Megon McDonough

In the Megan Manner

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The packaging of Megan McDonough's first album was guilefully artless. A faded sepia photograph depicted a forlorn Ms McDonough strumming her guitar in the shade of a tree, face half-obscured by a curtain of center-parted hair. If that wasn't enough to indicate to the public that McDonough was an oh-so deeply sensitive singer/songwriter type, then the tactic of printing the lyrics over the image surely was. The actual music does live up to the styling, though. In The Megan Manner spotlights McDonough's beautifully fluid, supple soprano, and her songwriting - by no means staggering at this point - is listenable and competitive, weaving together elements of folk and gospel-tinged rock. The lyrics are mainly typical mellow-speak fluff: "Pocketful" is characteristic: "With hot summer days/ cold autumn haze/ Moon shine winter ways/ in all this time won't you stay". Er, yeah. Her ballads, "On the Shores of Your Tomorrow" and "Song Without A Story" in particular, have a tendency to go on too long, without hooks strong enough to support such an indulgence. "Kevin Jane" - a lovely tribute to a dead sibling - is an exception. Other cuts are notable for their peculiarity: the greasy, rocking "Guitar Picker" sounds like it's stumbled in from someone else's album, while "Room and Board" is moderately rousing Jesus rock. Throughout, McDonough accompanies herself on piano (not guitar, as implied by the cover), supported by Larry Carlton and "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow amongst others.

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