The Folk Diary - Jim Marshall

June 2012 

Album review – The Plum Tree And The Rose. “A beautifully crafted collection.”


Sarah McQuaid
The Plum Tree and The Rose
Waterbug WBG104

With a song entitled “So Much Rain” and a number of tracks with a distinct Elizabethan/Shakespearian flavour you could be led into believing that this is a very topical release, but it isn’t, and obviously wasn’t planned as such. In actuality, it’s a beautifully crafted collection of Sarah McQuaid’s own compositions, some written with Gerry O’Beirne, interspersed with a few works from the likes of John Dowland, Thomas Ravenscroft and John Martyn. What makes it so interesting is the fact that it’s not all that easy to spot which are the new songs and which are the old. I was particularly impressed by “Hardwick’s Lofty Towers”, “In Derby Cathedral” and “Kenilworth”, possibly because I spent my childhood in the Midlands and knew these landmarks very well – often visiting “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall” – and they’re all McQuaid originals, but the whole album is a treat to listen to.