Meghan Patrick – Greatest Show On Dirt

Riser House Records

Release Date: May 5th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Meghan Patrick– Greatest Show On Dirt (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. She’s No Good For Me
  2. Ours
  3. Truck Breaks Down
  4. Greatest Show On Dirt
  5. Who Would I Be
  6. Red Roses and Red Flags

There is a time in your life when you discover an artist for the first time. That, in my opinion, is a very special time. You’ve been sleeping on ‘so and so’ for whoever knows how long, and for one reason to another you’ve decided to take a chance on the artist because of one song you heard on the radio that resonated with you the other day. It’s a song that gets you going, gets you motivated and inspired, and all pumped up to conquer anything. And so, you smile, and dive deep into the discography of this ‘newish’ artist (or many ‘newish’ artists!) only to discover that some have more albums released than you realise. At some point you think ‘it might’ve been better if I listened to this artist at the time of them releasing their albums, than all at once right now, because I feel slightly overwhelmed!’… but let me tell you this- I reckon a lot of fans of any artist would want to be in your position- to re-listen to hits and classics of this artist, for the first time. Listening to anything for the first time is special- but even more so when you know that the artist has a bright future ahead of them; or has had an illustrious and respected career. And this leads me into semi-established Canadian country artist Meghan Patrick. She released her third full length album Heart On My Glass in 2021, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and am appreciative that right now I am listening to her for the virtually first time.

A Canadian snowboarder turned country music singer; Meghan Patrick is well known in Canada. However, she is less well known in the U.S., and as is the case with any musician wanting to conquer the U.S.; Meghan had to start from ground zero. Yet from her already released music and lyrics, let’s just say that Meghan has a head start- she already has had plenty of heart-warming, and musically and lyrically impressive songs released to the public, and if she stays true and authentic to her previous style… it’s almost guaranteed that U.S. listeners will love her. As for me in Australia, I first was introduced to Meghan through a country Spotify playlist from Jon that I was listening to in early 2021. Songs were on shuffle and a number of them were from Meghan… and the rest is history as I dived into a discography of one of the most vulnerable, emotional, and honest artists in country music. We reviewed Heart On My Glass and we loved it very much… and so, here we are now in 2023. In 2022, Meghan released her wedding single “My Left Hand”, and now that 2023 has rolled around, there is a brand new EP, called Greatest Show On Dirt.

A lot has changed since ‘Grace and Grit’. ‘She’s No Good For Me’ is a great song for me to start this next chapter of my life and career. There’s been a natural progression and growth over the last few years but especially in the last two years, I think. The last 2-3 years were really challenging for me, as they were for lots of people. Covid took us off the road and the shows were gone, there were a lot of changes in my team and at my label in Canada too and then I ended up at a place were I was stuck and not able to release music for a long time as well.

All those factors left me frustrated. I felt like I wasn’t being seen, heard or understood. Warner and I decided to part ways, amicably, which I was very thankful for. We both realised that that relationship had run its course so that was definitely the catalyst for me feeling more empowered and able to move forward in a way that I wanted to be in control of.

That situation left me feeling so angry and so frustrated that I kinda stopped caring about what everyone else thought and I started writing songs in the way that I just wanted to without thinking about anyone else. I also went through a lot of self reflection too: about who I wanted to be as an artist and as a person, and that’s where ‘She’s No Good For Me’ came from. I recognised that there was a version of me that was probably really fun, but I’d got to a place where being that person wasn’t really good for me anymore. That’s why I wanted to release that song first because it’s a great way to start the new chapter.

I love the songs on this EP and I love the production of it. My producer, Joey Hyde, also did the ‘Heart on my Glass’ record with me and we also brought in my friend Aaron Eshuis on this record too and it was like the perfect mix. I wanted the record to be raw, with no bells and whistles. We talked about wanting it to sound like a great band just went into the studio and played the songs in one go. I didn’t want my vocals tuned or shined up so that the people listening can hear that grit in my voice that you hear when you hear me sing live. We really tried to find a way to channel what my live shows are like.

Opening with the melody “She’s No Good For Me”, we are met with an empowering, freeing and explosive anthem about saying goodbye to our old self and stepping into the new (kind of similar in theme to “Welcome To The New” by MercyMe). It’s a song that inspires us to keep growing and keep on learning something new about ourselves; while the EP continues with “Ours”- a song about how the person you think you love actually treats their current lover the same way they treated you. It’s a track similar in lyrical content and theme to “Next Girl” by Carly Pearce, and with these two songs being quite different in theme yet still equally powerful and poignant, Meghan’s versatility is evident, as well as her burgeoning and rising popularity in country music.

The process of writing ‘She’s No Good For Me’ was extremely cathartic and empowering. When you’ve reached a point of recognizing your own BS, but you’ve also gotten to a place where you can give yourself a little grace for who you were when you were going through a hard time… that’s when you start healing, and growing. It’s also recognizing that healing is not always linear, that old version of you may still show up every once in a while, but knowing you need to leave that version of yourself behind is half the battle. Listening to the song while I drove just felt so empowering and like I was really living the song in the moment, which I think makes for a very authentic performance. The horses coming in at the end [of the music video] was not planned but it was an incredible moment. Running through that field with them was so exhilarating and beautiful and it felt like a sign that I was finally free to be completely myself and go into this new era unbridled.

‘Ours’ is about what it feels like when an ex-lover hits ‘copy and paste’ with the new girl or guy. They take them to the same bar, do all the same things they did with you, and to top it all off, they have the audacity to dance with them to the song that used to be yours.

The rest of the EP showcases Meghan’s impressive vocals and her skillful song-writing skills as she emphatically delivers heartfelt melodies and sings about relatable topics. “Truck Breaks Down” is a powerful and emotional melody about the persona wishing her partner’s truck would break down because she knows he’s about to dump her; while the title track eloquently speaks about young love, with Meghan singing about a probable fictitious (or real life) scenario where the persona and their significant other are so in love, so much that they praise each other’s vocations, with Meghan through the persona declaring that her lover and his character and demeanour is ‘the greatest show on dirt’. Is Meghan singing indirectly about her husband Mitchell Tenpenny? “Who Would I Be?”, the penultimate track, is a compelling piano ballad, where Meghan cleverly uses the motif and imagery of a song and of a movie when wondering about how relationships pan out, singing out ‘…if you were writin’ a story, who would I be? Would I play the hero where you get saved by me? Am I on the last page or the heartbreak somewhere around chapter three? If you were writing the story, who would I be? … yeah, I’ve got questions, ’cause my heart is falling hard you had me at hello, do I make it to your endin’, kissin’ in the rain when the credits roll? Yeah, I just wanna know…’. Greatest Show On Dirt then ends with the track “Red Roses And Red Flags”, where the persona gives an ultimatum to her partner- make an effort to change or risk losing her forever as she walks out the door in half an hour.

I definitely noticed when I moved to Nashville that there was a weird stigma about Canadian artists yet if you look, historically, some of the biggest Country artists of all time were Canadian. People like Shania Twain and Terri Clark for a start. These are women I really look up to because the beat the odds and made careers for themselves in Canada and in the States as well. It is a challenge and it is harder for Canadians than it is other North American artists but I decided that I just didn’t care!

I decided to just figure it out and that I’m gonna make them like me, come what may! I’ve been living in Nashville now for 6 years and was coming to town pretty regularly before that too. Last night, at the Opry, showed me that I have a community here now – it meant so much to me and showed me that there are people here who care about me and support the music I am trying to make.

Meghan Patrick isn’t a household name, but Heart On My Glass as well as this EP, is sure to get her noticed by listeners and critics alike. Though I didn’t resonate with “Ours” and “Red Roses And Red Flags”; both “Who Would I Be” and “She’s No Good For Me” will resonate with probably all of us- in particular “She’s No Good For Me”, with any who have that flaky friend- and then realise that we can sometimes be that flaky friend. And the fact still remains that she’s a force to be reckoned with vocally in the country industry; and she can provide healing and comfort to many people. This EP is pretty encouraging and inspiring (save for the savage takedown that is the last song on the EP!), and Meghan is only getting started. And so even if you don’t resonate with much of these songs, I’d say still listen. Listen to this EP and tell me you feel pride and happiness and you don’t have a smile on your face! Meghan is taking the world by storm- so jump on the bandwagon pronto!

3 songs to listen to: She’s No Good For Me, Greatest Show On Dirt, Who Would I Be

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Carrie Underwood, Lady A, Maren Morris, Tenille Arts, Tenille Townes, Jennifer Nettles, Jimmie Allen, Keith Urban, Kylie Morgan

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