Meg Hutchinson- The Living Side

Meg Hutchinson

The Living Side

Red House Records

For Meg Hutchinson, no matter how tough things get, it is always better on the living side.

Meg Hutchinson writes like Joni Mitchell used to and Springsteen still does, and she sings like an Americana godsend. From the opening lines of this intense, lyrical album- “Train whistling home in the dark, Christmas lights up in the trailer park, And across the highway good Americans shop. There is a quiet dignity, yards tiny and clean, Small enough to just fall right through, The American dream” (“Hard to Change”) the Boston-resident spins ballads of introspection and challenge.

There is more than a hint of melancholy woven into the spare arrangements, a darkness shadowing the hearts and minds explored. Myth (“It was fun, I glued my feathers on, I flew up to the sun, never getting too warm…until the day it all fell away”) masks depression (“At First it Was Fun”), homespun truth (“When I drink whiskey, sometimes I do things I don’t regret, Sometimes I say things I can’t forget”) illustrates longing (“Hopeful Things”).

I find this album more uplifting than the previous Come Up Full, itself an amazing recording. And it was only when I went to the shelf to search out that album that I realized how much Hutchinson reminds me of Janis Ian.

The Living Side is simple, brilliant and elegant. Meg Hutchinson presents contemporary folk music that is progressive but grounded, coffeehouse sounds that refuse to be background music.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee- Donald

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