euVue - Seamus Doran

13 April 2012 

Album review – The Plum Tree And The Rose. “Every song catches your attention immediately and holds you in its spell.”

Sarah McQuaid
The Plum Tree and The Rose

I first came across Sarah McQuaid last year with her wonderful album ‘I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning’.

Blessed with a voice that is both moving and subtle she put her stamp on some old standards and has dipped her toe into song writing with two songs of her own.

In a quantum leap forward  in that direction Sarah has written the majority of the songs on her own and jointly with Gerry O’Beirne on this sparkling and confident album.

Historical figures and locations pop up in a contemporary awareness for a singer songwriter at one with her world.

The centrepiece of this CD are  the songs “Hardwick’s Lofty Towers”, the title track and a magisterial “In Derby Cathedral”.

They are songs of questioning?

In Sarah’s words songs that deal with the big questions: “What are we here for? Do we continue to exist in any sense after we die”?

Heavy stuff but delivered with the lightest delicate touch.

This is life poetry of a high order delivered in an innovative and spellbinding manner which continues to seep deeper into one’s soul on repeat listens.

Beautifully arranged and played by Sarah’s regular collaborators every song catches your attention immediately and holds you in its spell.

Bill Blackmore’s trumpet is magnificent particularly on Sarah’s heartfelt and brilliant version of John Martyn’s Nick Drake elegy “Solid Air”.

Sarah McQuaid continues to grow as an artist of distinction and appeal.

This album invites a large and discerning audience and I look forward to catching her live show when she comes up to our part of the world and investigates the magic and mystery of our heritage.