Interview: Meg Baird

Cover Photo Credit: Rachael Cassels

Californian folk musician Meg Baird is back with her first solo album in seven years. We talked to Baird on the spacey and magnificent Furling, which released last January via Drag City records.

How are you doing these days, Meg?

Hanging in there. Sleeping, waking, hopeful, nervous, being brave. Enjoying those small wonderful moments in between. Trying to be helpful. How are you? Thank you for asking.

Doing good. Furling is your first new solo record for a while, and it certainly includes new musical directions for you. In what ways do you think you have developed as an individual and an artist in this record?

Solo records have an uncanny way of containing the years they’re thought about and made. The last seven certainly contained a great deal of macro and micro reckoning. Physical and emotional jetsam both. With Furling I was more free, more of a collagist, less precious about borders and sources. I was far more upfront about being “my own band,” my own arranger and creating my own musical space. However, I really don’t want anyone to have to think about or deal with me that literally as a character when listening and having their own experience with the record. I’m trying to make a world, not a biography.

Can you describe the physical recording process with three key moments that come to your mind?

This recording was very charged, like a dream. Entire studios to Charlie, myself and a wonderful engineer (Tim Green at his Louder Studios in Grass Valley, CA, and the spectacular Panoramic Studio with Jason Quever). I remember recording the improvised vocals to “Ashes, Ashes” to a sweeping Pacific Sunset. I remember warm, sunny mornings alone in Tim’s studio space with all of that alone time and space to work on arranging before recording started. My brain worked so much better. I remember all of that time at those wonderful beater Victorian box grand pianos. I remember working on the first rough mixes of “Star Hill Song” in the control room at Louder. There was a moment of feeling like we were heading too far into Paisley Underground, but the tragic news of David Roback’s passing had just come and it felt right to fully celebrate those wondrous influences in a very pure and reverential way.

If you were to handpick the easiest and hardest songs to write and record for this album, which two would you pick?

The easiest was “Will You Follow Me Home?” and the hardest was “Cross Bay.”

How would you describe each of your albums so far in single words?

Dear Companion – Spring

Seasons on Earth – Calling in

Don’t Weight Down the Light – Beams

Furling – Voyage

A quick game, no cheating: Reply with the three most recently streamed songs from your library.

Ah! I’ve been remote collaborating with my sister Laura on a playlist of a song with a certain tempo and feel that seems to get my mother moving and dancing.

“Ram On” Paul McCartney

“All We Have Broken Shines” Brightblack Morning Light

“The Moon of Manakoora” Les Paul, Mary Ford

If you had a chance to carve one of your lyrics to your memorial stone 100 years from now, what would you choose?

“Oh but how I still love all the things I’ve ever loved”

You can check out Meg Baird’s Bandcamp profile here.