Darrell Scott and Megan Munroe   Leave a comment

In my column this week I review two very strong albums. Darrell Scott’s Modern Hymns receives a more concise review in the paper than what I previously shared here. You already likely know that it is a charmer of a disc. Megan Munroe may be less familiar, and her new country album is quite impressive; one doesn’t often find such full-realized music from ‘unknowns’. Originally published in The Red Deer Advocate January 16, 2009

Darrell Scott

Modern Hymns

Appleseed/Full Light

Americana’s most impressive contemporary troubadour whose name isn’t Steve Earle, Darrell Scott produces albums containing original music executed at such a high level that they pass largely unnoticed. A true shame, considering the songs he’s dropped- including 2007 Americana Music Association Song of the Year, Hank Williams’ Ghost– match or exceed that of those who have attained more widespread acclaim.

This time out Scott has assembled acoustic sounds from a wide palate selecting a dozen songs drawn from his younger, transistor radio days. Many of the songs are multi-dimensional productions, replete with strings. However, even when multiple vocalists and instruments come together on songs, the arrangements are still seemingly uncomplicated and spacious sounding. A few numbers are kept to quintets, and provide down-to-earth respite from more elaborate settings.

Scott, Mary Gauthier and Alison Krauss combine for a transcendent rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Joan of Arc; magic this one is with Krauss giving voice to the angels’ chorus as Scott’s flames rise to engulf Gauthier’s Maid of Orleans.

The beauty of Darrel Scott is that he can’t help but sound like himself, and he fully owns these songs. Each becomes a Scott song by way of his hands and most especially voice.

Songs from Guy Clark, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and others are included, with the influences of the past mixed with Scott’s modern, honest ear and precision instrumentation that just feels right.

Megan Munroe

One More Broken String

Diamond Music Group

With a voice that demands listeners snap to attention, Washington-native Megan Munroe blends blues, country, and bluegrass sounds into an Americana blend that champions artistic integrity without sacrificing commercial appeal. 

Of the dozen originals contained on her first Nashville-based album, none are generic or obvious; she possesses vocal personality, demonstrating not only how to convey the genuine emotion of a song, but an ability to connect with her listening audience. Belle Meade, Moonshine, and Angel on Fire are standouts.

Megan Munroe: you’ve likely never heard of her; I certainly hadn’t, but think KT Tunstall as a country singer. Now, look her up on MySpace and listen. I think you may be impressed.


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