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Experimental folk rocker in city soon

Bringing a style the artist describes as "experimental folk rock", Megan Hamilton hits 5th Ave Cup & Saucer May 16. Hamilton said her style grew out of varied musical interests.

Bringing a style the artist describes as "experimental folk rock", Megan Hamilton hits 5th Ave Cup & Saucer May 16.

Hamilton said her style grew out of varied musical interests.

"I love The Smiths, Mazzy Star, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Gillian Welch, The McGarrigle Sisters, all of my friends," she said.

Hamilton will be joined by her band in Yorkton.

"I always like to play with the band whenever I can - as we will in Yorkton - but since I moved from Toronto to Kingston, I generally play solo in K-town. When we play with the band, it's just more akin to the sound I'm looking for. But I can be a bit more nuanced when I play solo. So there are benefits to both."

Hamilton said her interest in music was fostered at a young age.

"I grew up playing piano, but didn't pick up the guitar until about 10 years ago," she said, adding her interests did branch away from music too. "I have a theatre acting degree from Ryerson, and after school I wrote plays and got into producing.

"Music was something I did on the side until one day Mark Vogelsang invited me over to his house to record some songs, and I was hooked. I'd been writing music as a hobby, but I decided to give it a try; dropped everything else I was doing and Mark and I went to Saskatchewan to record our first album - Feudal Ladies Club. It was recorded in the Feudal Hall just outside of Harris, SK. I've always been drawn to music - my parents listened to wonderful music when I was growing up - it is, for me, the most viscerally appealing artform."

From there a career has evolved.

"I've been playing about eight years now, I guess -- and seriously about six years," said Hamilton. "I've played all over eastern Canada including Newfoundland, down south in Kentucky, Alabama and we did a mini tour in Texas. All over Quebec and Ontario, and soon we'll span the country to Vancouver and back. I've had some wonderful opportunities - opening for My Morning Jacket, Pink Mountaintops - those were really good. Playing Phog Phest last year was fun."

As active as Hamilton has been touring, she said recording is a special experience for her.

"I love recording - my experiences recording are some of my favourite," she said. "Being immersed in creativity."

In terms of writing, Hamilton said her last album took on some sadder, more somber themes.

"A lot of this last album, See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard, deals with loss and with friends who are struggling," she said. "But it also deals with coming out of a dark period and finding hope and joy."In Hamilton's case the muse comes to her most easily under some rather specific circumstances. "I like to write at night, I have to be alone, I prefer to be on my bed, but lately I've been writing snippets as I think of them, and putting them together afterwards," she said.

"My best songs begin with the lyrics, and the music comes second. Everything inspires me - honestly. I wrote a song about a tree once. I suppose I gravitate to images, but not always."

As a result albums can take a while to come together in terms of material.

"I think the See Your Midnight Breath had about a year and a half worth of songs - the best from the lot," said Hamilton. "After I finished that one (Moth was the last song I wrote), I didn't write again for a year. Nothing that I really used, anyhow. I was too busy doing other stuff - touring, moving cities. "I'm back writing again," she added.

Hamilton said as far as an album is concerned See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard is a definite career high point.

"Oh yes, I love it," she said. "I've had a year to be with the final product, and I still listen about once every two weeks.

"My favourite changes, but usually it's Moth. I like Specialface. Actually, I think my favourite is Wherever You Are. I think it might be the best song I've written. So far"