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Long time friend of WERS, Meg Hutchinson stopped by to play us a few songs for Live Music Week. A Western Massachusetts native, and Bostonian for the past decade, Meg is no stranger to the WERS studios: Meg began her career by busking in the Boston subways and receiving “brutally honest” feedback, until the WERS studios started playing her music regularly thus giving her enough publicity to get her career truly started.
Meg has been in and out of our studios numerous times, most notable to record a Christmas album a few years ago with other members of Winterbloom. Winterbloom being a collection of four singer-songwriters (Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Natalia Zukerman, and Meg Hutchinson) who tour together but more important to Meg inspire and influence each other creatively.
Meg started off her in-studio session with “Gatekeeper”, from her 2010 album The Living Side. The finger strumming she uses perfectly complements her voice, creating an almost Damien Rice-esque song. “Gatekeeper” exemplifies Jeff Burger’s description of Meg’s music as being just as “powerful as it is gentle”.
Meg explained the backstory of “Gatekeeper” as being about a personal hero of hers: a patrol officer on the Golden Gate Bridge who has saved hundreds of people from taking their own lives. He asks two simple questions as he approaches suicidal people, these questions that Meg repeats as her chorus: “how are you feeling?” and “what are your plans for tomorrow?”
The next song Meg played for us was “Turn To You”, which will be featured on her upcoming album. She described this song as a “Buddhist song about desire”. For this song, Meg switched over to piano, making this song all the more powerful. Her strong repetition of “better run straight at me” echoes aggressively-soft folk singers of the past.
Meg cites her musical inspirations as being her friends in Winterbloom, artists such as David Gray, and more recently Sigur Rós. She also described her song writing process as being ever-changing; especially now that she’s learned how to use Pro Tools. However, all her songs, she explained, begin with a core idea lyrically and then proceed to “grow up together” with the music.
She equated her songwriting process to painting, with her guitar and piano as her canvas. Meg describes her music as “cheerful songs about depressing topics”.
Growing up in New England, Meg found the freedom and beauty of the nature surrounding her as extreme inspiration for her music. The unstructured time she was allowed as a child motivated her songwriting and creative talent. She was able to be alone with her thoughts, which she states is where emotion and songwriting comes from.
Meg ended her in-studio session at WERS with “Yellow Room”, another song in which Meg’s piano talents and songwriting abilities are extremely apparent. Thanks to the musical community of Boston and WERS for introducing the world to Meg Hutchinson.