A Feast of Songs at Abbey Tavern Howth

Posted 3 months ago in Arts & Culture Features

BIMM jun-jul 22 – Desktop

Green shoots are emerging from the darkness of the past two years and getting back to ‘business as usual’ seems to be the order of the day. Following on from the success of a ‘Day with John Spillane’ in July of 2019 which included a songwriting workshop in the afternoon, followed by an intimate evening concert by our leading troubadour, I am proud to host a similar event, this time featuring internationally renowned singer songwriter Sarah McQuaid at the legendary venue, The Abbey Tavern in Howth. An exciting addition to the day is in the afternoon when Sarah will focus on a workshop. Her critically acclaimed prowess and expertise as a published exponent of the DADGAD Tuning approach to guitar accompaniment has spawned a busy workshop schedule. Sarah is in high demand as facilitator of DADGAG workshops.

Picture: Brendan Lyon/ImageBureau

In my current role of Director of the MA in Songwriting at the Irish World Academy in Limerick University, I have had the honour of inviting leading professionals in the field of songwriting to come and share their process. Both Spillane and McQuaid have been regular contributors to this programme over the five years of my Directorship. Extending out to the general public by way of such events as the ‘Day with…’ is a passion and ambition of mine to provide a platform for these talented individuals through which they can reach wider audiences. I’ve been a Howth Resident for the past several years, and it is a privilege to bring these artists to the local community. Being a songwriter myself, with an extensive and varied career of nearly 50 years in a variety of roles within the music industry, including songwriting, performing and broadcasting, it is with immense pride that I host these events. Sarah has kindly invited me to perform a few songs on the night – a welcomed return for me to the performance stage!

Sarah’s publication ‘The Irish DADGAD Guitar Book’ has been described as ‘a godsend to aspiring traditional guitarists’. The same applies to songwriters who wish to expand their creative palette. This is a ‘not to be missed’ experience – the workshop run 2:30-4:00pm. Bookings for this workshop can be made by emailing howthsongwriting@gmail.com


I’ve been involved in the music business for those 50 years, in various capacities. My current role as Course Director was preceded by a radio career on RTE for 17 years, ten of which was curating and presenting the acclaimed late night eclectic programme ‘The Blue of The Night’. For those old enough to remember the 70s, I had a short career as a pop artist known as Jamie Stone – with 3 albums of original material, including the multi award winning debut New Day – an album which spawned a hit single ‘Gulliver’. The Jamie Stone experience lasted four years before I headed to New York where I immersed myself in the music business for the next 20 years.

I’ll be joining Sarah on the night for an opening solo spot…dipping my toe back in the water of performing. This move is the next chapter in the Corcoran Saga. With the imminent retirement from my position at UL, I’ve decided that the next stage in my ever changing career is the stage or similar platform. My next project is a ‘Return to the 70s at 70’ – a project that entails reimagining some of the catalogue from the last 48 year. This musical reimagining will be a collaboration with my son Kevin, a full time professional musician whose current role is that of keyboardist with Villagers. Kevin and I have embarked on the journey of taking songs from my past (including those of Jamie Stone 1974-’78, hence the 70s reference in the project title) and we’ll be recording an EP due for release later in the year – and perhaps some select performances along the way. An exciting Intergenerational Project!

Sharing the bill with Sarah is the first step in that journey, and on the night I’ll be including songs from said era in a solo set.

All in all it will be a great ‘Day with Sarah McQuaid’.

Here’s what they say about Sarah…

“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

“She reached parts other singers fail to do … There is emotion, beauty, passion and musically great arrangements and fab playing. It’s a complete package. I loved the show and was very moved.” —Rob Bozas, Bozas International (Publisher, Peter Gabriel/Real World)

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



Tickets for the Concert (on 23 April) are available here https://www.eventbrite.com/…/sarah-mcquaid-in-concert….

For enrolment and/or enquiries for the DADGAD Workshop (limited spaces booked separately) email : howthsongwriting@gmail.com

Visit sarahmcquaid.com for all info re Sarah’s career, recordings and workshops.


The key to the city. Straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.


National Museum Exhibitions MPU #1
Music & meditation may-jul-22


The key to the city. Straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.