FolkWorld - Adolf Goriup
Sarah McQuaid
I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning
Own label, 2008
Sarah McQuaid was born in Spain, raised in Chicago and came back to Europe as an adult young woman. She spent 13 years in Ireland where she recorded her debut album with Irish traditional songs. 2007 she crossed the Irish Sea to live in her mother’s house in Cornwall. Her new album is dedicated to her departed mother and features eight Appalachian songs and tunes she used to sing with her mother Jane when she was a child, a jazzy Bobbie Gentry cover version and two self-crafted songs. Sarah sings and plays the guitar and has recorded the CD with a bunch of excellent guest musicians in Trevor Hutchinson’s studio in Dublin. Hutchinson (Lunasa) also plays double and electric bass. Irish songwriter Gerry O’Beirne (guitars, ukulele and producer), Liam Bradley from Beoga (percussion, vocals), Máire Breatnach (fiddle, viola) and Rosie Shipley (fiddle) complete the line-up.

The CD opens with the traditional soft ballad ‘The Chickens They Are Crowing’ and Sarah’s warm and mature voice. Her gifted singing is accompanied by the gentle sound of O’Beirne’s 12-string guitar, the Ebow and Shipley’s soft fiddle playing. ‘West Virginia Boys’, another traditional song, stands out with brilliant percussion playing and Sarah’s jazziest singing. ‘Shady Grove/Cluck Old Hen’ has been interpreted by McQuaid and O’Beirne as an instrumental set. Sarah learned ‘Wondrous Love’ from Jean Ritchie and sings it a capella together with Bradley and she brings forward the traditional ‘The Wagoner’s Lad’ solo with just some guitar chords. Finally ‘The Last Song’ is one of her two own songs, beautifully accompanied by Breatnach on viola and Hutchinson on double bass.

McQuaid is a brilliant singer and chose some beautiful songs for her album. The arrangements are simple but striking and the musicians accompany her singing perfectly. The style changes from a capella singing to guitar songs, from folk to jazz and from rhythmic to melancholic. For me this singer with both Irish and American citizenship is certainly a revelation and I’m sure her album will be a great success.