Suggested Listening: Megan Bee

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It’s that time of year again! WOUB Culture has reached out to a variety of folks involved in various capacities with the music and arts throughout WOUB’s diverse coverage region to inquire: “what have you been listening to this year, my friend?” Find their answers on WOUB Culture all throughout the month of December. 

A promotional image for singer-songwroter Megan Bee. She is in a field holding a guitar.

Singer-songwriter Megan Bee’s lyrics are woven with imagery and metaphor from the natural world.  She bases out of the rolling hills of Athens, Ohio and is influenced by the collision of Appalachian folk and modern songwriting. No Depression magazine said of her fourth studio album Cottonwood, “No one has a greater sense of place than Bee…14 superb vignettes sung in an unforgettable quiver of a voice.” 

Upcoming Show: Eclipse Company Store on Saturday December 3 at 6 p.m. with Ben Gage. 

This year I realized how much being able to see live music really influences my music selections. In the previous couple of years when concerts were still hit or miss or just plain canceled, I found myself diving into old familiar tunes while missing out on new releases. Live music really opened up this year, and it affected my exposure to new music. Here are some albums I’ve been enjoying this year. Most of them are artists I’ve enjoyed seeing live, and a couple are one’s I hope to see live someday.  

Brett Dennen – “See The World” (2021)

I stumbled upon a Brett Dennen concert by accident in Asheville,NC this year and became a fan out on the dance floor. His messages are incredibly positive and the folk-pop grooves are very danceable. I know he has been around a while, but I’m just catching up. “See The World” is a beautiful wish to the young, and “Junk Life” encourages us all to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Patty Griffin – “Tape” (2022)

Patty Griffin is one of my favorite writers of all time. I had the pleasure of seeing her in concert at Stuart’s Opera House this year. “Tape” is a collection of older previously unreleased songs. They are raw demos and home recordings. Listening feels like I’m in the room with her. It’s that close.

Madison Cunningham – “Revealer” (2022)

I had just been catching up on Madison Cunningham’s back catalog this year when she went and released another album. I like the folk, rock, and blues influence with her fuzzy and intricate guitar over emotive and strong vocals. Her lyrics are colorful and sharp.

Bruce Dalzell – “Kiss of the Muse” (2022)

Local legend, prolific writer, and all around good guy Bruce Dalzell released a new album this year. It’s full of strong images, straightforward production, and honest lyrics. I especially love the reminiscing in “Belong” and the saucy sensuality in “Honey.”

Matt Fockler – “self-titled” (2022)

When I first heard this album I listened to it several times in a row. The lyrics are clever and grabbing with a very rusty, gritty, and vulnerable delivery. Matt is based in Montrose, SD and does tile and other building projects. The hands-on approach to building comes though in the way he puts his lyrics together.

Ben Gage – “Cuyahoga EP” (2022) “Now You Know” (2021)

Akron, OH singer-songwriter Ben Gage put out an EP this year to follow his album “Now You Know” from last year. I got to meet Ben at the Midwest Folk Alliance conference this year, and I was moved by his easy stage presence and thoughtful lyrics. Both albums feature smooth vocals and guitar playing that tell stories of both home and running away all colored by the tangible backdrop of Ohio’s Rust Belt.

Linden Thoburn – “The Sun Comes Shining Through” (2022)

I also met Linden at the Folk Alliance Conference in Chicago this year. We bonded over our shared love of the outdoors and our dislike of hotels. We swapped CDs, and it has been in my van CD player since. It’s a beautiful journey full of hope and tangible images.

S.G. Goodman – “Teeth Marks” (2022)

I’m so thankful for the return of the Nelsonville Music Festival this year and that it introduced me to S.G. Goodman’s music. “Teeth Marks” is such a smooth, spacey, and sometimes heavy portrait of small town life in the south. Themes of the opioid epidemic come through on songs like “If You Were Someone I Loved” and anti-capitalist vibes come through a catchy rhythm on “Work Until I Die.” Goodman’s vocals are uniquely expressive and emotive.

Bela Fleck – “My Bluegrass Heart” (2021)

I had the pleasure of catching Bela Fleck at People’s Bank Theatre in Marietta this summer. The collection of musicians he put together for his show and for this album is off the charts. There is just an incredible amount of talent here. The album is phenomenal. I like to put it on for long drives and house cleaning. It’s full of lots of energy!