The BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winner Megan Henwood has released her aptly named debut album ‘Making Waves’. An offering of allusive self-penned songs whose musical arrangements mirror an emotional journey of strength, strife, hope, love and despair. She demonstrates a mature view of contemporary society unafraid to question socal issues and motives. A spectacular debut!
Making Waves, the title track, is a great political cry to stop complaining, ‘get off your arse’, take some action and make waves. It’s great to see such a young singer making a bold and gutsy statement, this track alone has potential to be a collective anthem.
Her songs have a maturity which have been influenced by her own personal journeys. At 18 she paid her way through Venice, Thailand, India and Malaysia as a young troubadour playing her guitar and singing her songs. This made a lasting impression which has since led her back to the people of Nepal to record with leading Nepalese musicians Nirmal Kulu, Binod Katal and Shyram Saram Nepali.
Her songwriting is comparable to Karina Polwart, clever and scarily accurate in social observation, often touching upon aspects of life that we’d rather hide away and deny a responsibility for. Happy Healthy Boy contrasts the lives of two happy healthy men who have fallen to the depths of despair. The angst is mirrored in the music which rises to a crescendo and energetic cry of “they cry and they weep, I sadly doubt they will ever smile again.” Although the song narrates the decline of the lives of two men, you are left with the question about society’s responsibility for them.
The musical arrangements are cleverly executed and feature an array of guest musicians including Peter Knight on lead violin. Peter’s empathetic musicanship reflects a constant theme of connection between song and musical arrangement throughout the album. Its variety of colour and shades of emotion draw you in, some songs being more personal than others, reflecting love and longing (The Waiting Game) as well as the fight for personal strength (Free and Focused).
Making Waves is a clear winner in every way an album should be. Megan Henwoods songwriting skills are demonstrated to the full on every track, a stunning debut from a bright new talent!
15th July – Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury
18th July – “Society of Golden Slippers” at Blacks, Dean Street, London
24th July – Secret Garden Party, Cambridge
28th July – 12 Bar Club, Denmark Street,. London
30th July – Cambridge Folk Festival
3rd Sept – Life of Riley Festival, Marlow