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Sarah McQuaid New Album and extensive tour for 2018

Jan 22, 2018

UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid releases her fifth solo album, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, on Friday 2nd February 2018. Produced by guitar icon Michael Chapman, the album is distributed worldwide by Proper on LP (heavyweight vinyl in gatefold sleeve) as well as CD, and is being promoted with 2018 tours in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany and the USA. Sarah hopes to expand her touring reach into more countries next year.

A video of the first single from the new album, “The Tug of the Moon”, filmed and directed by Mawgan Lewis of Cornwall-based Purple Knif Productions, is available on YouTube

Lewis is currently at work on a documentary video about the album, featuring recording studio footage and interviews with both Chapman and McQuaid, to be released later this month.

Produced by legendary singer-songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous is the fifth solo album by UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid.

Musings on mortality dominate this recording, but it’s by no means all gloom: “Break Me Down” is possibly the cheeriest song ever written about decomposition, while “One Sparrow Down” (backed not by Sarah’s trademark DADGAD-tuned guitar but rather by a battery of unorthodox percussion instruments including wine bottle and oven grill) takes a similarly upbeat approach to the death of a bird hell-bent on attacking its own reflection, unseen by the predatory cat calmly watching from her perch on the windowsill. In the liner notes for the album, Sarah thanks her cat Nightshine for contributing guest vocals to the track, and apologises to her for the implicit metaphor.

A cover of Jeff Wayne’s melancholy “Forever Autumn” leads into an arrangement for voice and guitar of “Dies Irae”, the medieval chant whose melody is echoed not only in Wayne’s intro to his classic War Of The Worlds number but also in countless film soundtrack themes (The Exorcist, The Shining and Citizen Kane, to name a few). Here as elsewhere on the album, McQuaid’s guitar shines on an equal basis with her velvet-textured voice.

Indeed, two of the tracks are purely instrumental: “New Beginnings”, written as a wedding march for former pop star Zoë Pollock of “Sunshine On A Rainy Day” fame (with whom Sarah recorded the album Crow Coyote Buffalo under the band name Mama), and “The Day Of Wrath, That Day”, whose title is a literal translation of the first line in “Dies Irae”.

The propulsive, apocalyptic title track was inspired by a warning McQuaid heard herself giving her son as he excavated an enormous hole in their back garden. There’s an obvious allusion to fracking (“Splitting cracks in the rock to free the power inside”), but the song’s thematic scope extends well beyond that: “Sometimes the way to fix a problem is to turn the pressure off” is a maxim that could apply to virtually any aspect of life.

On four of the tracks, including lead single “The Tug Of The Moon”, McQuaid plays an electric guitar belonging to Chapman, which he’s since given her on long-term loan. “The precision and sophistication of the writing and playing blows me away. I am so glad to be involved,” he writes in his introduction to the album booklet.

Since meeting Sarah when both artists played the Village Pump Festival in 2014, Chapman has become a staunch friend and supporter, even performing as her opening act at a local concert he and his wife arranged for her. Sarah became a regular visitor to the Chapmans’ farmhouse in Cumbria, and during one visit he made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: “We were having a chat and a glass of wine, and he said ‘Why don’t you let me produce your next album?’,” Sarah recalls. “I’m glad he said it, because I’d never have dared ask otherwise!”

Another new addition is piano, which McQuaid plays to beautiful effect on “The Silence Above Us”. Guest musicians include Chapman on archtop electric guitar, Roger Luxton on drums and percussion, Samuel Hollis on upright and electric bass, Richard Evans on trumpet, Georgia Ellery on violin and Joe Pritchard on cello.

If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous was made possible thanks to financial support from Arts Council England Grants For The Arts, using public money from the Government and the National Lottery, and from Cultivator, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.

The album will be launched with a concert at the Acorn arts centre in Sarah’s adopted hometown of Penzance on Thursday, 25 January, following which she’ll be touring it extensively in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. In 2019 she hopes to extend her touring range into Canada, Australia and New Zealand amongst other countries.

Tour dates are as follows:

Thu Jan 25 – Acorn Arts Centre, Penzance, UK
Fri Jan 26 – Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury, UK
Sun Jan 28 – Folk In The Barn, Kingston (nr Canterbury), UK
Mon Jan 29 – Colchester Folk Club, Colchester Arts Centre, UK
Tue Jan 30 – The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, UK
Wed Jan 31 – Pavilions Teignmouth, UK
Fri Feb 2 – The Poly, Falmouth, UK
Sat Feb 3 – The Millpool Centre, West Looe, UK
Sun Feb 4 – The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers, UK
Mon Feb 5 – terrace cred. @ The Greys, Brighton, UK
Thu Feb 8 – The Brindley Theatre, Runcorn, Cheshire, UK
Fri Feb 9 – Sheep Dip Sessions, Princethorpe, UK
Sat Feb 10 – Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, UK
Sun Feb 11 – The Wharf, Tavistock, UK

Fri Feb 23 – Podium Cafe Peter en Leni, Steendam, NL
Sat Feb 24 – Tangelder Presenteert, Zeeland, NL
Sun Feb 25 – Groeten Uit Oisterwijk, NL
Mon Feb 26 – De Parel van Zuilen, Utrecht, NL
Thu Mar 1 – Julien’s Bistro-Bar, Erkelenz, DE
Fri Mar 2 – Kulturzentrum zum Heidbarghof, Hamburg, DE
Sat Mar 3 – Volksbad Buckau, Magdeburg, DE
Sun Mar 4 – Zimmer 16, Berlin-Pankow, DE
Wed Mar 7 – Knebels Scheune, Forst, DE
Thu Mar 8 – Kleinkunstbühne Kultur im Stall, Rheinau,DE
Fri Mar 9 – Spiegelslust Turmcafe, Marburg, DE
Sat Mar 10 – Theater Landgraaf, NL
Sun Mar 11 – Fresenhof, Lüerdissen, DE
Mon Mar 12 – Liederbuch Zwickau, DE
Wed Mar 14 – Kulturcafe M, Dohna, DE
Thu Mar 15 – Kaffeeschuppen, Halle (Saale), DE
Fri Mar 16 – Haus der Kultur, Waldkraiburg, DE
Sat Mar 17 – Burg Rabenstein, Ahorntal, DE
Sun Mar 18 – Ev. Kirche Nürnberg-Fischbach, Nürnberg, DE
Mon Mar 19 – Folk im Feuerschlösschen, Bad Honnef, DE

Sat Apr 21 – The Beehive, Honiton, UK
Sun Apr 22 – The Green Man Gallery, Buxton, UK
Tue Apr 24 – Nuneaton Library, UK
Wed Apr 25 – Farncombe Music Club, UK
Thu Apr 26 – Bridgwater Arts Centre, UK
Fri Apr 27 – Artrix, Bromsgrove, UK
Sat Apr 28 – Miners’ Theatre, Ammanford, UK

Mon Apr 30 – Ballymore Acoustic Gigs, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, IE
Wed May 2 – Groucho’s, Richhill, NI
Thu May 3 – Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast, NI
Fri May 4 – Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards, NI
Sat May 5 – Crusoe’s, Castlerock, NI

Tue May 8 – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, UK
Wed May 9 – Resipole Studios, Acharacle, UK
Fri May 11 – Atlantic Islands Centre, Isle of Luing, UK
Sat May 12 – Transclyde Music, Isle of Bute, UK
Thu May 17 – Nottingham Playhouse Studio, UK
Sat May 19 – Tŷ Siamas, Dolgellau, UK
Sun May 20 – High Forest Community Centre, Allendale, UK
Wed May 23 – The Milton Rooms, Malton, North Yorkshire, UK
Thu May 24 – Settle Victoria Hall, Settle, North Yorkshire, UK
Fri May 25 – Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, UK
Sat May 26 – Silver Street Sessions, Wiveliscombe, UK

Fri Sept 7 – Green Wood Coffee House, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Sun Sept 9 – Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN, USA
Thu Sept 13 – The Park Center, Hayward, WI, USA
Sat Sept 15 – Maple Street Coffeehouse, Lombard, IL, USA
Sun Sept 16 – Lake County Folk Club, Grayslake, IL, USA
Wed Sept 19 – White Mountain Library, Rock Springs, WY, USA
Thu Sept 20 – Sherbino Theater, Ridgway, CO, USA
Sat Sept 22 – Russ & Julie’s House Concerts, Oak Park, CA, USA
Wed Sept 26 – Alpine Public Library, Alpine, TX, USA
Thu Sept 27 – Fort Stockton Public Library, Fort Stockton, TX, USA
Fri Sept 28 – High Plains Public Radio Living Room Concerts, Amarillo, TX, USA
Sat Sept 29 – Harmony House Concerts, Ravenna, TX, USA
Sun Sept 30 – Open Ears Concerts, Austin, TX, USA
Tue Oct 2 – M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library, Mason, TX, USA
Thu Oct 4 – House Concerts Chez Chase, Memphis, TN, USA
Fri Oct 5 – Back Door Coffeehouse, Hattiesburg, MS, USA
Sat Oct 13 – Northborough Free Library, Northborough, MA, USA
Fri Oct 19 – Princeton Folk Music Society, Princeton, NJ, USA
Sun Oct 21 – Woods Hole Folk Music Society, Woods Hole, MA, USA

Thu Nov 1 – No 8 Launceston, UK
Fri Nov 2 – The Village Pump @The Lamb, Trowbridge, UK
Sat Nov 3 – PinDrop Events, Malvern, UK
Tue Nov 6 – Great Knight Folk Club, Northampton, UK
Wed Nov 7 – Llantrisant Folk Club, UK
Thu Nov 15 – Redbourn Folk Club (near St Albans), UK
Fri Nov 16 – ACE Space, Newbury, UK
Sat Nov 17 – West Kirby Arts Centre, UK
Sun Nov 18 – Bothy Folk Club, Southport, UK
Fri Nov 23 – Gable End Theatre, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney, UK
Wed Nov 28 – Old Fire Station, Carlisle, UK
Thu Nov 29 – Rothbury Roots, UK
Sat Dec 1 – South Devon Music, Bovey Tracey, UK


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