Megan Reilly comes from Memphis. At sixteen, she started writing songs and playing them on the guitar. There’s a dark, mysterious quality to life in Memphis -- a rich and tragic history -- and something of that found its way into Megan’s songs from the start.
At twenty-three, she moved to New York City, and the teenage dreams and demons that fueled her earliest work had grown into more complicated ghosts. Her songs had grown, and when she sang them alone on stage, accompanying herself on guitar, people listened and were intrigued. Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth was an early fan and supporter and helped introduce Megan into the New York music scene. He also introduced her to guitarist, Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar, Cat Power) who was deeply drawn to Megan’s singing and the feel of her music. Soon, Megan had attracted a band of tremendous players -- Steve Goulding (The Mekons) on drums, Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu) on bass, and Eric Morrison (Home) on piano. These were busy, talented people -- all with tremendous experience and various other projects -- and all committed to Megan’s music, attracted to the idea of gathering their unique talents around this unique and special voice.
The group recorded Megan’s first full-length release, Arc of Tessa, which was recently hailed to “one day be remembered as the unheralded gem of alternative-country 2003...a haunting collection of aching ballads put across with soulful understatement by Reilly and band” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.) With the release of Arc of Tessa, Time Out New York named Megan to their Class of ’03 Annual Honor Roll of Up-and-Coming Musicians. Maxim called it a “jaw-dropping debut.” No Depression called it “melancholy folk-pop of the highest order” and “drop-dead gorgeous.” And Harp Magazine included Megan on their annual list of Best Emerging Songwriters.
For the last few years, Megan has been playing shows with the band, or is sometimes unaccompanied. She recently headlined a show at Oberlin College and opened for Graham Parker at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Recently Megan has also collaborated on other interesting projects, lending her voice -- along with Tom Waits and Jon Langford -- to the new Book of Knots recording, and performing with Sue Garner on a live musical score to an animated film by Emily Hubley presented at MoMA in New York City.
The last year has been largely spent working on Megan’s second release on Carrot Top Records, Let Your Ghost Go. Produced by Sue Garner, mixed by John McEntire (Tortoise), and featuring her all-star band, the songs were recorded at various New York City studios -- The Magic Shop, Mule Yard, Brooklyn Recording, and Studio G -- with the idea of bringing together a full, varied and diverse palate of sounds.
Megan Reilly is something of an enigma -- obsessed with death and playful as a kitten; complicated songwriter and college drop-out; influenced equally by Loretta Lynn and Thin Lizzy; grounded artist and searching soul. The new CD captures her enigmatic qualities and turns them into something utterly clear. Let Your Ghost Go is a work of pure musical expression.