Megan Reilly, Speck Mountain | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Megan Reilly, Speck Mountain Recommended Agenda Soundboard

When: Sat., June 9, 9 p.m. 2012

In the six years since Megan Reilly released her previous album, Let Your Ghost Go, she got married, had a child, and moved from New York to a bedroom community in New Jersey. She's admitted that domestic bliss has slowed down her songwriting—like so many of her peers, she's more inspired by turmoil than by contentment—but for her fine new album, The Well (Carrot Top), she's clearly learned to use her imagination when life doesn't supply enough turmoil itself. A couple of tunes celebrate motherhood—on the lovely "The Rise and Fall of Sleep" she wonders at her sleeping child—but most tackle darker subjects. Reilly softens the sting in kiss-off lines such as "I don't want to revisit your crippled heart" with a voice that's beautifully ethereal and unexpectedly strong—she sounds more than a little like Iris Dement, and in fact covers Dement's "After You're Gone." Reilly has a touch of Emmylou Harris's angelic purity too, and when she turns on the jets at the end of "Little Angel," the graceful, shimmering surface of her voice doesn't so much as crack. A Memphis native, she also brings a touch of southern-gothic darkness to "The Lady of Leitrim," a song that imagines the liberated life of a great-aunt who died by falling into the East River and drowning. For this show she's joined by the core band from The Well: drummer Steve Goulding (the Mekons, the Waco Brothers), bassist Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu), and guitarist James Mastro (the Bongos, the Health & Happiness Show). —Peter Margasak Speck Mountain opens.

Price: $8

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