When the frigid winter ends and the earth absorbs every last blanket of snow, infinite dust blooms from the prairies. If you walk down a twilit dirt road in the middle of nowhere, south central Saskatchewan, that dust creeps onto and into you, cementing your relationship with the endlessness of the place—endless skies, endless wind, endless dust. Megan Nash knows this feeling more intimately than most. Despite taking her music all over the world, her songs always retain some piece of the prairies. There’s the grit of dust in the crunch of an overdriven guitar; the howl of wind in a soaring, hypnotic eruption of horns. And there is a boundlessness in her voice—electric with timbres both luminous and dusky, coloured with the textures of her poetry—that can’t help but recall those spellbinding skies.
With her 2017 album Seeker, Nash used that voice to establish herself as an artist with a singular vision. Mining loss, heartache, grief, dreams, and desire over lush soundscapes, she revealed herself as the titular seeker—someone with a suitcase they never really empty, whose reach always exceeds their grasp. In the time since Seeker, Nash’s life has taken tumultuous turns. In her own words, the new music she’s been working on was written, “in the cracks of a foundation—in moments of reflection during years of whirlwind romance, gut wrenching heartbreak, reviving friendships, and life-saving dog love.” They’re heavy, haunting, elegiac songs in which Nash has rendered herself more vulnerable than ever. “Artifact” slow burns as she discovers fragments of her former life—a letter from a past lover, a photograph of a perfect day—and finds herself swallowed up by them, setting images of rising sea level destruction beside ones from relationships, reminding us that when something you love is neglected, it can fall apart right in front of you.
“Quiet” flows through glowing synthesizers and driving drums to capture the anxiety and frustration that can build in the silences between lovers, while “Coffee” dives into the profound loneliness that comes from never truly feeling seen. These are just the first glimpses into Nash’s next record, filled with anthems for the unlovable, born from heartache and uncertainty. The soon-to-be revealed album is a testament to both the facts that things fall apart, and lovers, against all odds, will always find a way to love. It’s the sound of Nash’s very own heart beating from the driver’s seat of some ragged vehicle barreling down a prairie highway at dusk.
In the middle of these mercurial past few years, Nash has been busier than ever on the road, most often with her seasoned backup outfit, The Best of Intentions (Dana Rempel on bass, Darnell Stewart on guitar, and Tanner Wilhelm Hale on drums). She’s played some of her biggest gigs both at home and on tour in Germany, Estonia, and the U.K., riding the momentum of her JUNO Award nomination for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for Seeker. And in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been proactive finding ways to connect with fans via events like drive-in and virtual shows. Rest assured that if it’s possible, she’ll be following those highway lines in 2021, armed with an album’s worth of brand new tunes.