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About the Album...

The Way The World Knew Her, songwriter-singer Meg Gehman’s national debut album, is a deeply soulful Americana smorgasbord. Recorded at The Studio Nashville, the home studio of the Wood Brothers, produced by Jano Rix (1/3 of The Wood Brothers) and engineered by studio co-owner Brook Sutton, the album features an all star cast of musicians, featuring Rix on keys, JD Simo on guitar, Derrek Phillips on drums, Ted Pecchio on bass, and the background vocal talent of Maureen Murphy and Wil Merrell. Featuring 12 original songs plus a soulful re-imagining of the Pointer Sisters/Allen Toussaint classic “Yes We Can Can”, The Way The World Knew Her is a confluence of songs that are personal, poetic, hopeful, triumphant and relatable with stellar musicianship, production and lots of infectious groove. 

Gehman wanted to approach this project in the spirit of collaboration from the start, giving the musicians freedom to bring their full creative selves to what they played. Stepping into the vocal booth for that first take,  she was instantly taken with the soul and groove of this band, and was inspired to sing these songs from a place of deep emotion, honesty and gratitude. The result was the first half of The Way The World Knew Her. Those tracks were Raise Up, The Bed's Still Warm, Never Underestimate, Little Minnow, and Not The Same Girl.  The 5 song EP became a 6 song EP when the whole crew agreed to stay late and honor her last-minute request to record Toussaint’s, “Yes We Can Can”. "It was the last song we recorded, and by then we were in full-on love-fest mode. You can hear that in every second of it."

After moving to Nashville full time, Gehman decided to extend the EP to a full length album, insisting on the same players, with Rix bringing in Murphy and Merrell on BGVs.  Seven tracks were added and recorded on 16" tape, leaving very little room for overdubs and NO room for 2nd guesses, inspiring all musicians to bring the essence of their part(s) to their one and only take.  Those tracks are Chantel, Breakable, Under Your Skin, It Ain't Right, You're Gonna Figure It Out Someday (Feat. Maureen Murphy), Without The Fall, and the title track, The Way The World Knew Her.

Gehman’s The Way The World Knew Her isn’t her first album, it’s something more. It’s Meg Gehman emerging from a darkness, letting us all know that it’s OK to be human; to fuck up, to feel things, to need people. It’s Gehman finally stepping into who she was always meant to be. It’s the next few bricks on her path, and that path is heading toward the light. 


Because we need the light. Especially now.

The Cut by Cut by Meg.

Figure It Out Someday -  My little sad comedian.  That line still chokes me up.  I worked so hard my whole life to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be, but the bottom kept falling out.  The worst part of me trying to figure my shit out was always how others would get hurt as a result.   When I wrote this one, I had hurt someone very badly, and I was really ready to give up.  There’s a saying, “Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle”.  This song is me telling myself this pain is gonna change things, so don’t give up.  (The only track with a feat. on it, I felt it was necessary to honor the work that Maureen Murphy did on this song.  Next level.)


Not The Same Girl - I had an affair with the woman who’s story is told in this song.  I wanted to impress her.  But I was also working out my feelings around the whole thing.  I was starting to get the sense that who she was on the outside was working hard to hide who she was on the inside.  It bothered me, but only because that’s what I had been doing my whole life.


The Bed’s Still Warm - I originally wrote this as a hypothetical break-up story.  When I knew it was going to be on this record, I made a few revisions to a few lines, still thinking it was hypothetical.  Then, on the first day of recording, it hit me like a freight train during the first take that someone I loved very much and hurt very much could have been singing this song to me.  That moment literally took me out and I broke down twice in the booth.  What you hear on the record is the third take - start to finish - no overdubs or changes in the vocal or musical performances.  It’s raw and real and that’s exactly what it needed to be.


Never Underestimate - For almost all of my life I never saw myself as someone worthy of love or forgiveness.  Then, with the help of a great therapist, I started to turn inward and I found those very small, fragile parts of myself who didn’t believe they could be loved - and I loved them.  It changed everything.


Chantel - Chantel Janelli Brown is a composite character from my childhood growing up in New Rochelle, a melting pot suburb of NYC.  What was happening to me and my family made me a hurting kid with a very tough skin.  I resonated so deeply with my black friends and their hurt and toughness too.  So many of my white friends were scared of their toughness, but I felt the safest and the most seen when I was with them.  This song is my gratitude to them and to the town that held us in her arms.


Without The Fall - The only way I’ve ever made any meaningful change has been after a hard (and usually prolonged) dose of pain.  This song celebrates the fact that, while counterintuitive, the facing of the pain, indeed, the welcoming of it - the loss, shame, grief, regret, anger - is the first step on the journey back home to yourself.


The Way The World Knew Her - “Somedays she feels stripped down” is the first line of this song.  She is me.  And when I wrote this song, “she” was learning how to cope with vulnerability, which eventually led to me realizing that welcoming vulnerability, and then sharing it (in safe places) is, in fact, the only path to healing, to living into who you are meant to be, and to finding the people with whom you are truly safe to be yourself.


Raise Up - My father was raised the son of a harsh and punishing Mennonite minister in the backwoods of Pennsylvania Dutch country.   My dad was made to accompany his father as he traveled from one tent-revival to another to spread the Word.  He hated it.  Everything my father  loved about the world was considered at best, frivolous, and at worst sinful.  When my grandfather died, my dad was 17 and made a break for it.  I have a theory that my father’s severe mental illness (manic depression, and later, psychosis) resulted from the constant war going on inside, i.e., if it feels good, you are bad.  In this song, Johnny’s not a Mennonite minister, he’s a card sharp.   And though the story is told lightheartedly, he’s still one human judging another.   If I’d written a bridge, it would’ve said, save your own damn self, Johnny.


Under Your Skin - I hate the sound of the wind in the trees at night.  It hits me in a bone-deep way that can make me want to cry.  I don’t know why.  I started writing this song with a kind of curious inquiry about things that make me feel uneasy, even when I’m in a really steady and peaceful place.  It was the during process of writing the song that I realized I don’t need to understand everything.  I just need to trust that in that moment it’s real, AND that it will pass.  It always does.


Breakable -  When I was 17 I experienced the worst heartbreak of my life.  Hands down.  The falling in love part was magic; some kind of ethereal mythic fairy tale.  But along with that came an almost immediate panic.  I felt my own heart’s breakability and it paralyzed me.  I got so caught up in that fear that I lost myself, rendering me rather pathetic and no longer the shiny, invincible tough one.  So she split.  Looking back now I think I made a subconscious decision to never be in that position again.  This was not a realistic goal.  :-)


Little Minnow - As a kid I was always so eager to be noticed.  Little Minnow, the main character in this song has a similar desperation in her and is heading down a very dangerous path.  In this song I’m trying to warn her.  But she isn’t gonna listen to me.  She’s gonna need to find her own way, just like I did.


It Ain’t Right - This song was written many years ago when I was in a relationship with someone who gave so much of herself (and wouldn’t accept anything in return) that it actually turned me off.  But how do you break up with someone who is just so… so… nice?  You write a song about it, that’s how.  When I played it for her, she just told me how great it was, so we had to have the talk…


Yes We Can Can - I was in 5th grade when The Pointer Sisters’ version of this Allen Toussaint song came out.  It’s just bass and drums for 4 bars, then a scratchy guitar for 8 more, then a sparse but funky lead guitar for 4 before they even start singing!   That groove had me by the third beat.  Then those lyrics!  The message! That harmony! That syncopated arrangement!  There was nothing else like it on the radio, and I was knocked out.  It totally fanned the flames of my early dreams of singing.  And so…when I asked this band, all brand new to me then, and deeply appreciated friends now, they didn’t bat an eye about doing an impromptu cover to round out the project.

Liner Notes and Lyrics

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