Sarah writes: Below are links to the websites of a few individuals and organisations who’ve played key roles in my musical career.
I wouldn’t have a musical career at all if I didn’t have a husband who’s willing to look after our children and keep the home fires burning while I’m away on tour. And he’s one hell of an artist, too. Check out his website to see examples of his work. He’s also on Twitter and Facebook.
Famously described by the Huffington Post as “Jedi-esque”, Martin became my manager in 2011, and I couldn’t manage without him! He’s much too busy building my musical career to build a website for himself, but you may enjoy reading his Twitter posts here.
Pretty much all the photos featured on this website – the lovely image of paper flowers floating on water that you see behind this text, the photo of me at the top of this page, all the photos of me on the Media Kit page, including the ones on the posters – were taken by photographer Phil Nicholls. So, you know the close-up photo of Björk’s face on the cover of Human Behaviour? Phil took that. That iconic photo of Courtney Love gazing into the camera lens? Yep, that’s his as well. Too many more famous rock star photos to list here – just go to his website and you’ll see what I mean. Phil turned up at an informal singaround/session I was hosting at the Blue Anchor pub in Helston, not far from where I live, and asked very politely if he could take some photos of me. I didn’t know who he was when I said yes, but I soon found out. He’s a genius of a photographer and an incredibly lovely man, and I’m very, very lucky to have been photographed by him!
Brilliant photos need brilliant graphic design to set them off, and I’m fortunate to have had a supremely brilliant graphic designer working with me since the very start of my solo music career. Mary Guinan was one of the first people I met when I moved to Dublin back in the 1990s; we became close friends and my son is privileged to have her as his godmother! In addition to doing all my graphic design work (including the aforementioned logo image at the top of this page and the aforementioned posters on the Media Kit page as well as all my solo CD booklets and packaging), Mary also painted the beautiful images on the covers of all four albums – you can see them on the Listen & Buy page. And she’s a sweetheart and I love her!
This wonderful Chicago-based record label is operated on the artist co-operative model by a good, good man called Andrew Calhoun. Their impressive roster includes a number of my musical heroes and heroines, and I’m very proud and happy to be part of the Waterbug family. Waterbug also looks after my album distribution in North America.
Proper Music Distribution
These good people handle UK distribution for all my albums.
CRS - Continental Record Services
And these equally good people are my European distributors.
I’m thrilled and delighted to be an Elixir Strings endorsed artist, alongside the likes of Richard Thompson and Newton Faulkner. I use their Medium gauge Acoustic 80/20 Bronze set with NANOWEB® Coating, only I substitute a .018 for the .017 in the set, since I’m using DADGAD all the time, and I love their evenness and clarity of tone.
G7th - The Capo Company
I’ve been using G7th capos for some years, and was privileged to be invited to the home of its designer, Nick Campling, so that I could give some new models a test-drive. Nick very kindly presented me with a very blink gold capo, which I treasure! I love it because it’s wonderfully quick and easy to put on and take off, and requires little or no retuning when I move the capo from place to place. And all G7th capos come with a lifetime guarantee! Check them out!
Andy Manson Guitars
In January 2008 I took delivery of my beautiful guitar, custom-made for me by Andy Manson; he calls it his “Bluebird” model. Past clients of Andy’s include such notables as John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Ian Anderson and Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Andy Summers (The Police) and Mike Oldfield – so I’m in good company! I’ll always have a soft spot for the beautiful old 1965 Martin D-28 that’s been my staunch friend since way back in 1988, but I have to admit that instrumental pieces in particular are a revelation on the new instrument – clear as a bell, every note ringing out strong and true. It’s not just a guitar, it’s a work of art.
Adam Pierce & Jeremy Backofen
Adam Pierce is my cousin, and he and Jeremy did a brilliant job of co-producing my fourth and latest solo album, Walking Into White. They’re far too cool for websites, but here’s a lovely article about the two of them in MusicRadar magazine, with photos of the studio in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, where the album was recorded. Now they’ve moved to even bigger and better premises further upstate, and I’m looking forward to recording the next album there!
I thank my lucky stars that I was fortunate enough to have Gerry O’Beirne as producer for my first three solo albums. We both agreed that after three albums it was time for me to broaden my musical horizons and work with a different team, but Gerry had a massive influence on my musical development, and I’m so grateful to him. He has an impeccable ear and an unerring instinct for knowing what the music needs to make it perfect. He’s also a master songwriter and musician, a fiendishly good Scrabble player, a dab hand with a camera (check out the photo gallery section of his website) and one of the most fundamentally decent and lovely individuals I’ve ever had the privilege to know. To have been able to work with him was an honour and a blessing for which I’ll always be grateful.
When I moved to Cornwall, one of the first friends I made was a very beautiful and talented woman called Zoë, whose children were attending the same tiny community primary school as mine. It was only after I got to know her as a fellow mum that I discovered she was a former pop star who’d had a massive hit single with “Sunshine On A Rainy Day”, a song she co-wrote with Martin Glover a.k.a. Youth. Zoë and I started writing songs together, and recorded them under the band name Mama. The story continues below!
Making the Mama album Crow Coyote Buffalo with Zoë was what set me on the musical path I’ve been following ever since. She taught me pretty much everything I know about songwriting, and also introduced me to my above-mentioned manager, Martin Stansbury. Martin had been working with Zoë on various projects, and she brought him in to produce and engineer the Mama album. I’m so glad she did! Click here to read more about Mama.
Many thanks for the PRS for Music Foundation for the grant under the British Music Abroad scheme which made it possible for me to present an official showcase at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, in February 2011.