Sarah McQuaid learned folk music from her mother, to whom she dedicates a CD, who sang her traditional Appalachian folk songs.
Sarah’s mother was a Chicago native, who volunteered with the Quakers in poverty projects in Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia, and there learned of the music of Jean Ritchie, Peggy Seeger and others who helped to popularize the music of the region back in the traditional folk music boom of the late 1950s and 1960s.
Later, Sarah became enchanted with Irish music, and lived and performed in Ireland from the mid 1990s until 2007. There she also served as a newspaper columnist on music and also wrote a tutorial book on Irish guitar technique.
She is a fine guitarist, and her vocals evoke the classic English folk alto of singers like June Tabor.
Whereas her acclaimed debut album album When Two Lovers Meet was a feast of Irish music, 2008’s I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning is an enchanting celebration of old-time Appalachian folk, with Sarah’s arrangements punctuated by her own fine compositions and a cover of Bobbie Gentry’s classic ‘Ode to Billie Joe’. Sarah is also the author of a highly-regarded guitar tutor, The Irish DADGAD Guitar Book.
“Likely to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.” — Aled Jones, BBC Radio 2
“Her singing has shades of Baez minus the operatic warble and Gillian Welch without so much Nashville twang.” — Spiral Earth