Record Review: Meg Baird

by | Feb 29, 2012 | Folk & Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock, Reviews

Meg Baird

Seasons on Earth

Philadelphia, PA

“A stunning album of originals while keeping to her roots”

Best known as the female singer in Philly psych-folk band Espers, Meg Baird also creates solo work that explores the furthest boundaries of what traditional music can be.  Her last album, 2007’s Dear Companion, worked as a cross between the interpretative material of Anne Briggs and the effortless grace and musicianship of Nick Drake. She ably adapted traditional standards like “Willie o’ Winsbury” and “Barbara Ellen” to her strengths (a clear, vibrato-less voice, intricate finger-picking) and gave them a new life removed from the stridency, studiousness and self-importance of the traditional music revivals of the 1960s. On her new album, Seasons on Earth, she focuses on another strength: her songwriting ability. Eight of the ten songs are originals that use the poetry and language of traditional ballads, tapping into some sort of collective memory while also being personal and distinct.

The music reflects the gentleness, comfort and familiarity found in the lyrics. Unlike Dear Companion, which was a true solo effort, much of Seasons on Earth features Marc Orleans on pedal steel and Dobro, sonically recalling the romanticized pastoral Albion of Led Zeppelin III and Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left. Seasons on Earth may not be unlike anything you’ve heard before, but it stands on its own with the best of them. (Drag City)

Recorded and mixed by Brian McTear

Mastered by Paul Hammond and Paul Sinclair