Posts Tagged ‘Meg Baird’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For over a decade, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gunn has been one of American music’s most pivotal figures – conjuring immersive and psychedelic sonic landscapes both live and on record, releasing revered solo albums ranking high on in-the-know end of year lists, alongside exploratory collaborations with artists as diverse as Mike Cooper, Kurt Vile, and Michael Chapman (whose most recent studio album he produced). Gunn is known for telling other people’s stories, but on his breakthrough fourth album, “The Unseen In Between”, he explores his own emotional landscapes with his most complex, fully realized songs to date. The lyrics evoke voyages, tempests (actual and emotional), and a rich cast of characters met along the way — the work of an artist finding a place of calm in the midst of a storm. Produced by frequent collaborator James Elkington and engineered by Daniel Schlett, the immaculately recorded Unseen forces a reassessment of Gunn’s standing in the pantheon of the era’s great songwriters. Getting to The Unseen In Between itself was not easy for Gunn.

In the summer of 2016, Gunn released Eyes On The Lines, his winning and elliptical debut for Matador Records. It should have been a triumphant moment, but exactly two weeks later, Gunn’s father and namesake died following a two-year struggle with cancer. This experience yielded the emotional centerpiece of the album. “Stonehurst Cowboy” is a duet for Gunn’s raw acoustic guitar and spare basslines by Bob Dylan’s musical director Tony Garnier, whose featured throughout the album. The song distills the lessons Gunn learned from his father and it is a solemn but tender remembrance, a tribute to his father’s reputation as a tough, wise, and witty guy from far west Philadelphia. A sense of musical renewal and emotional complexity fits the new songs perfectly; “Luciano” seems to be about the chemistry between a bodega owner and his cat, an unspoken romance of gentle obedience and quiet gestures. But Gunn peers below the relationship’s surface and wonders about the owner’s lonely future once the cat is gone, a devastating meditation wrapped in soft strings.

http://

And then there’s “Vagabond,” Gunn’s graceful attempt to humanize a rich cast of characters whose lives have gone astray, wanderers who live outside of society’s modern safety net, who pursue “a crooked dream” in spite of what the world expects. Supported by the perfect harmonies of Meg Baird, Gunn finds something lovely in the unloved. In a final contrast, “Morning is Mended” is an acoustic beauty so resplendent it ranks alongside Sandy Denny or Jackson C. Frank. Buoyed by a melody that sparkles like sunlight on still water, Gunn acknowledges the hardships around him, the feeling of being a “nothing sky,” and then moves forward into the world, walking tall into the fresh morning. The song is an apt encapsulation of The Unseen In Between, a gorgeously empathetic record that attempts to recognize the worries of the world and offer some timely assurance. It is a revelatory and redemptive set, offering the balm of understanding at a time when that seems in very short supply.

Released January 18th, 2019

Steve Gunn – Guitars, Vocals
James Elkington – Guitars, Keys, Percussion, Harmonica,
Tony Garnier – Bass
TJ Mainani – Drums
Meg Baird – Vocals
Daniel Schlett – Keys, Percussion
Macie Stewart – Strings
Lia Kohl – Strings
Jacob Daneman – Clarinet

All songs written by Steve Gunn

Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore’s collective work as solo artists, band members, and collaborators—could fill a small record collection. Despite this productivity, these two long-time friends have never recorded an entire album focused exclusively on their unique talents. “Ghost Forests” mysteriously, thrillingly fills that void.

Independently, Baird and Lattimore have each cultivated highly individual and idiosyncratic tools of expression. Baird’s timeless and soaring voice, guitar, and drums have underpinned pastoral and folk rock explorations as a soloist and in band settings with Espers and Heron Oblivion. Lattimore’s albums of enigmatic, spectral experimental harp sounds move and unfold like films and nature itself. The list of artists that have called upon their voices, talents, and visions to enrich their own work is expansive—a virtual pocket encyclopedia of contemporary indie and experimental musicians.

Over the course of “Ghost Forests”’ six collaborative compositions we hear deeply sympathetic conversations between the two artists. With access to a deep pool of shared influences, these two friends assembled a collection of sounds conjured from harp, guitar (both acoustic and electric), synths, the human voice, and a shared poetic language. Baird and Lattimore’s subjects range from the sound of light on water, seismic geopolitical anxiety, the smog-exploded sunsets of Don Dudley’s paintings, and vertigo from their respective relocations to San Francisco and Los Angeles from their once-shared home in Philadelphia.

The synthesis of their vision welcomes listeners who might have been familiar with only one of the performer’s solo oeuvres. It also speaks to long-time fans both artists who have long wondered what this dream collaboration might yield.

Steve Gunn has long known Baird and Lattimore and worked with both on his own albums. He says “Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore are two musicians that I greatly admire. ‘Ghost Forests’ is an ace meld of their abilities; Meg’s guitar and voice, and Mary’s harp lead each other (and us) into further regions of the strata. With each song you can hear this remarkable kinship. I’m thankful for this soundtrack.”

http://

“Ghost Forests”’ musical conversations are intimate, fluid, effortless and spontaneous. They’re filled with the euphoria of creation and, at times, they articulate hard truths and tangled emotions with an ease only trusted friends can manage. The songs alternate between extended ethereal instrumental excursions, gauzy and dreamy pop, blown-out “Bull of the Woods” heavy haze, and modern reimaginations of epic traditional balladry—all while touching on the strange and otherworldly places between these stations.

With “Ghost Forests” Baird and Lattimore have given us all a timeless gift that generously rewards immersion and deep investigation. It is our collective good fortune as listeners that we are able to eavesdrop on their conversation through these songs. It is also a wonder to hear two unique artists interact to such beautifully original ends.

Releases November 9th, 2018

Recorded January 2018 in Los Angeles, CA.

“Ghost Forests” is the first full collaborative album from Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore. It was recorded in January 2018 in Los Angeles with Thom Monaghan. It will be packaged within a jewel case including artwork by Jeff Root and a 4 panel insert. It was mastered by Patrick Klem. “Ghost Forests” will be released on November 9th, 2018.

Something has been missing from the last few mini-millennia we’ve all been living through here in the two-thousand-teens, but it is a discreet thing; have you noticed at all? . If you can raise your thousand yard stare from the heart of the campfire embers, you might be roused by the sign that’s been posted on your cabin wall: our old favorite neo-troubadours Espers are manifesting once again!.

Re-birthed into an inextricably changed world after the interminable gap of nearly a decade, Espers mean to bring their kaliedoscopic folk vibe back with a vengeance – while not committing to a world tour , their three shows in the Northeast will doubtless be a potent presentation of their earthy-yet-expansive style! The classic sound of Espers is intact (Greg WeeksMeg BairdBrooke SietinsonsHelena EspvallOtto Hauser) and you know what that means; impeccable live performance of an almost timeless vintage.

Albums

  • Espers (2004)
  • The Weed Tree (2005)
  • II (2006)
  • III (2009)

http://

Track off of her album “Don’t Weigh Down The Light”,

Meg Baird is a solo artists as well as being the lead singer with Espers, the drummer and vocalist in Heron Oblivion, Meg has collaborated with Will Oldham, Kurt Vile,Sharon Van Etten and Steve Gunn, as well as previously touring with the legendary folk-musician, Bert Jansch prior to his death.

MegBaird
Loosely speaking this a folk record. Meg has long admired the 1970’s legends of the UK folk scene from Sandy Denny to Jacqui McShee, and the base for her song-writing is firmly rooted in that tradition. That said, her latest effort Don’t Weight Down The Light is a far more expansive affair than that might imply; the guitar work is dense and beautiful, layers of finger picked acoustic, electric, 12-strings, and slide guitars provide rich textures of sound. This album also see’s Meg branch out from her precise guitar picking and include pianos, organs and even very occasionally percussion to add to the albums musical pallet.

http://
Meg has been a frequent fixture in the renaissance of the Philadelphia music scene, but has recently relocated West and ended up in San Francisco. The second most densely populated American city, San Francisco has long represented the hopes and dreams of those who want to live outside the societal norms, being synonymous with the rise of hippie culture, the Sexual Revolution and the gay rights movement. Musically it’s one of the great historical centres, being home to the San Francisco Sound in the 1960’s spearheaded by the likes of The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane

Whilst Espers started making music as long ago as 2002, Meg’s solo career began with 2007’s Dear Companion, a collection of folk standards, covers of more modern tracks and only a couple of original numbers. That albums follow up, 2011’s Seasons On Earth focused more clearly on Meg’s own writing, a trend that continues on her upcoming third album, Don’t Weight Down The Light, which comes out on Wichita Records 

http://
Well for starters the sheer craftsmanship of the thing, this an album created by an artist with a singular vision for the record she wants to create, there’s not a single nod to musical fashion or trends, and as such it has a timeless quality. It sits equally easily alongside Fairport Convention or Fleet Foxes, Pentangle or Bonnie “Prince” Billy, which we’ll sure many will agree is very good company to keep.

 

 

Sub Pop describes their newest signees as “Pastoral Pummel”.  Heron Oblivion is an unlikely pairing.  Ax-wielders Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson of the legendary band Comets on Fire have teamed up with the ethereal Meg Baird, lead singer of Philly town’s Espers. The result sounds like Joan Baez ditched Dylan and found the nearest pack of amphetamine-popping proto-metalheads to back her.  The polarity between Meg’s tranquil vocal delivery and Ethan & Noel’s blistering electric accompaniment makes for a unique and welcoming addition to the burgeoning neo-psychedelic movement of the past few years.

Sub Pop, per usual, has your ‘Loser Edition’ vinyl variants after the ‘buy’ link.  Grab one if you’ve got some spare change laying around the Christmas wreckage.  This one is certainly going to be a contender for your ‘Best of 2016’ lists.

pre-order the LP version of Heron Oblivion  you will receive the album on Loser edition Clear w/ White Swirl colored vinyl, while supplies last (available until you read right here that it’s no longer in stock!).
– All pre-orders will also receive any and all pre-release track downloads in advance of the album release as they are made public, which will be available from your SubPop.com account as they become available.

http://

A new release from airy folk bard Meg Baird (Espers), who has recorded some of the most gorgeous folk I’ve heard in the past decade. Hearkening back to talents such as the late, great Sandy Denny and her sister in song, Maddy Prior, you can’t go wrong with music of this ilk. Recorded after a geographical change in Meg’s life, moving her from the Philly area to San Francisco. Given Meg’s predilection for psychedelic musical turns, I’d say she’s in the right place. Her voice soars easily to the highest heights even while dipping into alto valleys, and her double-tracked harmonies expand her sonic palette even further. Her acoustic guitar and piano are accompanied by longtime collaborator Charlie Saufley on guitar.

http://

As with any Meg Baird record, you can expect beautifully sung, exquisitely wrought songs, tunes that show glimmers and fleeting moments of life, airy and light even while plumbing deep wells of emotion. “Past Houses” and its reprise are like pools of shade on a hot summer’s day, while the lovely, pastoral “Counterfeiters” almost reminds me of a speeded up Pink Floyd song. Her voice here is like delicate lace, lightly touching down between Charlie’s slide work and her own fingerpicking. She is both confident and reticent, putting her voice out there while she emotionally withdraws from the listener. Listen to “Stars Unwinding” as it inhabits your mind, and you may be reminded of old Pentangle tunes. The gorgeous “Mosquito Hawks” could be a great lost tune from Richard and Linda Thompson, and is possibly the best track among a string of superlative songs. Despite the solitary demeanor displayed on some of these songs, Meg sings and plays with a sureness born of great talent, perseverance, and patience. The waiting time between albums is long, and perhaps songs are slowly borne as life happens around her.

http://

“Back to You” has an almost Renaissance feeling to it, and Meg’s voice here is plaintive and yearning. “Leaving Song” is a madrigal, and is far too short. I am fairly sure I could listen to an entire album of such angelic beauty. A minute is definitely not long enough! “Good Directions” is more complicated, sounding as though an Appalachian folk group rose out of the earth to accompany Meg on this tune. It has a fast pace, but you can’t quite dance a reel to this song. It certainly underscores how well these two musicians play together, and is another high mark on this release.

The soft, gentle title track, “Don’t Weigh Down the Light” is an early morning song for sitting on the porch with coffee in hand, enjoying the view of mist shrouding the surrounding hills. It maintains its thoughtful, mournful air throughout, before fading out to the sad breakup song that follows, “Even the Walls Don’t Want You to Go.” Its slightly atonal melody suits the subject matter, and at times, Meg’s backing vocal sounds horn-like. “Past Houses (Reprise)” finishes out the record, and makes me think of Neil Young in his After the Gold Rush days.

This lovely album is a must for all fans of English folk, Renaissance, and Appalachian roots music, or for those who like their folk somber, mystical and beautifully rendered.

Available on CD here (UK/EU), and here (US), and on vinyl here (UK/EU),or here (US).

http://

Track off of her forthcoming album “Don’t Weigh Down The Light”, out June 23rd Meg Baird is an American musician based in San Francisco, California, who, in addition to her solo career, is known as a founding member and the lead female vocalist of Philadelphia psychedelic folk rock band Espers. Most recently, she became a founding member, lead vocalist, and drummer for Heron Oblivion, along with members from Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound and Comets on Fire. Songs of memory and forgetting…within the architecture of shimmering guitars and melancholy light…razor sharp edge of her voice in your bones.

Originally from New Jersey, US, Baird’s family history is based in the folk tradition: Baird is the great-great niece of Isaac Garfield “I.G.” Greer, a historian and Appalachian folk singer born in 1881. His inclusion on one of the earliest albums issued by the Archive of Folk Culture in the Library of Congress helped expose Baird to folk music at a young age, while she was taking piano lessons, teaching herself guitar,