This is Meg Baird’s third solo album what makes Don’t Weigh Down The Light distinctive is its ethereal simplicity, the sound is contemporary but every note and tonal shape has roots in a folk tradition from now and back through the mists of time Faerie Land. Meg on the album threads a natural organic sound that almost has a stinging pain in its purity; there are allusions to the sound of nature a whale’s cry and a bird taking flight combined with emotions that are tender, sweet and deep in mystery. Her vocals have a piercing quality and weave a gentle rhythm like pure white muslin blowing in a calm and warming breeze. This is augmented by finger picking guitar work that propels you through the music woven into the musical fabric with grace and harmonies that entrances and evokes feelings of pleasure and pain.
This is an album full of symmetry and soul with the clever use of an array of sounds some even evoke the song of whale, instead of guitar breaks there are orchestrated interludes, intros and ending of piano, electric guitars, 12-string guitar and the distant and at times almost the memory of the drums beating and organs casting a tonal shadow contrasting with Megs voice and picking guitar as on the final track of the album a reprise of Past Houses leaving you full of mellow contentment.
The opening track Counterfeiters is full of guitar work that draws you into the world that Meg is creating on the album and then the ethereal tones of her voice and you sink into a feather pillow of sensitivity. The album has a flow like the ebbing and coming in of the tides on a sandy beach with the moon shimmering off the sea; the shapes and sounds never stay the same as they develop and move on. Back To You, has an urgency that the guitar picks up on while the voice explores the words.
With eleven tracks that are like shape-shifters never quite the same each time you hear them the faintness of the drum beat is an effective tour-de-force on Stars Unwinding and then the beat picks up with a folk dance tune that is almost a jig and the sun comes out from behind a cloud Good Directions is joyful almost an instrumental as the instruments rather than the voice taking centre stage.
Meg’s songwriting has a power and strength, and this ensures that Don’t Weigh Down The Light is not a piece of whimsy but full of folk exploring a lexicon of emotions through a simpler form of music; nothing is weighed down every note and word floats in a sea of tranquility.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
2. I Don’t Mind
3. Mosquito Hawks
4. Back to You
5. Past Houses
6. Leaving Song
7. Stars Unwinding
8. Good Directions
9. Don’t Weigh Down the Light
10. Even the Walls Don’t Want You to Go
11. Past Houses (Reprise)