Maverick - Pete Fyfe
Sarah McQuaid
The Plum Tree and The Rose
Waterbug Records WBG104
(5 stars)

Much like her heroine Bess Of Hardwick (“Hardwick’s Lofty Towers”), Sarah McQuaid has the intelligence and tenacity to cultivate her lyrics so that the legacy of her songwriting will remain long after she has passed away. If that sounds morose, it isn’t meant to be. It’s just that McQuaid’s way with words will draw you in and leave you feeling as if you’ve just stepped from an invigorating shower. She’s the kind of writer who conveys her thoughts brilliantly via the medium of music. Take for instance the opening track “Lift You Up And Let You Fly”: within a few short verses she is able to let the listener know the pain but understanding in watching a child’s development and eventual release into the world with all the compassion of a mum who (hopefully) doesn’t watch Jeremy Kyle. It has to be said that from a listener’s point of view this is where the producer and musician Gerry O’Beirne’s skill in utilising Bill Blackmore’s flugelhorn is an astute piece of placement. Think of Christy Moore’s “All For The Roses” if you’re unsure where you’ve heard this thought process before and, whilst on the subject of instrumentation, much as I’d like to name every musician who contributed to this beautifully crafted album, I’m afraid I can’t as I haven’t got the space. Let’s just say I’m bowled over with the creative input from everyone involved. In truth I could write a whole book on the subject of Sarah McQuaid’s way with words but perhaps that is best left to the lady herself. If you require any further incentive, why not check out the gorgeous single “The Sun Goes On Rising” which is available for your listening pleasure at and, like me, I’m sure you will be seduced by Sarah’s alto vocals and perfectly solid performance. In the meantime I suppose I’ll just have to kill time waiting expectantly to hear the next album which, if it’s anything like this recording, will receive another five out of five. Highly recommended …buy it, buy it, buy it!