Canadian singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell takes audiences on
a journey of self-discovery on her new recording Maps from
Nevada Records. Maps is actually used as a metaphor to represent
the various points she marks along her travels. Joined by drummer
Eric Wickman and featuring an assortment of talent that includes
Jim Sexton on acoustic bass, Brenna McLane on viola,
and Roslyn Green on acoustic guitar, among others. Maps
is clad in ambient pop rivulets complemented by folk-inspired acoustics
emblematic of Alison Krauss.
The merry-go-round tempo of the piano chords in "South Korea"
are garnished sporadically in wisps of swirling strings. The malleable
turns in Bonnell's vocals are reminiscent of Hem's Sally
Ellyson as she reflects, "South Korea / You take what I love
/ The North has done to you / What you did to my heart." The
smoky embers of "Lowell, MA" are fueled by Bonnell's soft
trotting keys and the funeral march rhythm of the drumbeats as she
describes, "Your beauty preserved in a picture / That's framed
and polished by his bed / Where you wrote letters to his children
/ Telling them of the country he once fled / He died so you could
live in peace."
The overall mood of the 4-track EP is somber and reflective as a
gentle drizzle of keys is made filament by Wickman's mallet-toned
beats and beaded in willowy strings through the title track. The album's
strongest track "Lake Superior" is barged by gently pressed
keys which swift dramatically into bold strokes and vibrating drumbeats.
The shift in dynamics brings out Bonnell's ability to adapt to conditions
outside of her comfort zone of piano ballads.
Megan Bonnell's vocals have all the beauty and elegance that the
public has come to equate with female lead singers and the mettle
to withstand changes in the dynamics of the music. Her songs are likeable
without bending over into commercial-driven pop. Maps is the
follow up to her self-titled debut digital release in 2010, and weaves
human drama into geographical destinations with the finesse of a seasoned
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