Three elements of a good listen: delightful acoustic guitar, a luscious voice, and clever songwriting.
I keep hearing people say that no one writes good songs anymore. Then, when a "good" one comes out, it gets treated like an anomaly. Well, Meg Hutchinson knows how to write a tune. The multi-talented Boston, Massachusetts entertainer has won quite a few songwriting awards, but the proof is in the music. You'll find it by listening to Come Up Full, Ms. Hutchinson's collection of organic, poetic narratives, each one communicating the singer-songwriter's keen and descriptive observations of life, love, and loss. Hutchinson puts her degree in creative writing to good use, crafting metaphors based on nature to convey the truths of her experience. She's got mountains, stars, fishing nets, birds, and feathers working on her behalf, but it never sounds trite. That's a singular feat, considering her reworking of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" that makes me forget how high the original song ranks on my list of least favorites. Her voice brings everything together, a full and smoldering instrument in the same range as Alana Davis and Norah Jones. The main nitpick is that her voice is perhaps too smooth, too controlled, and when her song describes a tumultuous emotional journey that ends in peace, the voice tends to conveys the calm without hint of the storm. She's reflective, but not always troubled, though a song like "Song for Jeffrey Lucey" and its homage to a soldier's life in the military offers plenty of opportunity to express disquietude. Or maybe it's me. Maybe I'm not accustomed to hearing someone who sounds healthy and well adjusted. I suppose that's another thing that seems out of place in the music biz.