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!

I’ve been working hard on writing songs for my next album, which I hope to record next year and release early in 2015. Huge thanks to both my husband, Feargal Shiels, and my manager, Martin Stansbury, for being my sounding boards and advisors; we’ve had quite a few discussions round the kitchen table about lyrics, with the kids occasionally proffering opinions as well. Hope they won’t be looking for co-writing credits ....

Three of the new songs were inspired by incidents in Arthur Ransome’s wonderful Swallows and Amazons series of books, which I’ve been reading aloud to Eli and Lily Jane over the past year, between bouts of touring. I’m also very happy that Gerry O’Beirne and I have once again managed to co-write a song, this time via the Internet, emailing lyrics and MP3s back and forth to each other. It’s a little more difficult and less fun than working together in person, but Gerry and I are both very happy with the result, and I hope you will be, too, when you hear it! I’ll be testing out some of the new material during my autumn tour, and have no doubt that after playing the songs live I’ll feel the need to tinker with them further. That’s the way it goes ....

It’s going to be a very busy autumn, with 64 shows in three months of intensive touring during which I’ll be crisscrossing the UK from Cornwall to the Highlands, including a showcase at the London Acoustic Guitar Show and several festival performances, then heading over to the USA for eight weeks, playing at the legendary Caffè Lena and at the 10th anniversary of the Rice Festival amongst other appearances.

On my return to the UK, I’ll be playing a very special concert at St. Mary’s Church in my adopted home town of Penzance, for which I’ll be joined by the Blazing Heart Chorus, a 50-strong community choir organised by Vicky Abbott and Mary Woodvine. I love the a cappella choral arrangements Vicky has done of songs by artists like Gillian Welch and the Handsome Family, and I’m incredibly chuffed and honoured that some of my own songs are going to get the same treatment! It’s going to be a fantastic evening, with the Blazing Heart Chorus performing a short set of their own to kick off the show and then joining me for part of my set. I can’t wait. After that there’s one more Cornwall show, at Barley Folk in Liskeard, and then four more gigs up country before I get my winter break.

Two more local appearances bookend the tour. Tonight (Thursday 15 August) and again on Thursday 5 December, I’ll be hosting open sessions at the always friendly and welcoming Blue Anchor Inn in Helston, just up the road from me. These aren’t concerts, but rather informal singarounds, with fellow musicians and singers of all styles and levels invited to join in. Do come along if you’re in the area, either to take part or just to sit and listen.

Keep an eye on the Calendar page for details of all the gigs and on the Tour Diary for photos and stories from the road in the months to come. I’ll be posting updates on Facebook and Twitter as well, and if you can make it to one of the shows it would be great to see you there!