Meg Hutchinson- A bold adjustment, new album

Red House recoding artist Meg Hutchinson has released a video in advance of her new album Beyond That. “Only Just Begun” marks a decided and bold adjustment to what we’ve come to expect from the very talented songwriter and vocalist. I wrote about her last album The Living Side three years ago. I’m posting a link to the video at her website, and pasting the press release below:

Award-winning songwriter, poet and mental health advocate Meg Hutchinson will be releasing a new studio album, Beyond That, on September 24, 2013 on Grammy-winning indie label Red House Records. The album reunites Hutchinson with veteran Boston producer Crit Harmon (Martin Sexton, Mary Gauthier) for what is her most experimental and intricate production to date. “Crit and I have worked together for a decade now. I wanted to build on that trust and that shared musical language and really encourage each other to find new sounds,” she says. “I felt that I had reached a new landscape in myself and I wanted the album to reflect that.” The result is an album reminiscent of David Gray’s White Ladder where revelatory lyrics combine with a fresh contemporary production.

Beyond That is available for pre-order now at Amazon and iTunes. Hutchinson is premiering the first video from   the  album, “Only  Just Begun,” on her website.You can also tune into PRI radio this Friday through Sunday, July 26 through 28, to hear Meg’s interview with Golden Gate Bridge CHP officer Kevin Briggs on Bob Edwards Weekend. Briggs, who’s been recognized for his suicide prevention work, is the subject of her song “The Gatekeeper” from The Living Side.

Hutchinson has been busy in the three years since we last heard from her. She learned to play the piano and established a home studio, giving her greater flexibility to explore new terrain. In her previous album, 2010’s The Living Side, she spoke of wanting to unplug from technology and regain a stillness in her life. The songs on this album, at once ecstatic and meditative, are evidence that she has taken this message to heart.

“I believe that the role of an artist is to keep braving that deep inner work, to keep growing,” she says. “Creativity should be a method for transformation. This takes time, it takes quiet. I have spent a good deal of the last three years walking in the woods with my dog, sitting out on the rocks beside my favorite lake watching the sky go dark, learning a meditation and yoga practice.”

The resulting songs are about coming home, about transforming desire, about how human love can open the heart for some greater purpose.

“We live in the desire realm,” Hutchinson says. “If we look closely at our lives we see that all our senses are constantly hungry. We are addicted to information, to success, to consumption. I see this as a major cultural illness right now. We are always sure that there is something better, a better spouse, a better job, a bigger house. What we keep forgetting is that none of this pursuit is bringing us any closer to happiness.”

This new cycle of songs shows us another way. In “Only Just Begun” she contemplates how craving has been integral to survival, but that she hopes to move beyond this instinctual blindness. She sings, “My loves are many, my needs are few, billions of light years, it’s taken me to get here.” She closes the song with the lines “My best work has only just begun, our best work has only just begun.” This seems not only a mission statement but a call to all of us to re-examine our lives.

In “Yellow Room” she writes of a dream she had where she was getting on an amusement park ride but instead was flung into outer space and given a breathtaking view of our planet.

“I was filled with the sheer beauty of seeing the earth from far away. Filled with this realization that we are all a family inhabiting this one tiny planet in the midst of a vast universe. In the dream all our human arguments were meaningless, and what I was left with was a profound sense of wonder and love.”

As a result of the messages inherent in her earlier albums Come Up Full and The Living Side, Hutchinson has been invited to speak and perform as a mental health advocate across the country at prestigious conferences and teaching hospitals including Johns Hopkins University.

A chronicler of the human condition with a poet’s lyrical sensibility, Hutchinson is a unique, fearless songwriter whose work is vivid and transformative. Look for US tour dates to be announced soon.

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