One needn’t know Meg Hutchinson’s background to realize she was a creative writer well before she turned her artistic talents to folk music.
One listen to Beyond That, the latest release by the Boston-based Hutchinson, and its clear that this is a woman who knows how to spin a mysteriously compelling tale made even richer with starkly elegant arrangements. Although it’s been three years since Hutchinson’s last release, The Living Side, the artist clearly invested plenty of time and thought in crafting her most recent effort.
The singer-songwriter, who is a staple of the Boston music scene but not widely known beyond that area, recently published her first book of poetry. The sparse word play that leads readers to deep meanings in that genre of writing is apparent in both the lyrics and music on the songs of Beyond That.
Consider the title track of the album, something akin to a mix of the strong storytelling of Sarah McLachlan and some of the lush, experimental sounds of Andreas Vollenweider. There she weaves a musical soundscape around the one woman’s journey from darkness into light and her continual struggle against returning. Adding to the strength of Hutchinson’s masterful story telling and vocals are carefully woven mixtures of string and light percussion.
Perhaps one of the more striking aspects of this music is how Hutchinson toggles between the full majesty and simple starkness of the piano to underscore her reflections on songs including “Only Just Begun,” and “Making You a Place.”
Like Vollenweider, Hutchinson has created an album that stays on something of a single musical track that leads to the simple beauty of life captured in moments of time. By staying on this course, Hutchinson allows listeners a rare glimpse into a the unvarnished artistic soul, which few artists are brave enough to present.