FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Thursday Musical – Part 1 – Sarah and Ernie

So today was one of those days when I listened to several different albums. The musical day started as I drove out to the Vincentown Diner. On the way listened to an album that I downloaded a while ago, I Won’t Go Home Till Morning by Sarah McQuaid. I know I saw the album on one of the charts I regularly scan but I can’t remember which one! Anyway the album is very good from her website:

I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning, the long-awaited follow-up to her acclaimed debut album When Two Lovers Meet, marked a distinct change of focus for the musician whose rich voice has been likened to “matured cognac”. Whereas her first album was a feast of Irish music, this 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’.

Stand-out tracks for me included “West Virginia Boys”, the aforementioned “Ode to Billie Joy”, an instrumental version of “Shady Grove/Old Cluck Hen” and two acapella numbers one “Wondrous Love” and the other “The Wagoner’s Lad”. Probably my two favorite tracks were written by Sarah “Only an Emotion” and the closing song “Last Song” . Again from her website:

She describes ‘Only an Emotion’ as “a song in defence of sadness” and something of a gentle riposte to people who flippantly say “Cheer up, it might never happen!”, while ‘Last Song’ is the perfect album closer – a tender number written for both her mother and her daughter Lily Jane (who sadly never met each other), illustrating a perfect three-generation fusion of mothers singing their daughters to sleep.

Having never heard of Sarah before I was surprised to learn that she was born in Madrid, Spain, was raised in Chicago and now lives in Cornwell England after having lived in Ireland for thirteen years (1994-2007). Here she is performing “Wondrous Love” again from the website:

Similarly, her stark and spellbinding rendition of the powerful Sacred Harp hymn ‘Wondrous Love’ is likely to give you goosebumps. It also resulted in her being contacted by renowned American folk singer-songwriter and Appalachian dulcimer player Jean Ritchie, who had recorded it back in 1956.

Jean saw a YouTube video of Sarah performing the song and contacted her asking where she had found the lyrics, initially thinking they differed from her own version. Says Sarah: “Having been listening to her album since my early childhood, I felt rather as I imagine a painter must feel who’d received an out of the blue message from Leonardo da Vinci!”

On the way back I listened to another album I downloaded a while back  Down the Road by Ernie Hendrickson. I’ve been finding myself whenever I have the mp3 player on random hearing a song that I say that sounds good, I look and it’s Ernie!  The one track that I constantly hear and like is “Seasons Change”   Other tracks I like are “Broken Arrow”, “Bad Mixed Up Woman”,  a cover of the Tom Waits song ” The House Where Nobody Lives” , and the title track “Down the Road”. Hendrickson has a new album Walking with Angels released in October of last year which I want to download!

Coming in Part 2 – a good day continues with albums by Fred Neil, Martin and Neil, The Josh Abbot Band and Gary Burton??