fRoots - John O’Regan

Sarah McQuaid
When Two Lovers Meet

Sarah McQuaid has lived a pretty varied life thus far: born in Madrid and raised in Chicago before becoming caught by the Irish music bug and now living in Dublin. Music columnist and musician by turn, she delivers a sparse yet effective brand of traditional music laden with subtle inflections and unexpected nuances. When Two Lovers Meet is her debut solo album and she possesses a wispily deep voice and an accomplished guitar style. The presence of heavyweights including John McSherry, Niamh Parsons, and producer Gerry O’Beirne add to the palate, but the result is strongly individual and highly personalised, though not self-centred. Vocally the traditional Johnny Lad and the self-penned Charlie’s Gone Home find her lower register at its most comfortable while the opening Sprig Of Thyme wins through on arrangement points alone with its melancholic baroque undertones. Having written a traditional guitar tutor for session accompanists, her playing is sweet and subtle on The Tempest and King Of The Fairies. For a debut solo album, When Two Lovers Meet is both sparse and withdrawn by effect but it casts a quietly lingering spell.