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 and produced by Jano Rix, The Wood Brothers’ Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist, The Way The World Knew Her is an array of tracks that are vulnerable, triumphant, playful, surrounded by stellar musicianship and containing a lyrical treasure trove.
In the title track, Gehman allows a glimpse into the way the world used to know her in the lines, "She poured out all the bottles/Tries to walk without a crutch/She knows there’s peace in there somewhere/She can almost touch." In the heart-twisting ballad, "The Bed’s Still Warm", Gehman captures the agony of being left for another with the lines, “I cried for me here all alone/I cried for you - she’s not your home/You’re not in love with me you say/But baby, what about yesterday?” In “Chantel”, Gehman manages to pay homage to her hometown, paint a picture of a friendship between two young girls that pays no mind to race, and weave in playground songs from her childhood.
Gehman has been on a songwriting journey for over 30 years, writing, as she puts it, “to tell the world how much love I have to give”. She started out making a name for herself as a cabaret singer, while also working as a singing waitress (Manhattan), and a Foster Care Social Worker (Brooklyn). But working at this pace fueled Gehman’s drug and alcohol use and she knew she needed to leave NYC to get her head straight.
Around 1990, Gehman headed upstate to Rochester, NY, got clean, earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling and began writing songs. She became a Junior High School Counselor (where she remained for 27 years) and was always simultaneously fronting and writing for a band (often two).
When the pandemic hit, Gehman took an early retirement from the school system, hunkered down as a single person for the first time in her life, did a ton of therapy and healing, transitioned to building her own private practice (she is a Certified Internal Family Systems Practitioner), and doubled down on her songwriting. This fruitful time of vulnerability, creativity and discovery gave way to a new path forward that, as she says, “...could only be described as guided”. So Gehman decided to go to Nashville to record with some of the industry’s finest. She hit pay dirt when Rix brought on Ted Pecchio (bass), Derrek Phillips (drums), JD Simo (guitar), and later, Wil Merrell and Maureen Murphy (background vocals).
The result of those sessions was not only the first half of The Way The World Knew Her, it was also the impetus for Gehman to pull up her roots of 32 years, say a lot of hard and tearful goodbyes, and move to Nashville on New Year’s eve as 2022 was dawning. The remaining seven tracks were recoded soon after; with the same players.
Gehman’s The Way The World Knew Her isn’t just her first national release, 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: a full time truth-telling artist. It’s 13 new bricks on her path, and that path is heading toward the light.
Because we need the light. Especially now.