New York born but now Austin based after stints in Hawaii and North Carolina, singer-songwriter Megan Flechaus has just come out with her new album, called surprisingly New. It’s independently released, so your best bet to find it will be at her shows or via the internet.
I can honestly say that I was unaware of her or her angelic voice prior to receiving a copy of the new album. She does have one other title available, and I think I will have to pick up a copy just to see if her voice was as good on that one as it is on the new album.
I don’t have all the info I usually like to impart here, but I do think that Flechaus wrote all of the songs on the album as she is a prolific songwriter.
Southbound-81 starts the album off quietly. I’ve been listening to a number of harder edged blues albums lately, so finding a more sedate roots-Americana album is a nice change of pace. Already I can hear influences from the world of jazz and even some of my favorite Celtic singers. This is going to be an interesting journey.
Some sweet harmonica opens the next song, Open Road. A title like that is pure America – the road that lays open before us, the journey that takes us through the country and through our own life. I like her approach, and her lyrics are solid.
Don't Forget Tonight follows up and stays low key. She works primarily with guitar, and of course harmonica on the previous song, and they frame her voice beautifully. The lightness in her voice (I mean the tone, she has a strong, expressive voice) is a delight to hear, and any fans of folk will find her to be a great addition to their library.
The next song Muse, explores those persons in our life that we can’t get along without. Whether they are benefactors, lovers, or whatever, they belong to our life and inspire us to do the things we do.
There’s a nice piano introduction to Humble Me, and her voice soars beautifully over it. Flechaus has kept her orchestrations simple and easy to reproduce and that has been to her benefit. It keeps the focus on the real star of the album, her voice.
The Expanse opens with some very strong imagery in the lyrics. This one has a stronger beat to it, adding a new dimension to her songs. It’s a good song and shows that she’s got a few more tricks up her sleeve.
She brings the piano back for When Lost. She reminds me of Sara Bareilles when she uses the piano. Both have soft voices that can become sharp when necessary and both use pointed lyrics to express themselves. Bareilles is more tuned in to what the public will buy, but give Flechaus a little time and she’ll be right there.
The guitar is back for Consequences. While she sounds good with either instrument as the lead, I think I am responding more to the ones in which she employs the piano. To me it seems it adds a deeper richness to the performance. However, she does use the guitar nicely and it is good for a very intimate setting when she’s playing live.
She’s got a little playful beat behind Cat And Mouse. I don’t think this is a Tom and Jerry kind of thing, but she uses the song to put her foot down in a nice way. It’s a quick number and gets her point across with no room for question.
She uses the piano to set the mood for Seek And Pay. Her voice trembles slightly and she is exposed, vulnerable as she shares her pain through song. It’s a lush song that just could be my favorite on the album.
Another quick number, Life Is Not Glass, follows. It’s poetic, lyrical, and her voice is wonderful to hear. The title track, New, is next. The piano opens the song so sweetly, her voice is almost a lullaby. The simple music works so well, and her voice is especially emotive and expressive on this number. Beautiful.
She concludes the album with Crumble. Unfortunately, I only got to hear a small portion of the song due to a glitch in my computer that cut the song off prematurely. What I heard before it cut off sounded consistent with the excellent music on the previous tracts. I’ll have to get a new copy and update this portion of the review later…
Digging a little deeper into Flechaus’ life story, I see that she was an astronomy student in Hilo, Hawaii. I, too, was a student of the celestial sciences and have had the chance to work with a number of well-known astronomers. Let me tell you, I have yet to meet any that could sing like she does.
If you like the folk, roots, Americana style of music (and I do), you just might enjoy New a lot. Check her out at her website: http://meganflechaus.com/ and you too, might just discover a star.