Afterword: Megan Talay

Afterword to the Greenpointers article on Megan Talay

Hearing Megan Talay live, it’s surprising to know that she was once shy about singing. She sounds like Bonnie Raitt, her voice lively and springy. Before they begin, she and her band members bring their hands in, stacking them one on top of another like they’re on a sports team: Paul Maddison on bass, Kenny Shaw on drums (straight off the plane from Australia where he was playing with Dispatch), and Greg Mayo on guitar. As they break, her band members yell, “happy birthday, Megan!”

Megan Talay - Pete's Candy Store April 10, 2015

She strums the intro of “Light the Way” with her back to the packed audience at Pete’s Candy Store, then turning, she sings, “He said, “I think you were dreamin hard last night / Yeah, I saw you shifting around in your sleep” / But I said, “I’m always dreamin hard.. you know, it’s alright- I’m never free / No I am never free.” Her entire set is filled with melodies and brimming lyrics that move and hook you. Although her music doesn’t always follow the usual verse-chorus structure, her lyrics are so memorable that by the time you hear the chorus for sometimes the second and final time, you’re singing along with her.

Halfway through the set, Talay sings “Forever in my Hand.” As context, she recounts when she entered a songwriting competition with this song during her sophomore year at the University of Miami. Livingston Taylor was a judge. “After I played, he said ‘at first, I thought, you got alotta lyrics here. You got enough lyrics here for three songs. When I heard you singing, it all had a thread and you made it work somehow. You’re a little pitchy, but you’ve got fantastic lyrics here and you don’t want them to get lost.'” If Taylor had heard Talay at Pete’s, he wouldn’t call her pitchy anymore. “He was encouraging me to speak-sing them. It was encouraging in a funny sort of way,” she says.

Katie & Megan Talay - What's My Name Again? April 10, 2015

It was a celebratory night, with her band members giving her a present on stage (a Mr. Potato Head), a dedication to her twin sister, Katie, (Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again?,” during which Katie joined her to sing “Nobody likes you when you’re 23”), and friends, Beth Callen and Joanna Levine (Pinkwing) on guitar and vocals respectively, joining her for the cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.” The highlight was her killing it on her guitar solo as she performed her final song, “Miami Take Me Home.” When the set was over, the audience chanted “one more, one more, one more,” but her time was up. To quote what she said at the beginning of her set, “Greg and I finished working on my first EP. If you like what you hear, get on my mailing list and we can hang out and be lovers.” No further guidance required.

The return

some scratches

the yellow hydrant isn’t spewing water, but
the crack in the sidewalk has grown
I can see green
weed its way through
the four leaf clover sort

he hasn’t washed my fingerprints from the window
that time I flattened myself against the window
nose and lips pressed to cold glass
looking straight down from eight floors up,
Could I keep from falling forward if it was gone?

the clouds havent moved
but the building in the once empty lot across the street
was built to break through them

the room devours the sun,
scoffs at the moon
and though it should be,
it’s never done


some scratches

He slid his bare hands down the subway car pole,
Touched his neighbor’s nose.
Bundled in a red coat,
He removed his superhero hat.
Growled as he placed it on his little fist,
Thrust it in his momma’s face.

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Saturday, March 28, 7:00pm, Lower East Side: Blues/indie rock Earthquake Lights. (No cover, Rockwood Stage 1, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Saturday, March 28, 11:00pm, Lower East Side: Singer-songwriters BAILEN have written songs for Sons of Anarchy, Victoria’s Secret, Paper Magazine, Marc Jacobs and Ansel Elgort. (No cover, Rockwood Stage 1, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Sunday, March 29, 2:00pm, Brooklyn Heights: Brooklyn Poets presents A Branch Grows in Brooklyn, poetry readings reflecting on nature, life, death and the borough of Brooklyn by J. Scott Brownlee, Nicole Sealey, Cynthia Cruz, Jason KooJessica Greenbaum and Joshua Mehigan. ($5 suggested donation, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St, between Henry and Clinton)

Tuesday, March 31, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: The New York Times calls The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle “a masterly — and arresting — piece of storytelling, arguably Mr. Boyle’s most powerful, kinetic novel yet.” (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, between Pacific and Dean)

Tuesday, March 31, 7:00pm, Village: The next Leaving a Lasting Mark concert series benefits the Foundation for Fighting Blindness. This concert is called “Rumours: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac.” ($10 suggested donation, The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St, between Laguardia and Thompson)

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Thursday, March 19, 8:00pm,Williamsburg: Folk-pop from Matt Keating off his new album This Perfect Crime. (No cover, The Living Room, 134 Metropolitan Ave, between Berry and Wythe)

Friday, March 20, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: Poetry from Patrick Phillips on a new collection about father/son relationships. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, between Pacific and Dean)

Friday, March 20, 7:00pm, Greenpoint: For some new inspiration, galleries are open until 10pm on Greenpoint Gallery Night. (No cover, see this static map for all locations)

Saturday, March 21, 11:00pm, Bushwick: Hailing from DC, rock by the NRIs. (No cover, Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan St, between Bogart and Morgan)

Monday, March 23, 7:30pm, Gowanus: NPR and WNYC’s Ask Me Another blends brainteasers and local pub trivia night with comedy and music with guest, indie-pop singer-songwriter, Ingrid Michaelson. ($20 adv/$25 doors, The Bell House, 149 7th St, between 2nd and 3rd)


some scratches

We rock side to side in our descent.
It feels like the nose hits the runway hard as we land.
People bounce up and down like they are on a rickety old roller coaster.
Maybe the Grizzly Bear at Kings Dominion.
My stomach flutters and turns.
A couple of men whoop.
Women exhale.
The baby does not stir.

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Thursday, March 5, 8:00pm, Upper West Side: Punch Brothers touring for ‘Phosphorescent Blues.’ ($39.50-$49.50, Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, between 75th St & 74th)

Thursday, March 5, 9:00pm, Lower East Side: Folk-rock Tam Lin. (No cover, Rockwood Stage 1, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Friday, March 6, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: The 2015 Whiting Award Winners Reading. Winners will be announced on Thursday, March 5. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Saturday, March 7, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: The Brooklyn Writers Space Reading Series with authors David GrandJane Rose PorterTerence Degnan and Amy Sohn. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Saturday, March 7, 8:00pm, Lower East Side: Red Baraat touring for ‘Gaadi of Truth.’ ($18 in advance, $22 at the door, The Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St, between Kenmare & Bowery)

Saturday, March 7, 11:30pm, Lower East Side: City of the Sun. ($15, Rockwood Stage 3, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Sunday, March 8, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: Canarium Poetry Reading with authors Michael MorseTod Marshall and Emily Wilson. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Sunday, March 8, 8:00pm, Williamsburg: Red Baraat celebrating Holi. ($15 in advance, Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, between N 11th and N 12th)

Monday, March 9: 8:00pm, Cobble Hill: Brooklyn Poets Yawp. The Yawp is an open mic where you can hear a range of new pieces and works in progress. They offer a poetry workshop at 7pm, just before the open mic at 8. ($5, 61 Local, 61 Bergen St, Bergen and Smith)