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Ex-Melbourne, now Bellarine Peninsula-based singer-songwriter and roots-music luminary Sarah Carroll, known for her work with the likes of GIT, The Pirates Of Beer, Soft Gold, The Left Wing, The Junes and The Cartridge Family, her work with her late husband, the legendary harmonica player and singer-songwriter Chris Wilson and sons Fenn Wilson and George Carroll Wilson, and her decades of broadcasting and music writing experience, is set to release her new solo album NQR&B on July 5 through Cheersquad Records & Tapes.

NQR&B album cover

Often tagged as The Ukulele Queen Of The Bellarine, Sarah Carroll is much, much more than a catchphrase.  As evident on her soon to be released new album NQR&B, the multi-instrumentalist could never be anchored to one singular piece of music gear. On the new record she also plays guitars, bass and upright bass, drums, glockenspiel, egg, tambourine and vibraslap.

However where Sarah really shines on NQR&B is as a songwriter. What stands out immediately is the strength of these songs in both construction and melody, plus they’re so lyrically rich. There’s a life lived behind these tales, real life stories, told from the heart with an authenticity that can’t be denied and her soulful vocal delivery is just icing on the cake. Add some stellar performances from Leigh Ivin, Shannon Bourne, her sons Fenn and George, plus Jackie Marshall and Tim Neal and you’ve got yourself a quality, inspiring musical statement and probably Sarah’s most accomplished work to date. Bellarine Peninsula-based engineer Jasper Jolley has also delivered a warm, earthy vibe from the studio chair, which permeates the entire album.

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips and photographer Jason Rosewarne had great pleasure in travelling down the highway to the Bellarine Peninsula to chat with Sarah Carroll about the creation of NQR&B and we are also delighted to crown her as Australian Musician’s Musician of the Month for June. (Interview audio complete with background contributions from Sarah’s gorgeous, snoring dogs!)

Sarah Carroll has performed at most of Australia’s high-profile festivals and a good many of its pubs over a 30-year career. Although known locally as The Ukulele Queen Of The Bellarine, ukulele is just one of many strings in Sarah’s bow. (She was given that name by her dear friend Susan Russell, who leads Tin Stars, a new alt-country outfit featuring Sarah on drums!)

Sarah spent the winter of 2022 living, playing and working in Mparntwe/Alice Springs and was tremendously inspired and energised by the country she saw, as well as the many musicians she befriended. The school she worked at has 80% indigenous students and she was absorbed quickly into its wonderful family atmosphere.

Sarah released an album dedicated to her late husband, Chris Wilson, entitled MEDICINE in late 2019. Guitar virtuoso Shannon Bourne, her sons Fenn and George and bestie Shula Hampson accompany her on the recording.

In 2021, Sarah and a team of arts professionals and cultural leaders from Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri country in Australia and Mi’gmaw land in Canada produced a beautiful audio-visual meditation on water as spirit and the essence of life, called Ngubitj, Samgooan, Water. It was broadcast online and as a month-long installation at Geelong Town Hall in May 2021 and was based on a track from Medicine, Water Bearer.

Sarah launched her epic progressive country album Star Parade, out on Sugarrush Music, with a national tour in 2017 and her 6th trip to the USA, where she appeared at Americanafest as part of the Australian contingent. Star Parade reached the top 5 on the Airit regional radio charts and received golden reviews in the press as well as strong support from public radio and the ABC across the country.

Sarah has travelled to the USA twice as a tour leader and musical guide with Mezray Tours, enjoying time with fellow gig pigs in Nashville, Austin, San Francisco and Hawaii.

She has enjoyed supporting high-profile artists at home such as Kinky Friedman (USA), Mic Conway, Old Man Luedecke (Canada), Eddi Reader (Scotland), Renee Geyer, Tim Rogers, Richard Clapton, Vika And Linda Bull, Monique Brumby and one of Australia’s finest songmen, Neil Murray. In the USA, she works with the likes of Anne McCue, Tommy Womack and Bill Kirchen.

On the new record she also plays guitars, bass and upright bass, drums, glockenspiel, egg, tambourine and vibraslap! Joining Sarah on NQR&B are her sons, the acclaimed singer/songwriters Fenn Wilson (one of Tim Rogers’ ‘favourite singers in the world”) and George Carroll Wilson (of Pollyman fame) on drums and bass respectively, singer/songwriter Jackie Marshall, longtime collaborators and guitarists Leigh Ivin (of the Re-mains, and producer of Sarah’s last album Star Parade) and Shannon Bourne, and Shannon’s fellow member of Checkerboard Lounge, Tim Neal on keys and clarinet. The album was recorded in mid 2023 at Big Fridge Studio, Wadawurrung Country/Wallington on the Bellarine Peninsula in the Greater City of Geelong, by Jasper Jolley, who also played some keys and pedal steel on the record. Additional recording, mixing and mastering was by Isaac Barter.

Sarah hopes to perform the new album live in the near future

PRE-ORDER NQR&B HERE NQR&B | Sarah Carroll (

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