Singer/songwriter/guitarist Sarah McQuaid is hard at work writing songs for her new album, to be produced by folk icon Michael Chapman – but she still finds time to perform at festivals and other venues in the UK and abroad.
McQuaid met the legendary singer-songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman (whose January 2017 Steve Gunn-produced release 50 has drawn widespread press acclaim) when both artists played the Village Pump Festival in 2014. Since then, he’s become a staunch friend and supporter, even performing as Sarah’s opening act at a local concert he and his wife Andru arranged for her a few months after the festival. Sarah has become a regular visitor to the Chapmans’ farmhouse in Cumbria, and during one visit last year he made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“We were having a chat and a glass of wine, and he said ‘Why don’t you let me produce your next album?’,” Sarah recalls. “I’m glad he said it, because I’d never have dared ask otherwise!”
Chapman has also given Sarah his own electric guitar on long-term loan.
“I’ve never played electric before,” she says, “but I’m liking it a lot! And it’s a lovely instrument, a beautiful Ibanez with a gorgeous flamed maple top. My custom-made Andy Manson acoustic will always be my number one guitar, but it’s nice to be able to make some different sounds for a change.”
Born in Madrid, raised in Chicago and now based in Cornwall, Sarah McQuaid has spent the past seven years touring virtually nonstop on both sides of the Atlantic, earning critical accolades along the way. Her most recent album Walking Into White (2015) was hailed by Germany’s Folker as “Ein mutiges Album mit einem potenziellen Pophit” (A courageous album that includes a potential pop hit). FolkWords selected it as Album of the Month and nominated it for both Best Album from a Female Artist and Album of the Year.
Of one of her USA concerts, The Huffington Post wrote: “Finding treasure feels great, and such is the case with musician Sarah McQuaid. … I’ve attended hundreds of concerts of all kinds, and her subtle mastery onstage launches her straight into my fave shows ever. One voice, one guitar, and the wondrous reminder of the magic of music. Sarah has the gift.”
Sarah’s taking 2017 off from touring to focus on writing and arranging material for the new album, which is scheduled to be recorded in May and released in January 2018. However, she’s still doing occasional concerts and festivals around the UK and elsewhere.
Friday 24 February 2017
Pavilions Teignmouth — The Den Crescent, Teignmouth TQ14 8BG, UK
Tel 01626 249049 — Tickets £12 (£10 concessions) — 8pm (Doors 7:30pm)
Sunday 9 April 2017
Ards International Guitar Festival — The Queen’s Hall, 18 West Street, Newtownards BT23 4EN, Northern Ireland
Tel 028 91 810803 — Tickets £12 — 7:30pm (Doors 7pm)
In addition to headlining the Sunday evening “Songbirds” concert in The Queen’s Hall, Newtownards, on the final night of the Ards International Guitar Festival, Sarah will also be giving a 90-minute “Introduction to DADGAD” guitar workshop (see http://www.sarahmcquaid.com/workshops for details) at 2pm on the Sunday afternoon. The workshop will take place upstairs at the Ivy Bar (14 Castle Street, Newtownards BT23 7PA) and the workshop fee will be £10.
Monday 17 April 2017
Falmouth Folk ‘n’ Cider Fayre — Events Square, Falmouth TR11 3QY, UK
Tel 07584 231391 — FREE EVENT — 4pm
A part of Falmouth’s 7th Spring Festival celebrations, Falmouth Folk ‘n’ Cider Fayre is now in its 5th year and offers a fun weekend of toe tapping and cider sampling, an arts and crafts market, children’s entertainment and food stalls. This is an under-cover event and all members of the family are welcome. Sarah will be playing a 1-hour set beginning at 4pm.
Saturday-Sunday 29-30 April 2017
Costa del Folk — Sirenis Seaview Country Club, Calle des Caló, s/n, Port d’es Torrent, San José, Ibiza 07829, Spain
Tel 01254 445050 — See festival website for full schedule & prices — Set times & stages TBC
Wednesday 10 May 2017
Philleigh Folk Club — The Roseland Inn, Philleigh-in-Roseland, Truro TR2 5NB, UK
Tel 01326 270379 — Tickets £8 — 7:30pm (Doors 6:15pm)
Friday 30 June 2017
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre — Morrab Road, Penzance TR18 4HE, UK
Tel 01726 879500 — Tickets £12 advance (£14 door) — 7:30pm (Doors 6:30pm)
This will be Sarah’s second appearance at this lovely summer concert series. Vegetable curry with naan bread will be available at a very reasonable £4! NOTE: In the event of rain, this concert will be moved indoors to St Mary’s Church, Penzance.
Wednesday 5 July 2017
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod — Royal International Pavilion, Abbey Road, Llangollen LL20 8SW, UK
Tel 01978 862001 — See festival website for ticket information — 6pm (Doors 9am)
Sarah will be playing a 75-minute set from 6 to 7:15pm as part of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod ‘Amphitheatre Sessions’ in the new ‘Amphitheatre Zone’, a chilled-out atmospheric area near the main restaurant and bar.
Saturday-Sunday 22-23 July 2017
Stainsby Festival — Brunt’s Farm, Stainsby, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S44 5RN, UK
Tel 01246 851337 — See festival website for ticket options — Set times TBC
Thursday 27 July 2017
Evesham Arts Centre — Victoria Avenue, Evesham WR11 4QH, UK
Tel 01386 446944 — Tickets £10 (Members £9) — 8pm (Doors 7:30pm)
Sarah will be performing as part of the Evesham Arts Centre’s popular “Folk In The Foyer” series hosted by Armandaleg Music (http://www.armandalegmusic.com). Support will be from Leon Gormley (http://leongormley.com).
Saturday 23 September 2017
Southdowns Folk Festival — Regis Centre, Belmont Street, Bognor Regis PO21 1BL, UK
Tel 01243 861010 — See website for various festival ticket options — 6pm
In addition to her evening concert at 6pm on Saturday the 23rd, Sarah will also be giving a one-hour “Introduction to DADGAD” guitar workshop (see http://www.sarahmcquaid.com/workshops for details) at 12 noon on Sunday the 24th.
Sunday 24 September 2017
The Subscription Rooms — George Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 1AE, UK
Tel 01453 760900 — Tickets £12 (concs £10) — 8pm (Doors 7:30pm)
Sarah will be playing a full concert at The Subscription Rooms as part of the Stroud Folk Weekend, with support from Bristol-based singer/songwriter Natalie Holmes (http://www.natalieholmes.co.uk).
Tuesday 26 September 2017
Rye Arts Festival — Rye Community Centre, Conduit Hill, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7LE, UK
Tel 01797 224442 — Tickets £10 — 8pm (Doors 7:30pm)
Sarah will be playing an evening concert at Rye Community Centre on Tuesday 26 September as part of the Rye Arts Festival, which runs from 16th September through 30th September 2017.
Sunday 15 October 2017
Dreamers Folk — The Sportsman’s Arms, Four Lanes, Redruth TR16 6LR,
Tel 01736 850630 — Tickets £5 — 7:30pm (Doors 7pm)