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Meg Hutchinson
THE CROSSING
(LRH)

Meg Hutchinson has come a long way from working at a vegetable stand and living above a chicken coop in upstate New York to the sophisticated folk-pop shine of The Crossing. Produced by Crit Harmon (Martin Sexton, Susan Werner), this collection finds her expanding beyond the candlelit ambiance of her previous recordings with more outwardly rocking arrangements and a notable polish that stops just shy of going over the top. For those accustomed to hearing her in a sparser setting, these busier arrangements might seem overpowering at first listen. But Hutchinson holds her own in the mix, especially on the opening "Coming Up," which heralds the arrival of spring, with a driving rhythm section and multi-instrumental contributions from Harmon. The tastefully programmed "Leonids" lends itself well to her offbeat singing (a reedy-sounding Natalie Merchant mixed with a dash of something all her own); the passive chanting thatís woven through "San Andreas" is mesmerizing, built around a metaphor about earthquakes and fault lines. And the carefree abandon of "More" is contagious, further evidence that at The Crossing, Hutchinson is headed in the right direction.

BY CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY


Issue Date: January 7 - 13, 2005
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