|Sarah McQuaid — If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (2 Feb 2018)|
Sarah McQuaid — If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous °::° Ačkoliv je SARAH MCQUAID zakořeněna v tradičním hudebním stylu britských ostrovů, oplývá také snahou o přidánou hodnotu nebo přepsání zažitých hudebních textů do povzbudivějších podob a činí tak širokou paletou výbušných způsobů. Album jako celek je však zádumčivé, jakoby razilo cestu ke zkrocení Donaldových manýrů. Producentská ruka či způsob myšlení Michaela Chapmana i v tomto případě slaví úspěch. Prostředí Cornwallu, ve kterém bylo album nahráno, jakoby kultivuje území, na kterém se nachází pouze vybraní umělci ostrovů. Rýč na obalu to ilustruje výstižně.
°::° Pokud budeme kopat jakkoli hlouběji, mohlo by to být nebezpečné.
Location: Penzance, UK
Album release: 2 Feb 2018
Record Label: Redeye
01. If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous 3:48
02. Slow Decay 3:13
03. One Sparrow Down 2:26
04. The Silence Above Us 4:52
05. Forever Autumn 3:38
06. Dies Irae 3:35
07. The Day Of Wrath, That Day 4:11
08. Cot Valley 4:25
09. New Beginnings 2:44
10. Time To Love 3:40
11. Break Me Down 4:40
12. The Tug Of The Moon 3:59
°::° The recording, production and marketing of this album have been kindly supported by Arts Council England Grants For The Arts, using public money from the Government and the National Lottery, and by Cultivator, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.
°::° Produced by Michael Chapman
°::° Engineered and mixed by Martin Stansbury
°::° Recorded in Cornwall, England
°::° Mastered by Sander van der Heide at Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
°::° Cover artwork by Sarah McQuaid
°::° Graphic design by Mary Guinan
°::° Photography by Phil Nicholls
°::° Hair and makeup by Victoria Penrose
°::° The last studio I worked in was a supertech palace in upstate New York and it was minus ten outside. So here I am in a shed with a sod roof, annoying wildlife and helicopters in the warmth of a Cornish spring and miles from my comfort zone.
°::° We are so different, the two of us: a perfectionist and a gambler, a planner and a chancer. We might need a referee.
°::° This record has been meticulously planned, but I haven’t even heard the songs. I like it that way. The precision and sophistication of the writing and playing blows me away. I am so glad to be involved.
°::° I first met Michael Chapman three years ago, when we were both playing at the Village Pump Festival in Wiltshire, England. Watching this legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter in action, performing solo but filling the vast stage with his powerful presence and massive guitar sound, I was blown away. It’s incredible to me that he uses the same language to describe his reaction to my writing and playing; I’m honoured and humbled beyond measure.
°::° Since that first meeting, Michael and his other half Andru have become great friends and staunch supporters. During one of my visits to their farmhouse in Cumbria, Michael said “Why don’t you let me produce your next album?” I’m so glad he did, as I’d never have dared to ask. Infinite thanks to him and to all the other people who contributed to this album: my wonderful manager, Martin Stansbury, for recording and mixing; guest musicians Roger Luxton, Samuel Hollis, Richard Evans, Georgia Ellery and Joe Pritchard; Sander van der Heide for mastering; Phil Nicholls for photography; Claire, Richie and all the staff at the Acorn Penzance for allowing us to use the Acorn’s atmospheric basement bar as a location for the photo shoot; Victoria Penrose for doing my hair (beautifully cut as always by Richard Goulden) and makeup; Mawgan Lewis for videography; Mary Guinan for artwork and graphic design; Luke New for the use of his sod~roofed annexe and stage piano; Hall For Cornwall, Alex Warnes and Phil Innes for loaning equipment and instruments; Pat Tynan and Howard Wuelfing for PR; Bob the pheasant and Nightshine the cat for their special guest appearances; and my husband Feargal and children Eli and Lily Jane for their love and support. Sincere thanks also to Arts Council England and Cultivator for their financial support, which helped to make this project possible.
°::° My main guitar was custom~made by Andy Manson in 2008 and is fitted with a Fishman Matrix pickup; when playing live I use a Trace Elliott Acoustic TAP~1 preamp. On this album I also play my 1965 Martin D~28 (bought from Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia many years ago), Michael Chapman’s own Ibanez electric which he’s kindly given me on long~term loan, Alex Warnes’ high~strung Squier Fender Stratocaster and Luke New’s Korg SP~250 stage piano.
°::° I’m proud and happy to be an Elixir Strings endorsed artist. I use their Medium Gauge Acoustic 80/20 Bronze set with NANOWEB® Coating (only I substitute an .018 for the .017 in the set, since I’m using DADGAD all the time). I use a G7th capo. My guitar cables are custom~made by Russ Fletcher, who also keeps all my electronic equipment working smoothly, while Julyan Wallis takes care of my guitar repairs and maintenance.
JORDAN PENNEY 02 Feb 2018; Rating: 8
°::° ALTHOUGH ROOTED IN THE TRADITIONAL FOLK MUSIC STYLE OF THE BRITISH ISLES, SARAH MCQUAID ALSO HAS AN INTUITION FOR ADDING OR REMOVING MUSICAL TEXTURES IN SURPRISING AND EVOCATIVE WAYS.
°::° There is a sense of solitude throughout If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous that has continual conceptual and musical reinforcements. Lyrically, Sarah McQuaid queries big questions on the individual in nature, experiencing loss and trauma, and confronting death. At all points, the music is characterized by careful and tasteful arrangements, clear and clean performances captured in a bright and intimate recording. McQuaid’s approach here is rooted certainly in the traditional folk music style of the British Isles, but she also has an intuition for adding or removing musical textures where the moment calls for it.
°::° “Forever Autumn”, for example, exhibits these tendencies. McQuaid’s cover is a reinterpretation but not a reinvention. The lyrics, structure, and the mournful melody, carried by McQuaid’s voice with sturdy resolve, are preserved intact. But in its sparseness, the arrangement and instrumentation differ from the original and most well~known subsequent versions. The focus is her voice and guitar with some subtle texture provided by a second guitar and cello. Unlike the original by Justin Hayward, and even more dissimilar to another apparently popular version (if YouTube views are an indication) by Gary Barlow, McQuaid’s version does not gather instruments by the verse, does not hint at any growing drama, and does not accrue momentum.
°::° But that is the key to her reinterpretation. This version holds still with three verses and a chorus, a voice, a guitar, and a cello. Like the song’s narrator, on whom it has dawned that their loved one has departed and who will stay forever autumn keep them close, McQuaid’s version is inert. It simply stops and thinks. But that is the beauty and the essential honesty of the song, as well as the painfulness of the moment it captures. In undressing the emotional core and pausing over it in this way she has a claim of performing the definitive version of the song.
°::° It is a highlight but there are others. “Forever Autumn” comprises part of the middle~third of the record during which McQuaid goes to surprising places. “The Silence Above Us” is the only song in which McQuaid’s piano playing is prominent, and it is another regal and starkly beautiful piece. The song’s evocative chorus describes Orion the hunter, low in the sky, and the guiding star. “Dies Irae”, the late~medieval hymn on transience and mortality complete with six Latin verses appears here, followed by an instrumental called “That Day of Wrath, That Day”. Together at almost eight minutes, they form a kind of centerpiece on the album — no hooks, but pure mood and atmosphere.
°::° The last third of the record seems consciously sequenced to break the apocalyptic tone. “Break Me Down” frankly acknowledges the inevitability of death and provides one answer to the ultimate question of how one might come to terms with it — in this case, quite literally, as broken down organic matter returned to the carbon cycle rather than as a “prisoner in some marble museum”. She revisits these themes on “The Tug of the Moon” where she observes in the liner notes that, in accordance with Newton’s Third Law of motion, the moon recedes from the earth by about four centimeters every year. The hours lengthen but the end still “comes too soon”. Look up, and look inward, and keep digging as deep as you need to figure out answers to the big question for yourself. °::° https://www.popmatters.com/
|Sarah McQuaid — If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (2 Feb 2018)|