Walking Into White

by Sarah McQuaid

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  • Compact Disc (CD)

    CD package includes full colour 16-page booklet (original artwork and design by Mary Guinan) with lyrics and background information on the songs. If you like, Sarah can sign the CD with a personal message to you or the intended recipient, if it's going to be a gift – just indicate how and to whom you'd like it to be signed in the "Leave comment for the seller" link on the checkout page.

    Includes digital pre-order of Walking Into White. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    shipping out on or around 02 February 2015

     £12 GBP or more


  • Pre-order of Walking Into White. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    releases 02 February 2015

     £8 GBP  or more


Low Winter Sun
Where The Wind Decides To Blow
The Tide
I Am Grateful For What I Have
Sweetness And Pain I
Walking Into White
Jackdaws Rising
Sweetness And Pain II
Leave It For Another Day
Sweetness And Pain III
Canticle Of The Sun (All Creatures Of Our God And King)
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face


Walking Into White is the fourth solo album from Sarah McQuaid. To record it, she travelled from her adopted home in Cornwall, England, to the small town of Cornwall, New York, USA, in order to work with co-producers Jeremy Backofen (Frightened Rabbit, Felice Brothers) and Sarah’s cousin Adam Pierce (Mice Parade, Tom Brosseau, Múm).

Coming from outside the folk world and having never worked with Sarah before, Adam and Jeremy found and nurtured the raw edge and intensity that have always been present in her live performances, while their occasionally unorthodox recording methods (a mini-cassette recorder mounted on a microphone stand, for example) bring out a striking intimacy and immediacy in both her vocals and her guitar sound. Recorded and mixed in just under three weeks, Walking Into White is by far the most personal and emotional album Sarah has made to date.

Three of the songs take their inspiration from Arthur Ransome’s classic Swallows and Amazons series of children’s books. The title track uses the arresting image of two children lost in a moorland fog as an allegory for the sensation of stumbling blindly through life; in “The Tide”, a mud-bound sailboat becomes a portrait of a marriage, while “Where The Wind Decides To Blow” performs a similar transfiguration on a homemade sailing sled sent hurtling across a frozen lake by an unexpected blizzard.

In “Yellowstone”, a young boy’s obsession with the spectre of volcanic apocalypse sparks a rumination on the buried terrors that haunt us all: “I know I’m not the only one / To fear the ground I tread upon / Volcanos of all kinds / Torment our minds,” Sarah sings almost meditatively over a samba rhythm delicately embellished by Adam’s cajón and Dan Lippel’s classical guitar.

“Jackdaws Rising” takes the form of a three-part round, with Sarah’s lyrics and vocal melodies overlapping in counterpoint to a guitar instrumental composed by her friends Pete Coleman and Clare Hines. The other two parts are sung by Adele Schulz (who also contributes beautiful harmonies on “The Tide”) and Sarah’s manager and touring sound engineer, Martin Stansbury. Sarah, Martin, Adam and Jeremy all supply the stomps and handclaps that punctuate this 4/4 song in 5/4 time – a brain-tickling polyrhythm that was one of many ideas introduced by Adam.

Other guest musicians include Gareth Flowers, whose soaring trumpet brings the upbeat single “The Silver Lining” to a stirring climax (he also duets with Sarah on the title song), cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman (“Where The Wind Decides To Blow” and Sarah’s evocative guitar instrumental “I Am Grateful For What I Have”), and pianist Rob King (“The Tide”). Jeremy plays bass on “The Silver Lining”, and Adam pitches in on a plethora of instruments. On the album opener “Low Winter Sun”, he uses an electric guitar and an early 1980s synthesizer to create a wash of sound that acts as foil and underpinning for Sarah’s acoustic guitar rendition of a church bell peal; elsewhere, he plays everything from the aforementioned cajón to drums, tambourine, bass, vibraphones and air organ (this last item is also played by Martin to fine effect on Sarah’s setting of the early 20th century hymn “Canticle Of The Sun/All Creatures Of Our God And King”).

Rounding out the album are “Leave It For Another Day”, co-written by Sarah with Gerry O’Beirne, who produced all three of her previous solo recordings; “Sweetness And Pain”, an a cappella song split into three parts that serve as brief interludes between the other tracks; and a cover of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”.


releases 02 February 2015

Produced and mixed by Adam Pierce and Jeremy Backofen
Engineered by Jeremy Backofen
Creative direction by Martin Stansbury
Recorded and mixed at Tree Time Studios, Cornwall, NY, USA
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music, New Windsor, NY, USA
Design and original cover artwork by Mary Guinan
Photography by Phil Nicholls



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Sarah McQuaid Penzance, UK

Sarah McQuaid’s voice has been likened to malt whiskey, melted chocolate and “honey poured into wine” (Minor 7th). A captivating performer, she seduces her audience with cheeky banter and stories from the road, as well as with stunning musicianship; in her hands, the guitar becomes much more than merely an accompanying instrument. ... more


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Track Name: The Silver Lining
I am constantly amazed
By the providential nature
Of the choices that I didn’t think I made
Sometimes it’s good to miss the boat
The ship that sails could fail to float
The job that you were after
Was a trap and you’ll be  happier without it

I don’t mind the sun not shining
I can see the silver lining
Through the rain

There’s no method to my madness
And I can’t help feeling sad when
Things don’t turn out quite the way I thought I planned them 
But when I look back on my life
I see things in a different light
And nothing’s ever wasted
Cos one day you might be grateful that you did it

I don’t mind the sun not shining
I can see the silver lining
Through the rain

We’re been through some heavy weather
Running hard and falling far behind
But up ahead the clouds are lifting
And they say the wind is shifting
I believe the wrong things happen
At the right time

I don’t mind the sun not shining
I can see the silver lining
Through the rain