiful new guitar, made for me by Andy Manson.


In de trein


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 cover girl at last!


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.


Return From Camden Town


Hello, one and all. I’m sitting on the train as I write this, on my way home to Cornwall from the Return To Camden Town Festival ( in London, but metaphorically speaking I’m walking on air.


Wadebridge back on! and other bits and pieces


Hello, all. The good news is that the Wadebridge folk festival this coming weekend is back on again after being cancelled in June (see, and I’ll be doing a half-hour slot in the Sunday evening concert headlined by Martin Simpson.


Singin’ in the rain ... in Cornwall


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.


Rediscovering Bobbie Gentry, the Bothy Band and a few other things besides ...


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 latest


Hello again. My recent interviews with Pat Kenny, Aine Hensey and Charlie McGettigan are all up on the website now – just go to the PRESS page and click on “Listen to radio interviews”.


My son, the poet


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 ....


On the airwaves!


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 ( does a brilliant show on Shannonside/Northern Sound Radio ( that airs every Saturday from 10am to 12 noon.


CD re-release and gigs!


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.


Move to UK


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).


Back on track


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.