As I Was Walking – available

As I was Walking……

This album has been a real journey for me and a labour of love. It started as an experiment of one or two recordings just to see what might be possible, and it grew into far more. I want to thank every single person who has encouraged me to continue and make it to the end – everyone who has believed in me and said it would be worth it – here we are and I am finally happy to present this CD to you all.

It could really be titled “As I was Working”, because many of these pieces have been stumbled upon through various musical engagements over the last 15 years. These songs and instrumental pieces have been learnt, crafted and developed through hours of practising and playing in different ensembles.

So I would like to thank Cupola, Opus, Keith Kendrick, The Ram Company, Ian Carter, Joni Mitchell, the Mills and Chimneys Project, Sinfonia Viva, Roger Watson, Caroline Small, Tim and Dave Arthur, the Music Department at the University of Sheffield, Stone Monkey Rapper Sword Dancers, John Tams and the War Horse Folk Music School, and finally my brilliant and patient husband who has made all this possible, Doug Eunson.

As I Was Walking now available from: Cothrecords

There was not enough room for all this information on the CD sleeve itself, so here is all the detail about the new album:

1.        Abroad as I was Walking  (Trad arr Sarah Matthews)

I learnt this song during my work with Tim Arthur as musical director for “Bold Nelson’s Praise” in 2005 – thanks Tim and Dave, as I had not come across it before.  The sad tale of so many women locked away in Asylums in the good old days.

2.       The Year Turns Round Again  (John Tams)

After my first visit to see War Horse (and there have been many) at the New London Theatre, I was moved by the celebratory seasonal nature of this song.  The first three verses written by John Tams to the well-known tune of Star of the County Down / Kingsfold – the last verse added by me in celebration of the Summer months of music and dance that I love so much.

3.       Stone Monkey Rapper Sword Dance Set DERT 2011  (Sarah Matthews)

(Amber’s Great Adventure / The Lizard at the Bar / Sweetness in the Cheeks)

As the title here would suggest, this set of rapper dance tunes was created with love for Stone Monkey Sword Dancers for their entry into the Dancing England Rapper Tournament in Oxford in 2011.  We didn’t win, but we had a fantastic time and I wanted to record this in honour of that day.  The bodhran here is intended as a nod towards the five pairs of stepping feet.

4.      April Song  (Robinson / James)

During my research at the University of Sheffield in order to obtain my Masters in Music in Derbyshire Traditional Music and Song, I came across this delightful little poem set to music and performed by Jolly Jack for a stage presentation called “Maypoles to Mistletoe” and recorded on the CD “Seasons, Ceremonies and Rituals”.  I fell in love with it and its quirky nature, and I was born in April, so it had to go on!

5.      My Love is like a Red Red Rose  (Robert Burns / arr Nick Cutts and Sarah Matthews)

This track is recorded for Nick Cutts from Opus and his lovely wife Helen and son Lewis.  I was booked to perform this song at their wedding, and Nick arranged the entire string quartet parts, but unfortunately I arrived with no voice that day.  So I decided to painstakingly record each string part and sing in my most romantic tones so they can finally enjoy it.

6.      The Ballad of John Bright  (Sarah Matthews)

Inspired by the most incredible play “The Unkown Land” by Caroline Small, starring one actor and one musician (Keith Kendrick), I wrote this ballad in honour of the songman aboard a doomed ship set sail to find the north-west passage across Canada in the 1800s.  His role was to keep fellow shipmates’ spirits high even in desperate times.

7.       Oh How that Valley did Change  (Sarah Matthews / Mills and Chimneys / Sinfonia Viva / Jack Ross)

The Mills and Chimneys Project started in April 2010, and has been a driving force in song-writing in Derbyshire traditional since then.  Embarking on a new phase of the project working with Sinfonia Viva and Jack Ross, I felt inspired to write this song about the creation of the dams in the Upper Derwent Valley.  This is the story of the people that had to move in and out of that beautiful place to create the reservoirs that we now recognise as permanent features of that valley.  My thanks to Julian Butt for the introduction, Elly Lucas for the lovely waltz at the end “Before the Water Came”, David Gibb and Lucy Ward for their help in reworking the lyrics, and Viva and Jack Ross for their arrangement ideas.  This song has already had a good start to its journey, winning the first round of the John Birmingham cup at Upton Folk Festival 2012……

8.       Cathy Shaw  (Roger Watson)

A traditional song by Roger Watson – much respect goes to this man and everything he has contributed to traditional music and Derbyshire folk in particular.  Quite simply a lovely tale of a Staffordshire lass making her dreams come true in Derbyshire ….. eventually!

9.      Chealsea Morning  (Joni Mitchell / arr Sarah Matthews)

So glad I was put on to listening to Joni recently – the jolliest song you are likely to hear with coy hope of a friend staying close by for the night….

10.   Le Bandeau Perdu  (Sarah Matthews)

2006 saw me visiting St Chartier music and dance festival in Central France, where I lost my favourite headband.  This five-time waltz was composed in the tent by way of lamentation.  I want to thank Opus for their thoughts on chord accompaniment here.

11.     T’owd Brahn ‘En  (Gerald Short)

A characterful song written by Gerald Short of Chesterfield in the Derbyshire dialect.  One of my favourite Derbyshire songs, as I now keep chickens myself.

12.    Julie’s Chance  (Sarah Matthews)

A song composed for the Ram Company’s performance “Waltzers and Wonders” with two characters taken from the lovely Ian Carter’s stories and the fun they get up to each year at the fair.

13.    The Fiddle and the Drum  (Joni Mitchell)

Words cannot describe this piece – just have a listen.  Written in the 1960s and somehow still so relevant!


Well, the album launch in Nov 2012 was a huge success, sending me well on my way to developing my solo playing.Sarah Album Launch 1

Thank you Julian Butt for taking one of my first ever photos of me playing my tenor guitar!!

It was such a splendid day – everyone seemed to enjoy the concert – which went on for around 45 minutes.

Loads of lovely people there – great support from friends and colleagues.

After I had finished my part and  Stone Monkey Sword Dancers, Eilidh Brinsley and Sara Rose had performed superbly, we had the most fantastic organic social session with storytelling from Maria and David, tunes from everyone, songs from Marc Block, David Gibb, Bob Butler, and Jess Arrowsmith.

A very over-excited Sarah:

Photo: Just been to see Sarah Matthews performing at the launch of her new album. Brilliant! Well done Sarah! Great sword dancing from The Stone Monkey too!


As I Was Walking now available from:



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