Sweetness And Pain (The St Buryan Sessions) - Single

by Sarah McQuaid

The sweetness of the berry Doesn’t take away the pain Of the briar when it stabs you In the hand But the power of your craving For the fruit among the thorns Is driving you to risk Another chance Sweetness and pain Summer sun And autumn rain The bramble does not seek to harm It merely seeks to live It injures without malice Or intention There’s no question of forgiveness No apology, no pardon For minor wounds too numerous To mention Sweetness and pain Winter winds Return again Sharp black thorns Concealed and smoothed By softly falling snow Drops of blood Like bright red flowers This hurt will pass Just let it go Sweetness and pain Shake it off And start again


Please do check out the YouTube video of this single, beautifully filmed in St Buryan Church by Cornish filmmaker Mawgan Lewis of Purple Knif with the help of veteran camera op John Crooks. There’s a link to my YouTube channel in the profile section of this page.


released April 2, 2021

Words and music by Sarah McQuaid
Sarah – vocals
Production and recording by Martin Stansbury
Mixed by Martin Stansbury at Cacophony Cottage Studio – cacophonycottagestudio.co.uk
Mastered by Stuart Bruce

The St Buryan Sessions were filmed and recorded live (with no audience due to COVID-19) on 1 July 2020 in the beautiful church of St Buryan, Cornwall, parts of which date back to the 11th century. The idea was to recreate the energy, heart, soul and magic of a live performance in a quality production that would stand the test of time.

Thanks to the generosity of the 184 individuals who contributed to my crowdfunding campaign, to Canon Vanda Perrett and the St Buryan Parish Council, to the immense skill of the team I had the privilege of working with, and most of all to the church itself, whose glorious natural acoustic we captured with the help of ambient microphones placed around the soaring space – I believe I’ve achieved that aim. I hope you think so, too.


all rights reserved



Sarah McQuaid Penzance, UK

“One of the most instantly recognisable voices in current music … Shades of Joni Mitchell in a jam with Karen Carpenter and Lana Del Rey.” —Neil March, Trust The Doc

“Captivating, unorthodox songwriting … layered satin vocals ... enthralling, harrowing arrangements … a gateway into a true innovator’s soul.” —PopMatters

See sarahmcquaid.com/about for more info.
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