Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Nick Krill and Jon Low
The first thing that we'd like to say is, "Kill the lights. Kill them all good and dead. Make sure that none of them are speaking or shining in the very least. We just cannot have any candescence meddling with the eyes and the mood." Meg Baird and her music seem to demand this. When you hear a chip crunch or a twig snap in the middle of a song, it could just as easily be a semi tractor trailer dropped from the top of a mountain onto the hardest surface, surrounded by the quietest atmosphere imaginable. The clatter would make everyone deaf for weeks. We'd all start to wonder if we were ever going to hear anything ever again. Baird, the Philadelphia-living songwriter and part of the magical Espers crew, treads lightly, making us lean in closely and it's as if we can hear a faint taste of wintergreen coming off her words. They sound like evergreens stretching from the dark brown soil, reaching to make a canopy above the tiny spot where the seed was pushed down into the dirt and directed to find water, sunlight and create roots. You can almost feel the bark stretch from its young and soft trunk into a sturdy piece of wood that begs to have lovers take knives to its ribs and carve their initials into them, believing that the tree will hold those letters and that seeming union forever more, never betraying that act. These four songs were taped on a cold, cold winter's night back in January of 2009, in Philadelphia - the last session of a three-day period at Miner Street. We'd tried to reach Meg for a few days and finally heard back from her that morning that she could pay us a visit when she was finished with work that afternoon. It was near the evening news time and her bare and heart-felt words were the ideal ending to a week of whirlwind activity and being relatively frozen most every moment as the Philadelphia Eagles were still alive and those in the city were still hating the conditions, with flurries and blue-knuckled temperatures keeping everyone out-of-doors muttering up storms. Baird whispers her words as if her mouth were full of down feathers, sending them out lightly as if she hopes that nothing will be harmed because of her doing so or from any sort of domino effect that any of those feathers might have henceforth. She sings of broken hearts the way that you would in a mulled over manner, as if the sharpness and the stinging have been worn down so much that it's all just a matter of fact now. We aren't being scalded or exposed any longer. The brokenness is just a small remainder of ribbons and dried tears, half-forgotten and half-remembered. These are the collectibles that Baird seems to keep in her songs - striking and honest, bare and robust as they curl with us, into our arms and wipe the sadness that they can see, away from our eyes.
Meg Baird Official Site
Drag City Records