Sarah McQuaid,
If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous
(Shovel & Spade, 2018)

Born in Madrid, raised in Chicago, spent time in Ireland and now living in rural England, Sarah McQuaid brings her wide range of experience to a solid album of very good music.

The majority of the tracks on If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous come from her own pen and display a wide range of interests and a deep consideration of our world and its people.

"Slow Decay" is a moving track that gains greatly from its sparse backing. Who would have expected to hear a song on a modern album about a cat and sparrow encounter? Well, McQuaid gives us just that on "One Sparrow Down," so you may infer the result. Musically, the track is a fascinating combination of vocals and unusual backing that she tells us includes a wine bottle and cooker grill.

"Dies Irae" will bring us further into the innovation of this CD where she employs a Gregorian chant. This is a deeply moving track and a credit to her courage in attempting such an obscure but beautiful piece of music and lyric.

"Cot Valley" is a wonderful track that does that century-old function of folk music in telling us a tale of our history in an easily accessible way. In it she contrasts the current situation in a mining area in the days -- not really all that long ago -- when children worked in mines.

This is certainly an album of contrasts when we consider "Break Me Down," which is in effect a song about decay in that she has written a powerful plea for how we should be disposed of after death.

This CD of 12 tracks brings us almost as many moods and as many pauses for thought as Sarah McQuaid shows that while being a top class performer she can also tackle any subject and produce a compelling song for each.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

10 February 2018

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