Eclectic Sarah McQuaid keeps folk music fresh

Sarah McQuaid
Sarah McQuaid. PHOTO: COLM HENRY.

Cornwall-based American songwriter Sarah McQuaid, whose voice has echoes of Joni Mitchell, will play Monroe’s Live on Sunday, June 8. Sarah has three albums to her name and plans to release a new record in February.

“I’m starting to introduce some new things into each of my gigs. I’m going to be doing a couple of songs I haven’t done before this tour,” she says. “Then I’ll be doing material from all the previous albums, and then some stuff I haven’t recorded.”

For her new album, Sarah co-wrote a song with singer Gerry O’Byrne, who co-produced her previous albums. This time around, Gerry encouraged Sarah to work with two co-producers in the USA. “Gerry said to me, ‘after three albums, maybe you should work with a new producer to expand your horizons a bit’,” she says. “Get out of the comfort zone, and all that.”

Sarah’s set will also feature some Scottish folk music and a song by Doris Day. Her eclectic taste and ear for unusual subject matter is reflected in Hardwick’s Lofty Towers, a song she wrote about the 16th century Bess of Hardwick of Derbyshire whose wealth was only eclipsed by that of Queen Elizabeth I.