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Saturday 22 June 2024

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Megson Celebrate Two Decades of Music with New Album and Tour

Feb 9, 2023

Four times BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees release 13th album


Megson have always been among the brightest and best duos on the UK folk scene. 

In a career spanning nearly 20 years Teesside-born husband and wife Stu and Debbie Hanna have pooled their polar backgrounds of punk musician and classically-trained singer and conjured their craft to emerge as one of the most original, distinctive and charismatic pairings in the genre.

Nominated four times for Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award and winners of Best Duo and Best Original Song in our Spiral Awards, Megson -named after a late canine friend – seem to have mastered the art of being both gritty and sensitive, partisan and passive with material that resonates and gets straight to the heart of the human condition.

Their 13th album, with pin-sharp production by Stu, is the latest in an impressive list of acclaimed studio and live albums and children’s releases (which complement their dedicated childrens’ shows).It features evocative cover artwork from fellow musician Jess Morgan – a top layer of images depicting nature and walkers watching a sunset while the main image shows a couple whose only focus is a laptop and mobile phone.

What Are We Trying to Say? is the duo’s first studio album in four years, written through the pandemic when we were accosted by media headlines at every turn – on phones, radio, TV and internet. That period of fear and uncertainty, not knowing quite what to believe, sowed the seed of this 10-track album. But is the media hero or villain?
Says Stu: “ Right now it feels like so much of the information we get about the world is from the media we listen to, watch, read, scroll through, get drawn into and sometimes find hard to forget. 2020 brought into sharp focus how important media was for keeping us informed of the constantly changing world. We needed it to keep us safe but it sometimes made us feel unsafe.”
Debbie adds: “We spent so much time during the pandemic watching the news and endlessly scrolling – social media became a vital source of information but it also became clear that there were so many different takes on what was happening it became hard to figure out the real truth We began to think about the different ways news can be used – to inform, entertain or even control us and these are the themes we have touched on in the songs on the album.”
Megson are adept at writing strong narrative songs with an unflinching knack of telling it as it is – ‘everyman’ songs we can all identify with, sometimes heartfelt, sometimes humorous but always acutely observed and chock-full of savvy lyrics.

Having met in Cleveland Youth Choir it’s no surprise that the couple effortlessly produce enviable harmonies. Debbie brings not only her rich, mellifluous voice to the party but her trademark spirited accordion playing too, while Stu earned his multi-instrumentalist stripes long ago, deftly switching between guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, piano, fiddle, electric bass and octave mandola. Between them they have built an unmistakable trademark sound.

Joining them, as he did on previous album Con-tra-dic-shun, is in-demand double bass player John Parker – best known for his Nizlopi duo with Luke Concannon (their JCB song saw them hit No 1 in both the UK and Ireland back in 2005)

What Are We Trying to Say? is released on EDJ Records on March 24, 2023, distributed by Proper Music, and will be showcased on a UK tour this February, March and April.  At some shows (London, Cambridge, Hull, Stockton-on-Tees and Bedford) there will be a unique collaboration – Megson will be joined on stage by John Parker and Manchester-based playwright/actor Keiran Knowles (Operation Crucible, Chicken Soup) with Knowles creating a complementary narrative that runs through the show.
Tour Dates as Follows:

11 FEB – HALESWORTH – The Cut Arts Centre
12 FEB – BIRMINGHAM – Kitchen Garden Cafe
18 FEB – OTLEY – The Courthouse
24 FEB – CRANBROOK – The Vestry Hall
25 FEB – COLCHESTER – The Headgate Theatre
03 MAR – MAYFIELD – Melford House
10 MAR – LEADENHAM – Village Hall
11 MAR – DUNSTON – Village Hall
30 MAR – LONDON – Kings Place*
01 APR – CAMBRIDGE – The Junction*
13 APR – HULL – Truck Theatre*
14 APR – BURY – The Met*
29 APR – BEDFORD – The Place Theatre*
*(With Kieran Knowles and John Parker)

For further details please visit:
uk festival directory