Megan Wren performs at Casa Cantina on Thursday, May 10. (WOUB Public Media/Steph Cottrell)

Picking Up ‘Sympathetic Vibrations’ With Megan Wren

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In September 2008 Hurricane Ike knocked out the power at the Loveland, OH home of Megan Wren, who was only 10 years old at the time. The precocious child decided that the sudden and prolonged the lack of electricity was the perfect setting in which to pull the Toys R Us acoustic guitar she had been gifted by her grandmother out of the closet.

“Eleven year old me decided that it was just the right time to learn how to play it, and I spent two days learning it and by the end of that, I understood it really well,” said Wren, now 21 years old and a soon-to-be-senior student in Ohio University’s School of Media Arts and Studies music production program. “I could read music because of the public school music classes I had been in and pretty soon I was playing “Rockin’ Robin” and “Yankee Doodle,” and I haven’t really stopped playing guitar since then.”

(WOUB Pubic Media/Steph Cottrell)

Wren is an accomplished guitarist. Her debut EP, Sympathetic Vibrations, showcases everything from her ability to churn out pulsating grooves such as those on the sonic meditation on freedom “Lost Control,” to her capabilities to craft musically stimulating yet achingly simple tunes, like the forlorn “To Wonder Why.”

Sympathetic Vibrations was produced by Ohio University’s Eddie Ashworth, who has also been an instructor in many of Wren’s music production classes.

“Eddie (Ashworth) has largely taught me what I know about production, and I’ve done a couple different acoustic projects with him, so I’m very comfortable talking to him about production. I also have a lot of respect for his work,” said Wren. “This all started about a year and a half ago. I didn’t have a plan to be a musician or to make an album or anything, but about a year ago last April I went to Eddie and told him that I might want to record something. We met once over the summer and I played him what I had written so far, and he was like ‘okay, cool, I think there’s something there.’”

From there Wren continued to work on crafting tunes, and by the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year she had met with Ashworth once again. At that point Wren said that she felt that she didn’t quite have all the songs she wanted for a true release, so Wren and Ashworth waited until the beginning of Ohio University’s winter break to get into the studio and lay down some tracks.

Megan Wren passed out lists of the songs that she is able to perform, among them various Neil Young covers alongside Vance Joy works and much more, at Casa Cantina on Thursday, May 10. (WOUB Public Media/Steph Cottrell)

“By then I had the six songs that I wanted to record, so it was a very fast process, honestly. From the beginning of our recording sessions to release of the EP it was only five months or so,” said Wren. “I was so honored to work with Eddie (Ashworth) and to watch his process. I continued to learn from him as we were working together. The biggest thing is that he was really pushing me to be better.”

It’s worth noting that Ashworth even breaks out his mandolin on Sympathetic Vibrations, something that Wren said that she had hoped he would do from day one of recording.

Wren is relatively new to songwriting, having only been at it for about a year and a half.

“I never sit down and think ‘oh I am going to write a song,’ it’s always like there is something going on that I decide that I want to express through a song. In talking to people about my music, I always feel like a song is only about a certain situation that I experienced, but when I talk to other people about it, they always bring their interpretation to it,” she said. “I think it will be interesting to look back on the songs that I am writing now in 20 years and remember what it meant to be in the position that inspired the song, versus what it will mean to me then.”

Megan Wren will be performing at the Court Street Grill in Pomeroy, OH (112 Court Street, Pomeroy, OH) on Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m.