Alongside Kasey Musgraves and Ashley McBride, Meghan Patrick is among a handful of fiercely independent women that are blazing new trails in country music. Born and raised in Bowmanville Ontario and now residing in Nashville, Meghan has honed her singing and songwriting skills to a tee and the results are proudly on display on her latest recording, the six-song EP ‘Wild As Me’. Her music has a newfound edge to it, no doubt a result of the bold and unwavering attitude that defines her personality. “I think it’s a little intimidating to certain people who don’t know how to handle anyone who’s that assertive, much more so when it’s a woman”.
If you want to see the stuff that Meghan is made of, you need to look no further than a recent concert during which an obnoxious male hurled some lewd comments toward her. She stopped the show and had the house lights turned on, called the guy out and had him thrown out.
“I wasn’t trying to make a statement,” she says. “It was a knee-jerk reaction and it was me speaking very honestly and from the heart and it kind of blew up and became this thing that I didn’t expect. The most disturbing responses I received about the incident suggested that this is part of my job and that I was going to have to get used to it. If a woman was in a board room making a presentation and some guy yells that out, would she be told to let it roll off of her shoulders? I’m like, no, this is not in any way part of my job and no woman or man in any other profession would be told this is just part of their job.”
In addition to her two-year reign as the Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year, Meghan has been nominated for eight CCMA awards including Album of the Year nominations for both of her studio albums. She also recently received Juno Award nominations for Country Album of the Year and Breakthrough Artist. Her debut album, ‘Grace and Grit’ generated four Top 20 singles and a Top 10 hit with ‘Still Loving You’. Meghan released her sophomore album ‘Country Music Made Me Do It’ in 2018 to great fanfare. The title track and first single from the album reached the Top 5, while the third single “Walls Come Down” rocketed to the #1 spot on the country radio charts. In concert, she’s shared the stage with big-name acts like Lady Antebellum, Dwight Yoakam, Kip Moore and Martina McBride.
Meghan starts things off on Wild As Me with ‘Girls Like Me’, an absolutely defiant number in which she radiates confidence and a sense of bravado that immediately separates her from the rest of the pack. It’s important that she leads off with a song about female empowerment because women’s issues have always been very close to her heart.
“We open the show with that song so I feel that’s it’s a good introduction or reintroduction to my attitude, style and music. It’s definitely a very ‘me’ song and serves as a good introduction or reintroduction to who I am and what I believe in. I’m very supportive of anything that can further the female cause. We’re going to partner with a couple of organizations and sell limited-edition merchandise with proceeds going to women’s shelters, which have always been my charity of choice.”
Having won pretty well every country music award there is to win in this country over the last couple of years, Megan is primed to take her career to the next level. Her move to Nashville sealed the deal in terms of placing her in a perfect environment for creating the exciting new music on her EP.
“There were a few reasons I wanted to move,” Meghan explains. “As an artist, I wanted to be in the mecca of country music which is here in Nashville, where I could get more serious as a songwriter because there’s just such a great saturation of country music writers here. I was also just getting to the point where living in Canada, it became really difficult shifting gears all of the time and trying to live in two different worlds. I’d go on the road and I’d be playing shows and then I would come down to Nashville and write and then I would go home. It was feeling less and less like I fit in at home.”
Meghan co-wrote all six of the tracks, leading off with the aforementioned Girls Like Me which features her soaring vocals on top of some blazing guitar work, setting the tone for the record. The songwriting is top shelf throughout, from the no-holds-barred passion of the first single ‘Wild As Me’ to ‘Pray Right’, in which the singer tries to strike a balance between sin and salvation, to ‘Chaser’, in which Meghan metaphorically offers to quench a guy’s fire.
“Pray Right is probably the most autobiographical song I’ve ever written,” she says. “Religion wasn’t a big presence in my life when I was growing up. I never really thought about it much until I was in my mid-20’s when I was in a really dark place in my life coming out of a really bad relationship. It was the first time in my life I felt like I needed something or someone besides myself to get through it, and that’s what inspired the song.”
Meghan has been an in a happy relationship for some time now and this is perhaps the reason that the six songs tend to accentuate the positive. You won’t find any songs like ‘Walls Come Down’ or ‘The Bad Guy’ (from her last album “Country Music Made Me Do It”) in which she tackles personal demons and feelings of guilt. Maybe love songs and ballads will be her calling from now on.
“It’s funny but someone said to me ‘I’m so happy for you, he seems like such a great guy, but don’t tell me you’re losing your edge.’ I said no, I have years of toxic relationships to pull from. I think you’ll see a shift in my attitude and in my way of writing and in the content. The next EP which is planned for release six months down the road is not going to be a record of happy love songs, but there will be a definite shift in my songwriting and overall attitude.”
The melodies on Wild as Me are rooted in traditional country but there is a pop sensibility to the songs that make them very radio-friendly. “We did play around with some different vibes and different feels in all of the new songs, and although they’re still very much me we used a little more of that pop programming.” The EP was produced by Jeremy Stover, who was also behind the board for Country Music Made Me Do It.
In recent years the country charts have skewed toward male singers but Meghan appears poised to step up with the new generation of female country singers and to make her presence felt. “There comes a time when you have to stop talking about the male/female imbalance in country music. I’ve always tried to make a point of leading by example in terms of making these changes instead of talking about it. That’s how I was raised.” With her considerable songwriting skills as evidenced on Wild As Me, her magnetic stage presence and a voice that comes directly from the heart, Meghan Patrick is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Look out for Southern Ontario country-rockers Johnson’s Creek, whose six-song self-titled EP will be released October 4 with a launch party in Timmins at the Victory Tavern and October 12th at the Oshawa Corral. The EP contains their previous single ‘I Like It Dirty’, the perfect road song with enough ZZ Top guitar riffs to fill a Ford Coupe. If you need a reference point think Road Hammers combined with a little south-side seasoning from Florida Georgia Line. Open Spaces will be sitting down to talk with the boys when the EP drops.
CCMA Discovery Award winner Kalsey Kulyk has just released her self-titled debut album via all streaming platforms. Produced by Oran Thornto (Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Eric Church) Kulyk’s most recent single “Bad Liar” is one of seven tracks featured on the project, along with the nostalgia-laced first single “More Time”. With songs co-written by everyone from industry vets Liz Rose (“Tim McGraw” for Taylor Swift and Phil Barton (“Can’t Stop Loving You” for Sara Evans) to up-and-comer Lainey Wilson (“Broken Bow”), the project showcases Kulyk’s effortless vocals with a sound that draws comparisons to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
Canadian Country Music Award-winning and JUNO nominated country duo, The Reklaws, have just released their latest album, ‘Freshman Year’. The 11-song album introduces audiences to three new songs including the new single, “Old Country Soul,” along with smash hits and fan favourites like the #1 single ”Feels Like That,” “Long Live The Night” (the theme song for Thursday Night Football on TSN) and the inspirational “I Do Too,” co-written by Brad Rempel of High Valley. Freshman Year comes after a whirlwind summer for sibling singer-songwriters Stuart and Jenna Walker, who performed at festivals across Canada and supported global superstars Florida Georgia Line in June at the RBC Canadian Open in Ancaster, ON and most recently Toby Keith in Dawson Creek, BC.
by Roman Mitz for Open Spaces