Athens, OH based singer-songwriter Megan Bee is no stranger to the road. Frequenting the highways and byways of America with songs in hand, Bee’s work has been well received, earning her The Ohio Music Awards Best Americana and Best Singer-Songwriter Album in 2017 and finalist spot in the 2018 USA Songwriting Competition. This year Bee has recorded her third release, an intimately recorded, simply produced record titled Waiting.
Bee’s storied past is what gives her songs the depth and understanding that brings them to life – she’s worked as an environmental educator and traveling farmhand, and has also spent time as a self-proclaimed vagabond. We find slices from these many lives that Bee has lived on this record. Waiting is a beautifully straightforward telling of Americana stories, tied together by ethereal, intimate vocals and no-nonsense production, where the lyrics are regularly the stars of the show.
The album opens with Middle of the Morning, a soft and slow ballad that immediately introduces us to Bee’s skillful lyrical ability. Her delicate voice serenades us:
“The sun is shining off a glisten of last night’s rain
The whistle’s blowing in the heart of a distant train
Little reminders that the world’s gonna keep on turning
I might find forgiveness in the middle of the morning”
Back Home Again has a slight uptempo feel, and at first, it seems the homecoming being sung about could be a happy one. But at the very last set of lines, we have the rug pulled out from under us – the journey exists to bring the ashes of her father back home. The lyrics build up this unexpected ending in such a way that it leaves the listener reeling, and it’s an excellent showcase of Bee’s storytelling ability.
Take Your Time is a soulful and sweet number that plants the listener’s feet firmly in a summer’s afternoon. Bee sings of timeless symbols of carefree, warm weather adventures alongside a lover:
“We got a hammock hanging in the shade
We’ve got some ice and some lemonade
We’ve got each other, we’ve got no place else to be
Take your time, take your time with me”
The phrasing is instantly relatable, leaving just enough room for the listener to imagine themselves in Bee’s shoes.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Any musician who’s spent any time on the road knows that there are as many characters out there as there are miles. Rock & Roll beautifully illustrates Bee’s encounter and following relationship with one such character. There is no filler in the lyrics of this song – every single line directly ads to the picture being painted of a desert-dwelling, tobacco-smoking, scrabble-playing man of many colors. Bee’s voice is delicate and sincere as she sings:
“For ten years I’d stop and visit that man, I’d sing him a song, I’d lend him a hand
He’d tell me a story, he’d write me a limerick, his mind was sharp but his body was sick
He said ‘I’m drinking myself right out of my liver, hell I smoked myself right out of my gizzard, girl someday you’ll come back and I’ll have to go.'”
Lyrically brilliant and musically delicate. Megan Bee’s voice is like a gentle beacon for her stories, a steady light beaming expertly crafted songs into the world. The uncluttered, simplistic production leaves ample room for her colorful and emotive lyrics to shine. Waiting is wonderfully uncomplicated, genuinely soulful, and as storied as its creator – a true masterpiece that showcases stellar Bee’s songwriting skills phenomenally. Check out Waiting below.
Alison Kraus meets Caroline Spence.
BELOW: Listen to her album Waiting and connect with her website and social media platforms. Please support Megan Bee by visiting her online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing her music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
(Want to have your music reviewed on The Ark of Music? Click HERE.)