Think about the country.
Plains that go on forever in all directions.
That’s where Megan Nash comes from; that was her childhood. And she found a piece of that over the summer time, in Palmer Saskatchewan.
“It’s absolutely breathtaking out here, the view,” says Nash. “There’s nothing in the way to see the sunset. So that’s definitely inspired my lyrics as well.”
The Saskatchewan-born singer/songwriter with a voice that’s way bigger than most people’s grew up in a place like that, on a farm wedged between a hamlet and a town. And it was there, as a child, where she always felt most inspired, trudging through patches of field or watching a Saskatchewan twilight.
Her last album was a digital EP called She Said, She Said, a three-song jaunt released in September 2013, which she went on to share with many across the province. But after visiting the Palmer Church for a show, her songwriting went into overdrive.
It was sense of community within the town and the strange energy which seemed to exist within the church walls that did it for her. So at the tail-end of springtime, she’d return to Palmer once again to make it her new home.
She now spends most of her time in the 100-yearold church, which stopped being a place of worship in the ‘70s and became a place for community gatherings and live shows instead.
“I’ve talked to people who used to attend this church and they love what’s been done to it and how it’s being used now,” she says. “It’s a rural church that is still active in a sense. There are still people paying attention to it, loving it.”
So is she. Every day and many nights over the summertime, Nash spent countless hours within the church with a guitar in hand, soaking in the inspiration, practicing her guitar skills and writing the lyrics for her new album, Song Harvest Volume 1, due for release sometime in the new year.
“With this album I really wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone, really wanted to,” she says, and that the isolation helps not only as an incentive to continue playing, but serves as an emotional conductor for her lyrics.
“What draws me to the prairies is that feeling of vulnerability,” says Nash. “There are no trees to protect you. You’re just out there against the elements. You feel that breeze, you feel that wind.”
The church has become important to her and so has the land surrounding it. It’s a place of isolation and solitude, but it also reminds her of her childhood. That hodgepodge of nostalgia and raw feeling are coming together to make for a real human element to the songs she’s recorded for Song Harvest.
“It was really important for this album to feel live off the floor, no overdubs and what you hear is what I’m capable of,” says Nash. “And sure it’s flawed, but it’s real ... A raw, human element is OK, it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
Couple that with the fact that she recorded her album in the church as well and people can expect a live, off the floor feel, with all the beautiful imperfections that come with that style of recording.
“With this album I really wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone,” she says and that should show in the lyrics she’s written in the Palmer Church. They’re honest ones, touching on those feelings of vulnerability and isolation one gets while living in a hamlet on the prairies. Solitude can be an incredibly inspiring thing, says Nash, especially in such a beautiful place – but it also comes with a darker side; a lonely side.
“I think about being honest with your state of mind and not sugar coating it if you’re feeling a little bit extreme,” says Nash. “Just writing about it, I didn’t sugar coat anything.”
Nash will be performing many of those new songs at The Root: Community Emporium Nov. 13, right on the heels of a summer that changed everything for her musically.
“It was one of the most inspiring summers of my life,” she says. “It just came to me and I feel really grateful for it and I wanted to document that there.”
She’ll be sharing the evening with Kevin Roy with shows to start at 8 p.m. Tickets at $10 at the door.