Meg Hutchinson is a nationally touring songwriter, poet and recording artist on Red House Records. She has released nine albums and won numerous songwriting awards in the US, Ireland and the UK, including recognition from the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Billboard Song Contest and prestigious competitions at Merlefest, NewSong, Kerrville, Telluride and Rocky Mountain.
She has been described as delivering “Music as powerful as it is gentle.” Performer Magazine writes, “With a poet’s eye, Hutchinson captures so beautifully that human journey toward peace, toward forgiveness, toward acceptance.”
In recent years, as a result of the messages in her songwriting and her dedication to mental health literacy, Meg has increasingly been asked to be a keynote speaker at universities, conferences and teaching hospitals around the country. She joined the Active Minds Speakers Bureau in 2014, working together to change the conversation about mental health at colleges nationwide. Meg is currently a Dean’s Fellow in the Master of Divinity program at Boston University School of Theology, training to become an interfaith hospital chaplain. She will begin her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in September 2018.
Hutchinson’s most recent album “How Many Miles” is an intimate collection of live recordings spanning fifteen years of her career. Together with audio engineer Keith Richardson, Meg chose thirty-two songs and three poems that tell the story of some of the most challenging and beautiful years of her life.
PACK UP YOUR SORROWS – a feature length documentary released in 2015 on Ezzie Films/Bluestar Media – is told through the lens of Meg’s personal story of living with Bipolar disorder and includes interviews with leading psychologists, neuroscientists, authors, historians and spiritual teachers. It explores many of the topics nearest and dearest to her heart: creativity, healing, mindfulness in education, mental health advocacy, wellness, and how these elements converge in making the world a better place. Check the website for screenings. Read more about the film here Pack Up Your Sorrows
In her 2013 album, BEYOND THAT( Red House Records) Hutchinson teamed up once again with veteran Boston producer Crit Harmon for what is her most modern and intricate production to date.
She says “Crit and I have worked together for a decade now. I wanted to build on that trust and that shared musical language and really encourage each other to find new sounds. I felt that I had reached a new landscape in myself and I wanted the album to reflect that.”
Hutchinson has been busy with her new annotated bibliography project in the three years since we last heard from her. She has relearned the piano and established a home studio, giving her greater flexibility to explore new territory.
In addition to mastering these skills Hutchinson has clearly spent much of the last three years finding a deep peace. These songs are at once ecstatic and meditative. They are about coming home, about transforming desire, about how human love can open the heart for some greater purpose.
The Boston Globe writes, “Growth is at the heart of “Beyond That,” Hutchinson’s new album on Red House Records that nudges her gently into more elastic territory….The tension between Hutchinson’s voice, an organic instrument that emulates both a twang and a croon, and the album’s electronic flourishes is especially arresting …” James Reed – Boston Globe
Performer Magazine writes, “… What resonates most profoundly in listening to the record, is Hutchinson’s growth as an artist and as a person. She’s seeking uncharted territory on this new record, the subject matter of the songs taking her to places she hasn’t been before on previous albums. If you can even call them songs. So many of the tracks here feel like profound meditations, like nondenominational prayers.”
These are celebratory hymns from a woman who has made it out the other side of some difficult years and who is inviting us to go “Beyond That” with her now.
See Press Kit for more on the new record
For the story behind filming new music video “Only Just Begun” click here
Meg Hutchinson is an award-winning songwriter who artfully documents the human condition. With a poet’s ease, she makes the personal universal, allowing people’s stories to come alive through her unique vocals and haunting melodies. Since the release of her Red House Records debut COME UP FULL in 2008, she has won high praise for her songwriting and has been featured nationally on NPR Music, XM/Sirius Radio and several times on the syndicated show Mountain Stage. Publications like The Winnipeg Free Press have compared her songwriting with that of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Joni Mitchell.
Growing up in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, the woods and rivers were her childhood muses, as were songwriters like Greg Brown and Joni Mitchell, and poets like Mary Oliver and William Stafford. “I grew up in the country without a TV or internet,” Hutchinson says. “There were so many quiet hours in the day– so many spaces between events. That stillness and intimacy with nature have been formative in my life.”
When Hutchinson inherited her grandmother’s 1957 Martin guitar at age eleven, her love of words found expression, and there was no turning back. “Songwriting is not something I chose, I’ve just somehow always known that this is what I love to do. The songs have been medicine.”
After graduating from college with a degree in creative writing, Hutchinson quit her longtime job on an organic farm and moved to Boston. She quickly became an integral part of the vibrant Boston songwriting community. Like many great performers who have come out of the Boston scene, Hutchinson took to the subway, performing in Park Street, Downtown Crossing and Harvard Square T stations – honing her skills in the footsteps of Martin Sexton and Tracy Chapman.
Hutchinson won the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Award in 2000 and was nominated for a Boston Music Award for her first studio album AGAINST THE GREY. She went on to win awards at the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, the Telluride Troubadour Songwriter’s Showcase in Colorado and The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in North Carolina, all in the course of a year. National publications like Performing Songwriter took notice calling Hutchinson “A master of introspective ballads filled with understated yearning and an exquisite sense of metaphor.”
After recording her live album ANY GIVEN DAY in 2001, and continuing to build a fan base throughout the Northeast, she went into the studio with esteemed producer Crit Harmon (Lori McKenna, Martin Sexton, Mary Gauthier) to record THE CROSSING.
Released in 2004, THE CROSSING caught the attention of renowned folk/roots label Red House Records. Label president Eric Peltoniemi knew there was something special in the young songwriter, “Meg won me over with the profound yet easy depth of her lyrics — rich words married to melodies I just can’t get out of my head.” Confident that her songs could stand alongside those of Red House heavyweights Greg Brown, Eliza Gilkyson and John Gorka, Peltoniemi signed Hutchinson to the label in 2007.
In 2008 Meg recorded her Red House debut COME UP FULL. An instant folk hit, the album was one of the most played on folk and college radio and landed her on many “best of the year” lists. Hutchinson toured heavily in the U.S as well as Ireland and the UK, winning new fans on both sides of the Atlantic. She was a favorite at South By Southwest (SXSW) and the International Folk Alliance Conference.
In the fall of 2009, Meg Hutchinson joined fellow songwriters Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton and Natalia Zukerman to record a holiday EP WINTERBLOOM: TRADITIONS REARRANGED. A collection of eclectic holiday and wintertime tunes, the CD featured original and traditional songs from a variety of backgrounds – ranging from a German hymn to a Yiddish folksong to a midwinter Greg Brown ballad.
The four women performed concerts and radio interviews in 12 cities that December, and formed a deep musical bond and camaraderie which continues to the present day. They have toured Germany and the Netherlands, sung alongside Sarah McLachlan at Lilith Fair, performed for a week on the Cayamo cruise with the likes of John Prine and Lucinda Williams, and brought laughter and reverence to stages each holiday season.
In 2010 Hutchinson released THE LIVING SIDE. With this album the lens grew larger as Hutchinson tackled bigger issues in the world around her – suicide prevention on the Golden Gate Bridge (Gatekeeper) the American Dream gone awry ( Hard To Change) the crash of flight 1549 into the Hudson River (Hopeful Things) and a call to spiritual growth and recovery (Full of Light) – all while maintaining that intimate and relatable voice which makes her songs resonate so deeply.
photos by Stephan Hoglund
2016 How Many Miles
2013 Beyond that
2010 The Living Side
2008 Come Up Full
2004 The Crossing
2001 Any Given Day
1999 Against The Grey
1996 Meg Hutchinson
2012 The Morning I Was Born: A Month In Poems
2015 Pack Up Your Sorrows (Ezzie Films)