The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Sean Rabin

AS the lead singer of Espers, Meg Baird has be­come one of the most dis­tinc­tive singers of the Amer­i­can freak folk move­ment. Dear Com­pan­ion, her first solo album, will only fur­ther this stand­ing. Through her in­clu­sion of tra­di­tional songs and cov­ers, it might in­tro­duce her to a wider au­di­ence. By hav­ing just acous­tic gui­tar or mel­low key­board as ac­com­pa­ni­ment, Baird’s beau­ti­ful voice wins cen­tre stage, and through her elo­quent de­liv­ery un­leashes an im­pres­sive range of emo­tion and tim­bre. Baird’s se­lec­tion of the ti­tle track and The Cru­elty of Bar­bary Allen shows a dis­cern­ing ear for rich, tra­di­tional sto­ry­telling. The cov­ers are equally im­pres­sive, if not eclec­tic, mov­ing from a ren­di­tion of the Jimmy Webb clas­sic Do What You Gotta Do to the star­tling in­ter­pre­ta­tion of John Daw­son’s All I Ever Wanted, a song he wrote for the de­but album by New Rid­ers of the Pur­ple Sage, a Grate­ful Dead off­shoot. Even af­ter re­peated spins the fresh­ness of Dear Com­pan­ion re­mains undi­min­ished and con­tains all the signs of be­ing a quiet clas­sic.

Dear Com­pan­ion Meg Baird Spunk/ EMI

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