HENLEY singer/songwriter Megan Henwood debuted material from her new album Head, Heart, Hand to a packed audience at Nettlebed Folk Club on Monday.
Folk fans travelled from around the country to see the BBC award-winning artist perform at the popular venue, founded in 1975, that is evidently close to her heart.
“Nettlebed has always been meaningful to me as my grandparents owned a pub in the village, so my mum grew up there,” she said. “The folk club is where my parents first met.”
Folk trio Tred opened the evening with an eclectic set of vocals, flute, double bass and guitar and Jackie Oates, who plays fiddle on Head, Heart, Hand, performed two a cappella pieces.
Megan opened with songs from her debut album, Making Waves, before heading into unchartered territory. She was joined by brother Joe on saxophone, cajon and percussion. Matthew Forbes added an orchestral element on cello, mandolin, ukulele and harmonica and Pete Thomas boosted the sound with electric and double bass.
The new album spans more genres than her debut, and the songs she performed showed clear growth from older material, with Megan joking to the audience that she was a lot more jaded than she had been before. “There seems to be a bit of anger, but I think that’s a good thing,” she said.
She cited Matthew Forbes as inspiration for some of the more balladic songs, writing them with his cello in mind.
Megan also treated the audience to a cover of the Bright Eyes song First Day of my Life, which she performed last year on Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 show. “It borders on being a bit cheesy but I love the words and sentiment,” she said.
Head, Heart, Hand was produced in the sanctuary of her brother’s studio constructed from 580 straw bales in Oakley Wood. Megan said the experience had been truly inspirational and added: “I am lucky to have had the opportunity to take my time and have control whilst working with musicians who I respect so deeply.”
Head, Heart, Hand will be released this summer.