Megan O’Neill has a new single and there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. On the surface we find a song that sounds like a classic country song about finding yourself feeling rootless away from home. With soaring vocals, a backdrop of banjo and distinctive guitar, this song seems set to play well with both country fans and Americana fans alike. But, when you examine this song a little more deeply, it’s not hard to see why Megan has released this as a single ahead of next year’s new album follow up to the outstanding ‘Ghost of You’ which hit #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts in the U.K. and Ireland.
‘Rootless’ will release on October 25 and is produced by collaborators The Dunwells. It’s not difficult to hear their influence tonally but it’s Megan’s vocals that set this apart living up to her erstwhile tag of “Ireland’s Carrie Underwood”. Moving effortlessly from reflection to soaring long notes it feels like this is a real step up for the singer boding well for next year’s full album release. It’s time to sit up and take notice of a singer that goes from strength to strength.
There’s explanation for the depth of feeling here with the journey the singer has made this year, musically, physically and emotionally. This new album and its production was supposed to be funded by a campaign on Pledge Music and, after appealing to an ever growing fan base, the required funding was completed. Fans were happy and excited to put their money where there support was. Then, tragically, Pledge Music went into receivership taking Megan’s funding with it. The social media reaction made it clear that her pledgers were distraught. Not about the loss of money but for the loss of the help this singer deserved. Megan simply refused to revisit her fans for more support and felt the loss keenly. Many artists would have folded but Megan took inspiration from the outpouring of support and regrouped. Then, during the Summer, Megan went on a journey of discovery when she got the opportunity to walk the Camino de Santiago. It seems it was this walk that heralded an almost spiritual musical and emotional regrouping and enabled Megan, phoenix like, to emerge from the crushing disappointment of the Pledge Music disaster. On her return she has embarked on a series of support gigs with the legendary Sir Tom Jones and finished the recording of her new album.
Far from being rootless, this journey has put Megan O’Neill in a place where she feels her roots very strongly indeed, and this is something that comes through every note of this excellent new release. Megan says,
“I think we can all relate to the feeling of sometimes wanting to pack a bag and run away and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need that escape from reality and everyday life.” But she’s keen to say, “I love Ireland and I do feel a strong connection with it on every level – especially as I’ve gotten older”.
The song comes out this week and I encourage country, Americana and music fans in general to seek it out and listen to the sound of a young singer who continues to release quality music. Personally, I can’t wait for the album!