Michael Chapman – autumn tour dates

Michael Chapman

Legendary guitarist and songwriter Michael Chapman first turned professional more than 50 years ago and he concludes another busy year of recording and playing concerts with a short UK tour.

Michael Chapman first became known on the London and Cornish folk circuits in mid-1966. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. While living in Hull, East Yorkshire, in late 1969, he signed to EMI’s Harvest label & recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Fully Qualified Survivor, Rainmaker, Window and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.

Michael Chapman is one of the UK’s best known finger picking style guitar players. As part of a continuing musical lineage that includes the likes of Ralph McTell, John Martyn, Davey Graham & Bert Jansch, Chapman is still active touring and recording and his playing is on top form. Michael continues to release new recordings at a phenomenal rate and is thought to have recorded nearly 60 albums throughout his career. 50 – 2017, Paradise Of Bachelors (Format: Vinyl LP, CD & Download) Homages 2016 –VDSQ –guitar instrumentals (Format Vinyl & Download only) Fish –2015, Tomkins Square (Vinyl LP, CD & Download ) Live At Folk Cottage -2013, Treehouse – (Vinyl LP & CD) archive recordings from 1967 Classics from the Harvest / EMI era include Fully Qualified Survivor, Rainmaker, Window, Wrecked Again and Playing The Guitar The Easy Way and they have all been reissued by USA label Light in The Attic as a complete series of his early work .

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.michaelchapman.co.uk

‘Sometimes You Just Drive’ – live on Later:

Tour Dates

Thursday 11th October- The Trades club, Hebden Bridge 8pm £12 / £14 plus 10% booking fee.

Sarah McQuaid announces tour dates

Sarah McQuaid

UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid is heading out on the road again with a battery of new instruments and a new album that’s been hailed as a “consummate artistic triumph” (Folk Radio UK) and tipped as an early candidate for folk album of the year by magazines and blogs in the USA, UK, Netherlands and Spain.

Produced by guitar legend Michael Chapman, who’s also given Sarah his own electric guitar on long-term loan, Sarah’s fifth solo album If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous is distributed worldwide by Proper on LP as well as CD.

With the help of financial support from Arts Council England and Cultivator Cornwall, Sarah was able to commission videos of her songs ‘Slow Decay’ and ‘The Tug Of The Moon’ from Cornwall-based filmmakers Brett Harvey and Mawgan Lewis, respectively, as  well as a Sarah McQuaid A Documentary by Lewis on the making of the new album. She’s also upped the number of instruments in her arsenal to include drum and (where possible) piano in addition to electric and acoustic guitars.

“People look at my stage setup and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t realise you were bringing a band with you,’” she laughs, “and I have to explain that no, it’s still just me! But it’s great to be able to have so much variety in my live set, and I’m getting really excited about all these new possibilities instrumentally. I think I might be writing a lot more on piano in the future, and I’d like to do more with the drum as well.”

The Spain-born, American-raised and UK-based artist is now gearing up for three solid months of touring, with 37 shows in the USA and 25 in the UK (62 concerts in total), starting on September 7th and winding up back in her adopted home county of Cornwall on December 2nd.

Artist’s website:  http://www.sarahmcquaid.com

‘Slow Decay’ – official video:

UK Tour Dates

November 1  Launceston: No. 8 Cafe & Deli

November 2  Trowbridge: The Village Pump @The Lamb

November 3  Stroud: Minchinhampton Market House

November 4  Barnstaple: ThePlough @StAnne’s

November 6  Northampton: Great kNight Folk Club

November 7  Pontyclun: Llantrisant Folk Club

November 8  Carmarthen: The Parrot

November 9  Shrewsbury: Snailbeach Village Hall

November 10  Doncaster: Cast

November 12  Surbiton: House Concert

November 13  Newport Harbour: Quay Arts – Anthony Minghella Theatre

November 14  Southampton: The Chapel Sessions

November 15  Redbourn Folk Club

November 16  Newbury: ACE Space

November 17  West Kirby Arts Centre

November 18  Southport: Bothy Folk Club

November 19  Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre

November 22  St Margaret’s Hope: Cromarty Hall

November 23  Hoy: Gable End Theatre

November 25  Edinburgh: Assembly Roxy

November 28  Carlisle: Old Fire Station

November 29  Rothbury Roots

November 30  Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel

December 1  Bovey Tracey: South Devon Music

December 2  Truro: Old Bakery Studios

Michael Chapman tours in April

Michael Chapman

2016 was a landmark year for Michael Chapman. As well as celebrating his 75th birthday it was also 50 years since he first went on the road professionally. We organised some special events to mark this important milestone in his life and career – including a short residency in London, a UK tour with BJ Cole on pedal steel and Sarah Smout on cello, and issues of some new recordings, including collections of guitar instrumentals Fish and Homages. Never one to stand still for long, Chapman continues touring in 2018 with more new projects including his new album 50 on vinyl and some exciting new collaborations are in the pipeline.

New recordings: Chapman’s new album 50 was released in January 2017 on the Paradise Of Bachelors label. Produced by & featuring Steve Gunn it features his first full band sound for some 20 years.

Michael Chapman (born Leeds Yorkshire – 1941) first became known on the London and Cornish folk circuits in 1966. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI’s Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.

His influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the guitar of Mick Ronson (David Bowie) and Rick Kemp’s bass (Steeleye Span), was John Peel’s favourite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman “hit”, ‘Postcards of Scarborough’, a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.

Chapman is known as one of the UK’s best finger picking style guitar players. As part of a continuing musical lineage that includes the likes of Ralph McTell, John Martyn, Davey Graham and Bert Jansch, Chapman is still active touring and recording and his playing is on top form. There are regular releases of new recordings, (Fish – 2015) archive recordings (Live at Folk Cottage -2013) and reissues of his classics. Rainmaker, Fully Qualified Survivor, Wrecked Again, Window and Playing The Guitar The Easy Way have been reissued by USA label Light In The Attic on CD and vinyl format as a complete reissue series of his early work on EMI’s Harvest label.

Recent collaborations with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and the American “primitive school” of guitar players including the late John Fahey and Jack Rose, opened up a whole new audience of US based admirers. Appearing on recordings with Hiss Golden Messenger and Steve Gunn has cemented Chapman’s position as pivotal figure in roots, folk and acoustic guitar playing over the last 50 years.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/Michael-Chapman/

The classic ‘Postcards Of Scarborough’ – live:

Tour Dateswww.michaelchapman.co.uk/concerts.htm for detailed listings.

April 19th- The Platform Morecambe 8pm £14

20th- the Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Shipley 7.30 pm £12

21st- Scarborough Market Hall, Scarborough 7pm £10

22nd The Deaf Institute, Manchester 7.30 pm £16

25th The Lexington, London 7.30 pm £14 + booking fee

26th- Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 7pm £16 (£17.50 inc booking fee)

27th Greystones, Sheffield, 8 pm £13

28th The Basement, York 8pm £10 advance £12 on the door.

SARAH McQUAID – If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (Shovel And A Spade Records SAASCD001)

If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get DangerousIan Semple, whose radio programme on CoastFM specializes in promoting artists with a connection to Cornwall, describes Sarah McQuaid’s new CD If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (due for release on February 2nd 2018) as ‘pure brilliance’ and ‘without doubt one of her finest…’. As this is the first of her albums I’ve heard all through, I can’t make that comparison, but on the strength of this CD, I’ll certainly be digging deeper into her previous output myself.

Sarah is known far beyond her adopted home in Cornwall as a fine singer, songwriter and guitarist, with particular expertise in the modal guitar tuning DAGDAD. This CD also sees her work bolstered by a handful of other fine musicians, including veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Chapman, who also produced it.

  1. The title track ‘If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous’ might be summarized as “fear of fracking”, but that would be to understate the lyrical complexity of the piece. Sarah’s vocals and electric guitar are augmented by Michael Chapman’s slide guitar, Roger Luxton’s drums, and Richard Evans’ trumpet.
  2. ‘Slow Decay’ also has a lyrical complexity that’s unusual, even among the more thoughtful contemporary singer/songwriters, playing as it does on the multiple meanings of ‘decay’ in acoustics, wave functions and mortality.
  3. ‘One Sparrow Down’ has some of the feel of the acapella version of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’, being sung unaccompanied apart from some unconventional percussion and sound effects. Vega’s song is essentially a sequence of observations and ‘found’ images. However, Sarah’s lyric, with its echo of Matthew 10.29, extends observation into metaphor. And I rather like the tune.
  4. Unusually, ‘The Silence Above Us’ features Sarah’s piano well forward in the mix, as well as her guitar and Samuel Hollis’s upright bass. A lovely ballad.
  5. ‘Forever Autumn’ is a cover version of the song from the Jeff Wayne project War Of The Worlds. I came across a lovely live version by Sarah on YouTube some time ago, but this version gains from the addition of her own piano work and Joe Pritchard’s cello.
  6. The ‘Dies Irae’, a hymn in medieval Latin, the words very familiar from the Requiem mass (though not all the words are used here). This version is essentially the plainsong melody known since the 13th century or earlier, though in this case Sarah’s vocals are supported by her own guitar, Michael Chapman’s slide, and Joe Pritchard’s cello. Its presence here is particularly appropriate, since the opening line is echoed in the well-known instrumental intro to ‘Forever Autumn’. This setting seems particularly suited to her captivatingly fragile vocals.
  7. The theme of mortality is continued with Sarah’s atmospheric instrumental ‘The Day Of Wrath, That Day’, the title being a literal translation of the first line of the ‘Dies Irae’. Sarah plays electric guitar on this, augmented by Roger Luxton’s percussion and some ambient noise from Michael Chapman’s guitar. Spine-chilling.
  8. Although the lyric to ‘Cot Valley’ takes into account the valley’s place in the history of Cornish mining – and the (mis)use of child labour here and elsewhere in Britain right into the 20th century – it also works as a reminder of the way in which beauty spots in so many places – not only Cornwall, but (for instance) Shropshire, South Wales and the North East – have outgrown their dark industrial past. Unusually, Sarah augments her own acoustic guitar work with high-strung electric guitar – that is, a guitar with the four lower strings replaced (usually) with the octave strings from a 12-string set – while the instrumentation is further filled out with Michael Chapman’s electric guitar, Richard Evans’s trumpet, Georgia Ellery’s fiddle, percussion from Roger Luxton, and Samuel Hollis’s upright bass, to great effect.
  9. ‘New Beginnings’ is a very neat guitar piece, written as a “wedding march” for Zoë Pollock’s wedding. I think this one might just creep into my own repertoire.
  10. ‘Time To Love’ was co-written with Gerry O’Beirne, and features Georgia Ellery and Joe Pritchard double tracking violin and cello as a sort of counterfeit string quartet.
  11. ‘Break Me Down’ is described in the press release as “possibly the cheeriest song ever written about decomposition” – I’m trying desperately not to think of the old joke about composing and decomposing – and that’s a pretty good description of this slightly bluesy piece. Sarah’s vocal, electric guitar and high-strung guitar are reliably supplemented by Michael Chapman’s trusty ES175 and Roger Luxton’s drums and percussion. But I was particularly impressed by Samuel Hollis’s work on both upright and electric bass.
  12. ‘The Tug Of The Moon’ may already be familiar to you, having been released as a single. The song is more than adequately carried by Sarah’s vocals and electric guitar. Much as I love the acoustic guitar, it surprises me that more people don’t see (outside jazz, at any rate) the potential of the solo electric guitar as an instrument for accompaniment. Now there’s a song for New Year’s Eve…

This is an album of fine instrumental work that never detracts from the song or the vocals. And the songs are exceptional: some of the lyrics here would look equally at home in a volume of poetry, though it would be a pity to deprive them of Sarah’s voice and melodic flair.

I suspect that even Sarah’s fans will be pleasantly surprised at how good this album is, and it should make her many more.

David Harley

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website www.sarahmcquaid.com

We make no apologies for featuring this video again – ‘The Tug Of The Moon’:

For Sarah’s tour dates, go to: http://folking.com/sarah-mcquaid-announces-new-album-and-tour-dates/

Sarah McQuaid announces new album

Sarah McQuaid

Produced by legendary singer-songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous is the fifth solo album by UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid.

Musings on mortality dominate this recording, but it’s by no means all gloom: ‘Break Me Down’ is possibly the cheeriest song ever written about decomposition, while ‘One Sparrow Down’ (backed not by Sarah’s trademark DADGAD-tuned guitar but rather by a battery of unorthodox percussion instruments including wine bottle and oven grill) takes a similarly upbeat approach to the death of a bird hell-bent on attacking its own reflection, unseen by the predatory cat calmly watching from her perch on the windowsill. In the liner notes for the album, Sarah thanks her cat Nightshine for contributing guest vocals to the track, and apologises to her for the implicit metaphor.

A cover of Jeff Wayne’s melancholy ‘Forever Autumn’ leads into an arrangement for voice and guitar of ‘Dies Irae’, the medieval chant whose melody is echoed not only in Wayne’s intro to his classic War Of The Worlds number but also in countless film soundtrack themes (The Exorcist, The Shining and Citizen Kane, to name a few). Here as elsewhere on the album, McQuaid’s guitar shines on an equal basis with her velvet-textured voice. Indeed, two of the tracks are purely instrumental: ‘New Beginnings’, written as a wedding march for former pop star Zoë Pollock of ‘Sunshine On A Rainy Day’ fame (with whom Sarah recorded the album Crow Coyote Buffalo under the band name Mama), and ‘The Day Of Wrath, That Day’, whose title is a literal translation of the first line in ‘Dies Irae’.

The propulsive, apocalyptic title track was inspired by a warning McQuaid heard herself giving her son as he excavated an enormous hole in their back garden. There’s an obvious allusion to fracking (‘Splitting cracks in the rock to free the power inside’), but the song’s thematic scope extends well beyond that: ‘Sometimes the way to fix a problem is to turn the pressure off’ is a maxim that could apply to virtually any aspect of life.

On four of the tracks, including lead single ‘The Tug Of The Moon’, McQuaid plays an electric guitar belonging to Chapman, which he’s since given her on long-term loan. ‘The precision and sophistication of the writing and playing blows me away. I am so glad to be involved,’ he writes in his introduction to the album booklet. Since meeting Sarah when both artists played the Village Pump Festival in 2014, Chapman has become a staunch friend and supporter, even performing as her opening act at a local concert he and his wife arranged for her. Sarah became a regular visitor to the Chapmans’ farmhouse in Cumbria, and during one visit he made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: ‘We were having a chat and a glass of wine, and he said ‘Why don’t you let me produce your next album?’,’ Sarah recalls. ‘I’m glad he said it, because I’d never have dared ask otherwise!’

Another new addition is piano, which McQuaid plays to beautiful effect on ‘The Silence Above Us’ as well as on ‘Slow Decay’ and ‘Forever Autumn’. Guest musicians include Chapman on archtop electric guitar, Roger Luxton on drums and percussion, Samuel Hollis on upright and electric bass, Richard Evans on trumpet, Georgia Ellery on violin and Joe Pritchard on cello.

If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous was made possible thanks to financial support from Arts Council England Grants For The Arts, using public money from the Government and the National Lottery, and from Cultivator, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council. The album will be launched with a concert at the Acorn Arts Centre in Sarah’s adopted home town of Penzance on Thursday, 25 January, following which she’ll be touring it extensively in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.sarahmcquaid.com/

‘The Tug Of The Moon’ – official video:

Michael Chapman celebrates his 75th birthday

Michael Chapman celebrates his 75th birthday
Photograph by Andru Chapman

In recent years, the revered British guitarist and songwriter has seen his classic Harvest records from the 70’s reissued by Light In the Attic, and he’s toured with Bill Callahan, Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore, Ryley Walker and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

On the eve of the Fully Qualified Survivor’s 75th birthday (January 24th), his latest album Fish finds Chapman vital as ever, garnering heaps of praise from the likes of MOJO (8/10), Record Collector (5/5), and UNCUT (4/5).

Tompkins Square also released Chapman’s 2010 double CD Trainsong : Guitar Compositions 1967-2010 and a 2012 tribute album, Oh Michael, Look What You’ve Done : Friends Play Michael Chapman (TSQ 2707) featuring Hiss Golden Messenger, William Tyler, Lucinda Williams and Thurston Moore among others.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.michaelchapman.co.uk/

A classic – ‘Naked Ladies And Electric Ragtime’: