Meghan Morrison-Takes A Walk On The Dark Side

Meghan Morrison 1

By Lenny Stoute

She may look like the poster girl for sensitive indie chicks but Meghan Morrison is all that and a savvy business head. Which means her chances of survival are that much better that if she was a pure artiste and the lady is well aware of how it is.

As she says on her website:” Branded. I am now a commercial commodity; a product. Hard things to come to terms with as an artist whose music, regardless of its form, is meant to be the product, not the person. Today, however, the artists themselves are so salient in this industry (facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.) that the person creating the art also needs to be relate-able outside of their music in order for people to really pay attention”.

And pay attention they should to the work of this refugee from picture postcard St. Margaret’s’ Bay, a hoot’n’holler from Peggy’s Cove, now transplanted to the T.Dot, East Coast sensibilities intact.

Morrison made the traditional trek from the East Coast to Toronto in full dream chaser mode, but with a Masters in Health Sciences, a useful discipline in coping with the rigours of touring and keeping the voice in shape.

“ Upon graduation there were expectations I would get a real job. I’d been writing and playing a bit but came to the point where I had to decide to go for the music or the academia; I realised I didn’t want to just dabble with the music anymore. So I made the decision to go full time with the music last year, give it all I’ve got. I know I can always go back and get the PHD, that’s not a problem.”

Busy cobbling together tunes with a vague idea of an album, Meghan was invited to a wedding down east and that ignited the idea to play her way down there and create the accompanying album, titled Dara’s Wedding Tour Souvenir CD.
“ The tour was to the finance my trip back home to Nova Scotia for my cousin Dara’s wedding. It was hastily flung together, helter skelter and full of experiences to reflect on”.

The most harrowing met up with Meghan on the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton, part of her tour itinerary. Unbeknownst to her, she was following the ill-fated footsteps of another Toronto female singer Taylor Mitchell, mauled to death by coyotes on that very trail but a short time before Morrison entered the area.

“It was unbelievable weird. As it unfolded I found more and more parallels between she and I, all the way down to the long brown hair, touring the East coast solo, following the same route. It got a little hairy after that; ok, it totally freaked me. Only the good audience reactions and my determination to see it through kept me going. In the end Taylor Mitchell became an inspiration and I’m currently writing a song for her”.
Which turns the talk naturally to the soon come sophomore album Statue Woman. Still in the shaping stage, Morrison avers it’s painted in darker and weirder tones than previous material. Since that’s been described as “Alanis In Wonderland having tea with Charles Dickens and The Cranberries”, I can’t wait for the lady to expound on the deep weirdness lurking behind her sunshine ‘n’lollipops speaking voice.
“ The killing of Taylor Mitchell was only the most unexpected of the many personal experiences which precipitated the obvious changes you’ll hear on Statue Woman.

“Ever notice how few statues there are of women? I’m interested in how stuff like that impacts society as a whole. The process of taking that universal and applying the personal layers was the starting point for the album but then it spun out from there. It’s lot less poppy than the first; I found I had things to say that didn’t fit best within the pop space. I experimented with sound more; there are more varied texture and more effects. Overall, the sound is more eclectic.

“ The tone is darker because I’ve grown as a songwriter, I have more that I want to say and it’s more nuanced. To me dark doesn’t necessarily mean evil or even complicated. It’s more about ambiguity and the tension between the artist and the material out of which a lot of creativity comes”,

She’s not kidding and doesn’t miss a beat when I mention the contrasting dynamic between darker tones and sweet inflections. That’s part of what makes her music go round, see, and she reckons to be up for doing it live.

“It’s gonna be all new stuff, some of which may or may not get on the album. It’s my first show with a full band”, says Morrison, who plays keys and bass. “Even though we’re only on for half an hour, it’s gonna be full on rock'n'roll. It’s gonna be awesome”.

The awesomeness is upon us at The Horseshoe August 31st, 11:30pm sharp for a 30 minute set.

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