Meg Baird has quite a set of pipes. On her first solo outing, Baird showcases her vocals with an accompaniment of acoustic guitar and dulcimer and a collection of traditional, covered, and original folk songs.
The album starts out with standard folk tunes, but hits its stride with a cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Do What You Gotta Do”. Next, more complex guitar and effects drive along “Riverhouse In Tinicum”, and the album peaks with the memorable track “The Waltze of The Tennis Players”.
Throughout Dear Companion, Baird evokes a feeling of the 70s; her vocals are occasionally reminiscent of Carly Simon, and something about “Sweet William and Fair Ellen” evokes Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” and “You Wear It Well”.
With “Willie O’Winsbury” Baird goes even further back in time, returning to the folk/madrigal form heard earlier in the disc and talk of dukes, knights, and serving men that’s worthy of placement at any renaissance faire.
Baird (or her producers) made a smart move by ending on an a cappella version of the title track that is striking after all the accompaniment and brings out both the sorrow of the lyrics and the superb quality of Baird’s voice.
Dear Companion dropped on 5/22/07.
You can find out more about Meg Baird and hear “The Waltze of the Tennis Players” here.