Sometimes it takes me awhile to find the words for a piece. This was one of those times. You never know what barriers will get in the way of writing and this particular week I had to clear my head of some fairly heavy stuff in order to do justice to the intangibly charming Megan Nash and her performance, even more so her presence.
It is safe to say that this show had been one of the most anticipated on the entire year’s lineup for the venue. From the first time venue owner Shirley de Vooght heard her voice, she knew Megan Nash was something special. Shirley has developed such a tuned ear to talent over the years that when she gets as excited as she was about Nash, I tend to take notice rather quickly.
The few live videos I found online solidified a reason to be intensely intrigued by this singer/songwriter from Saskatchewan, as I anticipated the energy that could be created with her voice in our listening room.
Yet, nothing could have prepared us for what we got. In the flesh, I took one look at her and felt like I was meeting some reincarnated modern day version of Judy Garland. She was breathtaking. Her voice when greeting the audience was smooth and husky as her words rolled off her tongue like honey and her big dark eyes encapsulated your entire self. Even the way in which she carried herself on stage gave an ode to Garland’s almost purposeful awkwardness credited to housing a talent so huge you can almost sense the constant internal management of its power. This was exemplified in the detailed stories Nash told throughout the evening that were one part stand-up act and another part soul food. The intricacies of her memories, the ways in which she wove together the tapestry of her life in tales of woe, weirdness and wishes was outstanding. Her words ran on as she layered one account on top of another as we sat transfixed both in curiosity of this celestial being before us or doubled over in laughter at her sense of timing and vulnerable wit.
But the pièce de résistance was her voice. A voice that rivals most that have graced this stage before her. A range that both shocked and soothed one’s system. There were moments where she would hit a particular note and the impact was immediate. It shot right to your core and forced you to lean in to it, to feel its weight on your own heart.
Inspired by everything from her grandfather to an endearing odd neighbour and lovers both safe and dangerous, her songs paint a picture of a life lived to the fullest, capturing snapshots of intensity and lightheartedness. Megan Nash is an artist whose own stripped down simplicity is not so simple at all, but rather reveals a deeply vibrant individual who inhabits an ability to reflect on her own life and life itself through her music.
I sat in the front row for this particular show which I rarely do, a choice made by my friend who was with me. Following the first set, Nash finished her song and immediately took a seat on the edge of the stage and started talking to us. This was a first. Admittedly, my girlfriend does possess a unique magnetic pull that I have yet to see many people immune to, however Nash’s energy was equally matched and for the next 20 minutes I sat back and witnessed their instant connection and enthralling conversation about astrology, a topic that continued late into the evening after the show among a handful of us who remained to draw deeper into relationship through storytelling.
Above all else, Megan Nash cultivated an evening brimming with connection, a philosophy reflected in her conscious choice to tour small venues in rural communities and to live and record her music in the self-described tiny hamlet of Palmer, Saskatchewan. As a songwriter and performer, Nash’s ability to cast a hypnotic spell on listeners continues to grow across the country solidifying an artistic trajectory that knows no limits.
Choice tracks off her 2015 LP Song Harvest Volume One: “Start of Something”: An accurate portrayal of that initial spark between two people that has the potential to ignite a great and powerful love; “Matchbox Baby”: The whimsical lyrics of this tune had me hooked right from the start, the chorus is extra sweet; “Wait”: A roughed up rock track that digs its nails into the grungy side of relationships.
Megan Nash performed at Serenity Performing Arts Centre on February 24, 2017.
She is currently wrapping up her month long tour of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Next up is an album fundraiser show with her new backing band Bears in Hazenmore on April 1 in Moose Jaw at Chiller’s Brew Pub.
Visit www.megannash.ca for links to music downloads, social media feeds and more.
Photos courtesy of Shirley de Vooght.