Wow. It feels like a lifetime since I sat down to write a review of some genuine, real life, live music. Hopefully I still remember how! Hopping on the train to a different city, gathering in a venue with actual people, that buzz of anticipation that ripples through the crowd as the artists take to the stage – experiencing it all again after nearly two years apart is a strange sensation. In some ways it felt alien compared to this odd new normality we’ve become all accustomed to, but after a while it felt like stepping back into your old shoes like things had never changed. I guess when live music charms your heart that feeling never really goes away. Fingers crossed though that theory need never be put to the test again, and that this marks the triumphant return of live music in our lives. Where better to get reacquainted with the glory of gigs than the heart of Manchester, and surely there’s no better artist to jump back in with than one of the last performers I saw before everything kicked off – the wonderful Megan Dixon Hood. Continue reading
“Tapping on the glass, like animals in a cage, we put ourselves in here, to find ourselves again“. If there’s a hunger in your heart for imaginative, environmentally-conscious epics, then there’s no better artist to sate your yearning than Belwood favourite Megan Dixon Hood. While she previously tackled the topic of our role in a rapidly changing world on her stunning single ‘The Wishing Tree‘ as seen through a fantastical lens, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Her latest single ‘Third Lung‘ draws inspiration from the Biosphere 2 experiment, in which scientists tried to create and live within an artificial ecosystem as practice for maintaining life in space, but which ultimately failed due to a lack of oxygen. Much like many of us discovered through the course of lockdown, it shows how we take the delicate balance of the world around us for granted. How we’re a part of a grand and complex system whether we realise it or not, and the Earth in turn is a part of who we are and what keeps us going. Meanwhile the hubris of thinking you can create a new world without fully respecting and understanding the one we have now has harrowing parallels for our current approach to the changing climate. Creating a grand vibrant ecosystem all of her own, letting you discover something new with each listen, it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Megan Dixon Hood: soaring, poignant, downright danceable and an absolute delight.
The world would be a very different place without dreamers, yet they remain forever misunderstood. We all too often see daydreaming and having your head in the clouds depicted as some kind of character flaw rather than as a kind of inner strength and creativity to be admired. With ‘Cloudwalker’ Belwood favourite Megan Dixon Hood shines a light on the real power that dreamers possess. How they can break the Earthly bonds that hold them back and escape into a world of imagination. One where the expectations of others become meaningless and you can be whoever you want to be, a place with no rules or limits, and experience a sense of freedom unlike any other. In seeing the world through that lens people can weather the fiercest storms, see all the forgotten beauty and wonder in the everyday, and think outside the box and look at problems from a new angle. With Megan’s entrancing vocals, some melodic nods to Kate Bush, and an uplifting whirlwind of boundless electropop energy – this one goes out to the dreamers. Here’s a song to make you feel like cartwheeling over endless jungle canopies or dancing across oceans on the crest of a wave.
As January lingers on it still feels like a time for looking forward and thinking on the future. That suits us just fine as in a way Belwood is all about looking forward as we champion new music and up-and-coming artists. It seems fitting then for my first gig of the year, of the decade even, to be Megan Dixon Hood, our ‘best new artist‘ pick for 2019. Based on her grand and mystical music released thus far, most notably her most recent powerhouse single ‘The Wishing Tree‘, I was adamant that 2020 was hers for the taking. Little did I know that she was planning on starting early by beginning the year with her first UK headline tour. Naturally I just had to make my way across to Manchester to see her in action. Continue reading
It’s New Year’s Eve! 2019 is finally coming to a close, a new decade is soon upon us, and most importantly today is Belwood Music’s 5th birthday. (Okay, so we had our birthday gig just over a month ago, but if the Queen can have two birthdays then so can we!). What better way to celebrate than by looking back at all the music that earned a place in our hearts over the past 12 months. Continue reading
This year’s list of songs didn’t turn out how I envisioned it even just a few short weeks ago. There were plenty of tracks off the top of my head that I thought would be certain to make an appearance, but when it came down to putting pen to paper and narrowing the list down they ended up not making the cut. Just goes to show how many amazing tracks we’ve been treated to in 2019. Continue reading
When you think about it music has a narrow scope when compared to other media. In books, films, TV etc it’s the norm to delve into complex questions, create compelling stories and dream up imaginative settings, while in music we often dwell on the same inward looking topics like love and heartbreak. While this can be frustrating at times, it makes the inventive and ambitious tracks that break the mould all the more special. ‘The Wishing Tree’ is just such a song. Written from the perspective of a tree venting its ire at the insatiable greed of mankind, it makes for a unique and creative set up for a song, and one that feels all the more meaningful given the recent discourse surrounding climate change. There’s so much depth to this song that can be explored. The fairytale style premise adds a timeless mystical air, while the nuanced electronic flourishes offer something fresh and contemporary. It has all the loss and confusion of a break-up ballad, the indignant defiance of a protest anthem, the cinematic scope of some epic tale, all woven into Megan’s mesmerising powerhouse vocals.
One of the most common and important human desires is a need to be understood, and that is in essence what this new track from Cheshire born singer/songwriter Megan Dixon Hood is all about. ‘Alias Grace’, based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, tells the tale of the eponymous Grace. Plagued by vicious rumours of a crime she didn’t commit, and lamenting how people wrongly see her as a monster rather than her true self. As well as molding the story’s world and characters into a wonderfully crafted narrative, musically it also offers a gorgeous refined style recalling everyone from Joni Mitchell to Fleetwood Mac. With expressive bass tones, elegant piano, and Megan’s angelic vocals, this song portrays in its music Grace’s true self; tender and dignified, yet equally proud and unyielding.