The beautiful fall weather of New England is slowly slipping into the chilliness of winter. I am NOT ready. It has been a great fall, though! It has marked the start of my fourth and final year at Berklee, which as you may guess, is incredibly bitter-sweet.
As always, I'm busy, busy, BUSY! In the past couple of years, I've been pretty intentional about prioritizing school and practicing while enrolled, and because of that I've tried not to book gigs that would divert from this focus. But I've had a couple of opportunities come up that were just far too good to pass up!
First was FreshGrass in North Adams, MA! In September, my Boston-based band, Willow Down, had the great pleasure of representing Berklee at this SUPERB festival. We played a couple of showcases on the main-stages, and then got to play a pop-up set in the MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art).
In October, I had the treat of flying home for a couple of days and then traveling over to Steubenville, OH to play at the Half Hills Music Festival! We're definitely new fans of this great town and the work that they are doing to revitalize their downtown with art and music!
I'm immensely happy to be studying and working away. I have many to thank for the seemingly endless supply of opportunities that I am blessed with. Today, I'd like to publicly thank String Magazine for their kindness and generosity in awarding me the Edith Eisler String Magazine Scholarship.
For my readers that play and/or enjoy string music, I highly recommend that you take a moment to visit their website. They are full of valuable print resources, articles, and educational & entertaining videos of string music! I have a digital subscription with them and they certainly help me keep learning more about what I love!
Thanks for reading my update! I appreciate your time and support!
Here's a fun, little video of my pal, Casey Murray, and me playing on of my favorite West Virginian tunes, Twin Sisters! :)
And just like that my summer comes to an end.
Summer 2017 brought many laughs, stories, new songs, new friends, and plenty of good times & smiles. September brings a wonderful and successful summer to a close.
But what a great summer it was! I had the pleasure of traveling to perform, teach, and play music all over the great state of Pennsylvania, up into New York, down to West Virginia, and shipping back up to Boston for a quick spell.
Here are a few highlights from the summer-
In July, I also had the honor of working at the Berklee Global String Program, a week-long string camp presented by Berklee's fantastic string department. I spent the week serving as Bruce Molsky's assistant, helping out with his Old Time Ensemble. The week mixed two of my favorite things: Old-time music and music education!
Speaking of Old-Time Music: On our one weekend off, Dad & I made our way down to West Virginia to go to Clifftop (The Appalachian String Band Music Festival). Having spent the past three years studying the musical tradition at school, it was a fascinating (and super inspiring) experience to see it all in action.
& I learned so many awesome, new tunes!
And speaking of music education: I also offered private music lessons all summer long! I had a great bunch of students studying fiddle, banjo, guitar, and voice with me. They all worked so hard and made such great strides forward! I think fun was had by all, which is one of the most important things
Just a few more highlights..
(it was such a great summer that it has been extremely difficult to narrow down my favorite parts)
In July, my Boston-based band, Willow Down, had a great opportunity to perform at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Albany, NY in July! Despite the rain & mud, we had such a good time!
Following that weekend in Albany, I brought my good friend and musical partner, Kat McLevey, down to PA for a week-long songwriting retreat!
(& I can't wait to share our songs with you very soon!)
And then there was Hickory Fest to end the summer- another one of my favorite festivals!
(And I have to say that there were many, many more highlights that I couldn't include in this update for the sake of time...got an hour to read about my summer?? Probably not!)
With all of that said and done, it does feels wonderful to be back in my little, city apartment and back to classes for my final year at Berklee College of Music.
(Although it is always sad to leave home)
This academic journey started off three years ago with much apprehension and little confidence in it being financially feasible for me to stay and complete a full degree.
I am so incredibly grateful to say that I will graduate in Spring of 2018 after finishing up my last year with a full scholarship thanks to so much amazing support around me.
I have SO many people to thank- but I plan to relate my immense gratitude on another day in order to do it justice.
This fall, I am enrolled in 9 courses, I'll be playing a handful of shows, and am making strides towards the recording of a second album (more on this later).
In all of this, I will continue to work hard to develop my artistry, my musical proficiency, and my teaching practice. #ALWAYSLEARNING #ALWAYSGROWING
For those of you that have taken the time to read this update, thank you so much for your support! I really appreciate it. I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below! :)
all my best-
The Monday after a music festival is always a little strange.
After spending an entire weekend surrounded by music (REALLY GOOD music), friends, family, and in this case, beautiful mountains, the acclamation back to an "everyday-life" of sorts can sometimes leave one with the uncanny feelings of sluggishness & apathy.
After a festival, Dad and I talk for hours about our dozens of favorite moments.
Today, we shared our lunch break at Irwin Park and talked about our amazing weekend at Hickory Fest.
Last year & this year, we both found that one of our favorite elements of Hickory Fest is it's incredible sense of COMMUNITY- from the kind folks running the BEAUTIFUL Stoney Fork Creek Campground (Bridget & Randy + all of their wonderful volunteers), to all of the phenomenal musicians sharing the stage throughout the weekend (Peter Rowan, The Travelin' McCourys, Verlon Thompson, the Rowan Brothers, Big Sky, Van Wagner, Dan Shipe, Billy Gilmore, Tom Cunningham & MORE) to all of the attentive & engaged listeners and music connoisseurs, and (of course) all of the spectacular people dedicating so much time and energy to making it all happen in the first place (big thanks to Frank as well as Erik, Jeff, Pam + many, many more)!!!
For those of you who don't know much about this magical festival yet, just know that it's a very special place filled with very special people who are determined to use the time and space we have to honor the legacy of the amazing Sue Cunningham.
And WOW, they sure do one heck of a job.
This year's Hickory Fest had sooooo many highlights. Here are just a few-
Dad & I had a wonderful time performing a couple sets of our own music on Saturday & Sunday. And we both agree that it was especially enjoyable to have Tom Cunningham come up to play some twin fiddle with us!
On Saturday, I taught the fiddle workshop. As fiddlers of many different ages and levels of experience, we were able to conclude the hour class by playing "Spotted Pony" together as a group. I thought that was pretty cool!
On Sunday, I adjudicated the 1st Annual Sue Cunningham Youth Fiddle Contest. It was such a pleasure to hear all of the young fiddlers play their hearts out..but boy, was it a hard call to make. Everyone that participated just did so, so well!
I also had the immense pleasure of joining some other artists (& friends) on stage throughout the weekend, playing some fiddle with the likes of Van Wagner, Dan Shipe & Friends, Sue's Brothers, BIG SKY with the wonderful Verlon Thompson, and Chris & Lorin Rowan with their big-bro, Peter Rowan!!!!
WHAT A WEEKEND.
I would like to extend a big, big thank-you to everyone for the opportunities, smiles, kind words, and general warmth. The past two years of HF have been an absolute pleasure & I can't wait until next year.
And thanks to everyone who made it to the end of this lengthy update.
Your support means the world to me! <3
Last week, I hid away in this beautiful little oasis tucked within the rolling hills of PA to write songs, share stories, and laugh away with my good pal & Canadian singer-songwriter, Kat McLevey. This beautiful space provoked buckets of creativity & we can't wait to share our new songs with you in the very near future! <3
My brand new band, WILLOW DOWN, hit the stage at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Albany, NY a couple of weeks ago. Sponsored by Berklee College of Music, we were a part of Grey Fox's Emerging Artist Showcase, sharing a super fun blend of traditional and original songs with tons of lady-harmonies and an energetic instrumentation! I had a such blast with three of my best gal-pals & super-talented bandmates: Kat McLevey, Casey Murray, & Emilie Rose.
A big thank you to Berklee College of Music and the American Roots Department for selecting us to represent our school and for giving us such a cool opportuity! <3
Here is a video of WILLOW DOWN performing one of my original songs, Wild Horses:
In June, Dad & I returned to the beautiful Deane Center for Performing Arts in Wellsboro, PA for our second time to play a show during the Pennsylvania Mountain Laurel Festival. Before the show, I met with Amiee Jones & the kind folks with the Wellsboro Home Page for an interview. Check it out below!
"Megan took some time to share about a few of the songs on her debut album. Finding inspiration from her surroundings, nature, and situation in her life, she has been able to write and record these original tracks, and is now performing the wherever she goes."
Hello to all of you beautiful music lovers!
I've created this page to journal about the fun experiences in my music career and my life studying at Berklee College of Music!
Megan McGarry's Debut Album
On Megan McGarry's debut, self-titled album, she demonstrate her notable talents as a vocalist, clawhammer banjoist, fiddler, and guitarist. Not to mention her skillful songwriting. She blends the sounds of tradition American roots music and contemporary folk music through rich melodies and powerful lyrics.
Released: July 2015
Produced By: Eric Morelli
1. Two Roads
2. In Blue
3. Change Is Gonna Come
5. One Night on the Champs Elysees
6. Little Bird
7. Five More Minutes