Sarah McQuaid is back on the road with more gigs to please music lovers. The performer also recently was seen in a video based on true organ donor story ahead of her UK and Ireland tour.
Singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid recently teamed up with award-winning filmmaker Brett Harvey for a music video/short film based on the poignant true story of Bill Conner, a father who lost his daughter and cycled 1,400 miles to hear her heart beating again in the body of its recipient. Underpinned by Sarah’s song “Slow Decay”, from her just-released fifth solo album, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, with Conner’s blessings, ahead of Sarah’s April-May UK and Ireland tour dates, the video was made public.
In May 2017, five months after Conner’s daughter Abbey died at the age of 20, he decided to honour her short life by cycling from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to visit Broward Health Medical Center, the hospital that had recovered Abbey’s organs for donation. 1,400 miles into Conner’s trip, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he met with 21-year-old Loumonth Jack Jr., who’d been given 10 days to live before he was saved by Abbey’s heart.
After sharing a minute-long hug, Jack pulled out a stethoscope so that Conner could hear his daughter’s heartbeat for the first time since she died. The family made a recording of Jack’s heart for Conner to listen to as he continued his journey to spread awareness about the importance of organ donation, promoting the efforts of https://www.donatelife.net/. The “Slow Decay” video seeks to further his efforts.
“I was struck by the simple humanity of the act,” says Harvey, “and the notion that we live on through others after we pass away. I had wanted to tell a version of this story for a while, and as soon as I heard Sarah’s beautiful song I knew it was the right fit.”
Born in Spain (to a Spanish father and an American mother) and raised in Chicago, Sarah now lives in Cornwall, as do Harvey and the five actors who appear in the film. She will be touring in the UK and Ireland in April and May – see full details of all concert dates below.
Produced by guitar icon Michael Chapman, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous was released in February on both CD and vinyl and has been garnering a slew of rave reviews.
In his beautifully rendered film, Harvey takes up the theme of the album subtly but effectively, as a mother (played by Mary Woodvine, whose credits include Eastenders, Doc Martin, Casualty and Poldark in addition to starring roles in Cornish-language short film Blight and award-winning 2007 psychological thriller The Lark) undertakes a cycle journey intercut with flashbacks of her daughter’s short life.
Harvey, McQuaid and Woodvine are all based in Cornwall, as are the other actors who appear in the film: Enys Val Baker (Baby Lea), Ethel Jean Harvey (Young Lea), Chloe Endean (Teenage Lea) and Daniel Richards (Man).
“I’ve been living here for over ten years now,” says Sarah, “and it’s been a real joy and privilege to be able to make my home in a place that’s so beautiful and that’s also such a hotbed of creativity. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have the music career I have now if it hadn’t been for the people I’ve met and worked with since moving to Cornwall.”
A major catalyst in Sarah’s development as a songwriter was her collaboration with former pop star Zoë, writer and performer of 1991 hit single “Sunshine On A Rainy Day”, on the 2009 album Crow Coyote Buffalo, featuring songs co-written by the pair under the band name Mama after they met while dropping off their respective children at the gates of a tiny primary school in West Cornwall. Like all Sarah’s solo albums, Crow Coyote Buffalo was a critical (if not financial) success, drawing comparisons in MOJO to Lal Waterson and The Incredible String Band and in The Irish Times to Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell.
Harvey’s first feature film Weekend Retreat won the Golden Chough award at the Cornwall Film Festival 2011, Best Director at the London Independent Film Festival 2012, Best Actress and Best Film at the Bootleg Film Festival 2013, Best Director at the International Film Festival of Wales 2014 and nine awards at the Global Independent Film Awards. His second feature film Brown Willy played in international film festivals and was described by The New Statesman as “Cornwall’s answer to Withnail And I.”
With the help of financial support from Arts Council England Grants For The Arts (using public money from the Government and the National Lottery) and from Cultivator (which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council), Sarah was able to commission Harvey’s film of “Slow Decay” as well as two videos by Cornish filmmaker Mawgan Lewis: a documentary on the making of If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous and a music video of lead single “The Tug Of The Moon”, both released on Sarah’s YouTube channel in the run-up to the album launch.
“Slow Decay” was released on Sarah’s YouTube channel on Friday March 30th, ahead of a six-week UK and Ireland tour that kicks off with a concert in Mousehole’s Solomon Browne Memorial Hall on Friday April 20th and finishes with a concert in Praa Sands on Saturday June 2nd. Sarah will be touring in the USA in September and October, and hopes to extend her touring range into Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2019.
“I’m so, so glad that Brett came up with this beautiful concept for ‘Slow Decay’,” says Sarah. “It’s something I feel very strongly about, and I hope it’ll inspire anyone who’s not already registered as an organ donor to sign up.”
Fri 20. Solomon Browne Memorial Hall Duck Street, Mousehole, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 6QW, Tel: 01736 731040 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Sat 21. The Beehive Honiton Dowell Street, Honiton, Devon EX14 1LZ, Tel: 01404 384050 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Sun 22. The Green Man Gallery Hardwick Hall, Hardwick Square South, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6PY, Tel: 01298 937375 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Tue 24. Nuneaton Library Church Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV11 4DR, Tel: 0300 555 8171 Tickets £8.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Wed 25. Farncombe Music Club at St John’s Church — St. John’s Street, Farncombe, Surrey GU7 3EJ, Tel: 01483 421520 Tickets £15.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Thur 26. Bridgwater Arts Centre 11-13 Castle Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3DD, Tel: 01278 422700 Tickets £14.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Fri 27. Artrix Arts Centre Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove, Wocestershire, West Midlands B60 1GN, Tel: 01527 577330 Tickets £14.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Sat 28. The Miners’ Theatre Wind Street, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire SA18 3DN, Tel: 0845 226 3510 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Mon 30. Ballymore Acoustic Gigs @ Mick Murphy’s, Stage Inn Bar, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, Ireland W91VE2H, Tel: 086 327 0780 Tickets €12.00 — Doors 8:30 p.m.
Tues 1. The Grand Social 35 Liffey Street Lower, Dublin 1, Ireland, Tel: 01 874 0076 Tickets €12.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Wed 2. Groucho’s Café/Bar & Music Lounge 1 The Square, Richhill, Co. Armagh, N. Ireland BT61 9PP, Tel: 028 38 387874 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Thur 3. Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival Sunflower Folk Club, Sunflower Public House, 65 Union Street, Belfast, N. Ireland BT1 2JG, Tel: 028 90 246609 Tickets £8.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Fri 4. Ards Arts Centre Town Hall, Conway Square, Newtownards, N. Ireland BT23 4NP, Tel: 028 91 810803 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Sat 5. Crusoe’s Coffee Shop First Floor, 29 Sea Road, Castlerock BT51 4TN, Northern Ireland, Tel: 028 70 849618 Tickets £35 includes three-course dinner (BYOB) Dinner 7:00 p.m. Concert 9:00 p.m.
Sun 6. Áras Inis Gluaire Erris Arts Centre — Belmullet, Co. Mayo, Ireland, Tel: 097 81079 Tickets €12.00 — Doors 8:00 p.m.
Tue 8. Assembly Roxy 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland EH8 9SU, Tel: 0131 623 3001 Tickets £15.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Wed 9. Resipole Studios Acharacle, Argyll & Bute, Scotland PH36 4HX, Tel: 01967 431506 Tickets £15.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Fri 11. Atlantic Islands Centre Cullipool, Isle of Luing, Oban PA34 4TX, Tel: 01852 314096 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:15 p.m.
Sat 12. Transclyde Music Isle of Bute Sailing Club, West Bay, Rothesay, Isle Of Bute PA20 0AZ, Tel: 01700 502067 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:15 p.m.
Sun 13. Uig Hall Benmore, Dunoon, Argyll & Bute, Scotland PA23 8QT, Tel: 01369 706591 Tickets £9.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Thur 17. Nottingham Playhouse Studio Theatre, Wellington Circus, Nottingham NG1 5AF, Tel: 0115 941 9419 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Sat 19. Tŷ Siamas Neuadd Idris, Eldon Square, Dolgellau, Gwynedd LL40 1PU, Tel: 01341 421800 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Sun 20. High Forest Community Centre Sinderhope, near Allendale, Northumberland NE47 9AD, Tel: 07974 649719 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Wed 23. The Milton Rooms Market Place, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 7LX, Tel: 01653 696240 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Thur 24 Settle Victoria Hall Kirkgate, Settle, North Yorkshire BD24 9DZ, Tel: 01729 825718 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:15 p.m.
Fri 25. The Old Town Hall High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3AE, Tel: 01442 228091 Tickets £13.50 — Doors 7:00 p.m.
Sat 26. Silver Street Sessions at Cotleigh Brewery, Ford Road, Wiveliscombe, Somerset TA4 2RE, Tel: 01984 623308 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.
Sat 2. Praa Sands Community Centre Pengersick Lane, Praa Sands, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 9RB, Tel: 01392 581070 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:00 p.m.