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Sarah McQuaid – I Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning Mama – Crow Coyote Buffalo
(both Fly Like A Sprite Records)Sarah McQuaid
Cornish singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid (born in Madrid, raised in Chicago, studied in France, lived in Ireland) taps effortlessly into the spirit of Sandy Denny and Shirley Collins on her second solo album, the near faultless I Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning. Fully aware of (and informed by) the folk music traditions of N. America and the Celts, there’s nothing pure about McQuaid’s method, but let’s not concern ourselves with minor stylistic details when we can steep ourselves in her warm vocals and engaging songs – a blend of self-penned material, traditional pieces and well chosen covers. To describe it as central heating for grown-ups might seem a little offhand, but have a listen to a couple of tracks on her MySpace page and you’ll understand.

Mama is McQuaid and fellow Cornish songwriter Zoe Pollock. The pair of them wrote all but one of the songs on Crow Coyote Buffalo – with a single credit for Pollock and Martin Glover (more on that later). Together they’ve come up with something quite different, a collection of psych-flavoured country and folk-rock songs, treated with an almost arid / acid, wasted desert groove – not the sort of thing we expect from two Penzance based musicians. Indeed, it’s names like Josephine Foster and Buffy Sainte-Marie that most readily come to mind rather than the usual UK folk suspects (see above). Of course, Zoe Pollock will always be best known for her 1991 hit “Sunshine On A Rainy Day”, and here it’s revisited, stripped of its mall-bothering coagulated dairy and transformed into something far more satisfying, a swirling Eastern inspired pop gem. Release it again as a single and I’d buy it.
Rob F.

Sarah McQuaid – Ode To Billie Joe