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Who Is Megan Pugh And Why Am I Saying These Wonderful Things About Her?

Megan Pugh: a new songwriter makes her point





















Margaret Mullen is an old friend of mine who got married, disappeared into the wilds of Atlanta, Ga, and returned with her family to the area a little while ago. I am going to see Taylor Swift with her and her kids next week.

Last week she asked me to listen one of her friends daughters, Megan Pugh’s, songs on Soundcloud. It happens from time to time and I can’t remember ever saying a negative word, people need reinforcement when they head out on what has every chance on earth to be a disastrous adventure into the world of show business. If you want to know what show biz can do to you have a word with Cheri Dahl -she will set you straight.

However, I completely forgot until halfway through the holiday and my loss because these song soon took over my listening once I paid attention. I listened and I never ever lie in my opinion, even if I don’t always tell the whole the truth.

This time I am going to tell the whole truth: Megan Pugh’s four songs on Soundcloud are all excellent and ” Last Cigarette” is more than that. Some people can write songs, Megan Pugh is one of those people. Her voice isn’t particularly strong, but it has a nice texture and there is an accent to the songs, it isn’t really singer songwriterly, it is more aggressively neutral than that: there is a sadness but also a bloodymindedness. Given that these are all piano based ballads, the voice does the most important thing it can do, it keeps you listening to what are demos.But on some level these are real demos, perhaps the songs are confessionals but they don’t come across that way; they are open for other performers to interpret; she she skips the telling detail, in a lyrical sense, the songs are airy.

Somebody somewhere complained that one of her songs is simple. Nonsense. The songs are exactly what they need to be for the songs that they are. But the piano playing uses single notes to make their point. I think her piano playing on “Before I Shut This Door” -a Carole King type ballad that sounds like it jumped off Tapestry and into your lap, is simple in the best way imaginable. If you think this is simplistic I recommend you listen to King’s The Legendary Demo‘s, then come back at me with such rubbish. Listen to the demo of “Way Over Yonder”. Incidentally, Pugh’s decision on her piano playing is self-evidently one of utility, listen to the break on “Last Cigarette” -quasi-classical the way Elton John can be quasi-classical.

The song writing isn’t simple or complicated, the arrangements are simple, they are crystal clear so that you can hear them very easily and they stand up to a performance where every thing is there so you can hear the songs. Of the four only “Give Into Me” is a bummer but that is simply a question of arrangement. Pugh misjudges her subject matter and deadens her song with the tempo (actually, Pugh informs me it is a cover of a Faith Hill song. I just gave a spin to Leighton and Garrett’s version from the execrable “Country Song”  and it is quite pretty but a little boring) .   The other three are simply superb. “Before I Shut This Door” is a mutation  away from Katy Perry on way side and Miranda Lambert on the other,  the pace is brisk and the bridge is excellent. Her lyrics are the usual romantic up and downs, but Pugh always manages to flip a cliche or smarten out a POV till the angle becomes a little distorted.

“Last Cigarette” is the best of the lot, the melody is clear and strong and the chorus is magnificent, adult, troubling. The piano break works great for an album cut and easy to cut out for a single and the idea is haunting and perfect. Suicidal? Bad news? A deep depression that slows like a heart beat. “Good Day” needs a tweak and if I was shopping the songs I would probably shop “Before I Close The Door” -it has the prosody of country: plain speak the way the South tends to want their songs.

So who is Megan Pugh? I really don’t know much. She was living in Nashville and then moved East where she stopped writing for awhile -these songs date from a year ago. That’s about it. If she pursues a career and gets lucky, you will hear from her, if you don’t…  enjoy this first rate songwriter anyway.  Here’s the link, she has the first four songs.

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