still capture from film by Mawgan Lewis

SARAH MCQUAID — Insightful & Visceral

The Cornwall UK Penzance-based singer-songwriter SARAH MCQUAID is about to release her “St Buryan Sessions” as a full album and concert film.,

This week the Spanish born and American-raised singer-songwriter will release the second single taken from the sessions, titled “Charlie’s Gone Home” (a song that was originally found on her 1997 debut album “When Two Lovers Meet” — although she admits it’s an even older song than that!)

I’d actually written it back when I was still living in Philadelphia, so it would have been the late 1980s or early 90s…” she says.

I can remember very clearly the day I wrote it – back in those days I was still thinking of myself not as a songwriter but as a folksinger who happened to write an occasional song when inspiration struck, so to speak.

SARAH MCQUAID Photo by Mawgan Lewis

I remember reading an interview with some poet whose name I can’t remember, where she said that when she felt a new poem starting to arrive it was like an oncoming train, and she had to rush to her desk to be there ready with pen and paper when the train pulled into the station.

this song hit me like a train…

Well, this song hit me exactly like an oncoming train, only one that was barrelling along at full steam with whistles blaring. It really knocked me for six, and I remember just sitting on the sofa crying and trying to wipe the tears off my guitar so they didn’t mark the finish – not because it was a sad song but just from the overwhelming emotional impact of writing it.

It’s been kind of a special song for me ever since, and a lot of people have told me it’s a special song for them, too – at least two different people said ‘Well, I hope “Charlie’s Gone Home” is going to be on it’ as soon as I told them about the project.

Cornwall photo credit SARAH MCQUAID

The song itself is a semi-mottled meander through shadowed memories. Sarah’s voice is insightful & visceral and, of course, it’s filled with characteristic cinnamon-roasted smokiness and glimmering incalescence.

Filmed and recorded in the beautiful St Buryan Church, part of which dates back to the 11th century, The St Buryan Sessions originated last spring, when Sarah’s concerts and tours were canceled due to the global epidemic

Rather than risk live streaming pitfalls, she used crowdfunding to finance a beautifully recorded and gorgeously filmed album and series of concert videos that capture the essence of performance without a live audience.

The release of “Charlie’s Gone Home” (taken from The St Buryan Sessions) is due this week (Friday, February 19) and will be followed on Friday, March 12 by a new live performance of “The Day Of Wrath, That Day.”

File alongside: Sandy Denny

Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
Still captures: from film by Mawgan Lewi


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