Megan Hamilton
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Megan Hamilton

Kingston, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE | AFTRA

Kingston, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Folk Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Opening for My Morning Jacket"

"I'd initially felt a little cheated that Kathleen Edwards, who was supporting MMJ on every other date of the tour, was sitting this one out ... but was quite pleasantly surprised to find the two acts they enlisted in her stead to be very much up to the task. Megan Hamilton offered up a short and sweet set of plaintive country-ish tunes, with very tasteful backing from electric guitar and drums and quite sophisticated arrangements."
-Frank Yang -

"how we think about light - Disc-overy of the Week!"

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"The swirling production by Mark Vogelsang encompasses judiciously tremolo-ed guitar, droning accordion and thick vocal harmonies. Hamilton's voice is just slightly flat and wavering, but that only serves to accentuate the yearning in her songs." - Eye Weekly

"FLC - EXCLAIM! Magazine"

A gently twinkling country/folk gem of an album, Feudal Ladies Club is refreshing and enchanting. Singer-songwriter Megan Hamilton is a new face in the Toronto scene, coming to music from the world of theatre. Her stage background is evident in the songs on this disc: there’s a theatrical quality to her performance that adds to its considerable appeal. Alternating between “tinkly” piano, autoharp and guitar, each of the songs has its own distinct personality — from the quavering country ballad “Don’t Ask Me” to the silly, rhyming and whimsically rollicking “Sleeping on the Floor.” Hamilton’s unpolished vocals possess a raw and penetrating poignancy; wispy and occasionally wavering off-key, her voice seems to echo as if from across a vast abyss, beckoning alluringly but ultimately remaining aloof. It’s this vocal quality, as well as the wistful lyrical content, that gives her music such an overwhelming sense of yearning. A beautiful and quirky album full of character, endearing flaws and delicious melancholy.
-Rachel Sanders -

"NOW NXNE Festival Preview"

"5 chicks who’ll break your heart and spit on the carnage"

"Underrated local singer/songwriter who trades in ragged roots-rock set in shadowy barns and desolate prairie expanses. She may eviscerate every detail of your failed relationship, but the raw bourbon-and-soda echo of her voice will make it sound like the prettiest, saddest thing you've ever heard." - NOW

"Artist to Watch 2009"

It may sound odd to call this Toronto singer/songwriter the female version of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, but with her mop of natural curls, and soaring, echo-drenched songs, all that Megan Hamilton is missing is facial hair. The MMJ influence was certainly hard to miss on her full-length debut, How We Think About Light — recorded at a community hall in small-town Saskatchewan — but like her idols, expect Hamilton to start exploring new sonic territory on her next release slated sometime in the spring on Toronto indie label Familiar Music.
- Jason Schneider - Exclaim!

"Exclaim! Review/Interview See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard"

Toronto, ON's Megan Hamilton forces a high-pressure jet of intense folk rock through a potent blend of human emotion on her second full-length album. More stylistically consistent than her beautifully quirky 2006 debut, Feudal Ladies Club, Hamilton's sophomore release is a sonic brew powerful enough to make the head swim. Whereas her previous releases were recorded in home-built studios, Shipyard was recorded with a full band in the professional studios of London, ON audio engineering school OIART. The result is a fuller, more cohesive sound. Hamilton's long-time collaborator Mark Vogelsang engineered and co-produced the disc, using innovative sound design to give it a distinctive atmosphere and a mesmerizing sonic quality. The gently plucked guitar notes that open the album undulate like sunbeams underwater but build to a weightier, more experimental sound, complete with fuzzed-out, layered vocals and chiming organ tones that shiver with thick reverb. Hamilton's raw vocal style is counterbalanced by sweetly enchanting phrases like "the cruellest manoeuvre from here to Vancouver," which she rolls lovingly around in her mouth like Theodor Geisel's marbles. Her lyrics flirt with existential despair but her whimsical way with words ultimately reveals a starry-eyed optimism that shines through even on the disc's more subdued tracks.

Your creative partner, Mark Vogelsang, did a lot of research for the recording of this album.
Yes, Mark likes very intricate projects, so he did a lot of research into ships and the sonic qualities of ships. And he figured out all of the different kinds of rooms that are in ships and what they were made of and he applied that knowledge to the album and placed all the different sounds in different parts of a ship.

Where did this focus on ships come from?
I've always had a very strong connection to ships and water and marinas, especially at night. There's a certain feeling I get and it comes from a couple of childhood experiences of being in boatyards at night and that was the general feeling I was getting from this album. He also researched the sound characteristics of breathing in cold air and used that as inspiration for some of the reverb in the vocals.

Do you think that lends a chilly tone to the album?
Absolutely, and that was a definite choice on his part. And we had talked about that before. We talked about what are our favourite records and why we liked them so much and I was listening to that Big Star record, Sister Lovers, and there's reverb in that that I responded to and there's that cold, remote quality. Mark thought about what it would sound like if I was on deck and just singing out into the night air, so he did some research on breathing in cold air and what happens to your voice when you put it out that way.

What are you referring to with the title of the first track? What are you suggesting ought to get thrown down the drain with your morning coffee grinds?
It's pretty existential. That song came from a sense of being frustrated that maybe everything's futile. You put a lot of emotion and thought into something, and then maybe in the end none of it does matter, maybe it's all kind of silly. But I think with the title, what you're throwing down the drain is even the worry about that. Who cares? We're here anyway. Do some stuff. I went through that big time, getting into existential philosophy and really relating to it and thinking, "uh oh, I could really screw myself over if I let myself get too angsty all the time." But I got to the point where I was like, "who cares?" I like making music, so I'm going to do that. Because what else am I going to do while I'm on the planet?

Why the switch from lo-fi home recording to a more professional full band setting?
As with everything we do, it seems, that was just what was available. We don't have resources, or financial backing. Everything we do we scraped together ourselves to try and make something, which is really challenging. Mark had taken this job teaching at OIART and we'd been talking about where to do the next record. I'd really liked the idea of trying to get a farmhouse somewhere in Ontario and bringing everybody up. I liked the idea of making our own studio but Mark had access to all this equipment and because he's a teacher there he gets studio time so we thought, "let's try it this way this time."

How did the different recording set-up affect the album?
I wasn't used to thinking in terms of five people as well as myself. We had five days in the studio, so we had to be in great shape, knowing the songs really well. I really had to map out a pretty strict recording schedule. And I'm really picky about certain things. Every vocal take is start to finish. I'm really picky about things like that because I like the idea of a through-line. In the same way that I like the idea of a journey through an album, I especially like a journey through a song. So I want to do the whole thing each time, because every time you do it you create a vibe, there's a sense of movement. And breaking it up, stopping, redoing a verse, for me it just cuts it up and it doesn't give you the same kind of effect. But I also made the guys do it that way, which none of them are used to. I freaked them all out but in the end, I think it really helped to create that sense of movement, that sense of a journey, that emotional connection in each song. (Familiar) - Rachel Sanders

"No Depression - See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard - Feature"

TORONTO -- When it comes to fate, whether an unseen hand guides us through the coincidences and occurrences of our lives, Megan Hamilton says she remains uncertain … except when it comes to her own story of becoming a singer-songwriter.

“I am really on the fence about whether everything we see is what we see or whether there is some predestination. I will change my mind hourly. But if I believe things conspire to shape how we go through life, it all fell into place very interestingly for me,” says Hamilton, whose third recording, See Your Midnight Breath In The Shipyard, is officially released this week via the indie label Familiar Music.

And to hear her story is to wonder about the unlikely constellation of circumstances that can steer a life into unpredictable but rewarding directions.

Hamilton confesses she was not someone driven from an early age to become a recording artist. Her creative spark initially found an outlet in acting, which she studied and practiced for several years, but by her mid-20s she had grown dissatisfied with scrabbling for work and the hassles and compromises that were part of the profession. She shifted to playwriting, then theatrical production and privately turned to music.

“I picked up a guitar and started writing songs. It was a private thing I did just for myself. I didn’t want it to get tainted like acting did, turned into something I didn’t like.” Occasionally she would perform her songs at a weekly writers’ series she started in Toronto called My Word. Musician/producer Mark Vogelsang, who Hamilton had met through her theatrical work, saw her sing at a My Word soiree and he asked if she’d mind serving as a singing guinea pig; Vogelsang had a new microphone he wanted to try out. The subsequent mic-testing session yielded a demo tape and a new creative direction for Hamilton.

“Everything felt right,” she says. “As soon as I made that decision (to shift to music), all this stuff happened. I got positive feedback for what I want to do, and suddenly all these great things happened.”

What great things? For starters, a casual online and after-show friendship she started with the members of My Morning Jacket translated into an offer to open for the band at their Toronto show – all this before Hamilton had even managed to assemble a backing band. She rallied some musicians and opened the show. “I’m surprised I didn’t have a heart attack,” she recalls of opening for her favorite band.

Then there are the two albums she recorded with Vogelsang. Feudal Ladies Club (2006) was made in an old community hall in Saskatchewan. They followed up the next year with how we think about light – both characterized by a sound that reflects their creation in non-traditional recording environments. By contrast, See Your Midnight Breath In The Shipyard was recorded by Vogelsang in a traditional recording studio, but with an unusual twist. The producer cast different songs and sounds on the album as if they were recorded in different parts of an old boat.

“I have always been into water and especially the sounds, the sway of being on a boat. I like swimming,” Hamilton says. The song “Wherever You Are” had an overt aquatic theme and she had composed for the CD liner notes a memoir of a summer camp night sitting on a dock. “That feeling summed up how I felt about the album and the experience of recording it. I can’t explain it other than to say it is evocative of that feeling.”

Vogelsang was energized by the nautical concept and immediately set to work researching the reflective sonic properties of various textures aboard a ship, then mapped out his findings in a diagram that resembles something out of Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and he applied those effects to elements of Hamilton’s songs.

Producer Mark Vogelsang's ocean-going sonic production diagram for Megan Hamilton's record

The result is the most fully realized set of Hamilton’s young career. It’s the first time she arranged, rehearsed and played in the studio with her backing band, The Volunteer Canola and their support on new numbers like “Cat Tail Legs” and “Sprout Through The Load” rock convincingly. But Hamilton’s evocative wordplay and winsome delivery is still her ace, best displayed on “Wherever You Are” and the luminous, devotional closer “Moth.”

One might assume music as intensely emotional as Hamilton’s would be draining to perform, but the singer says it’s actually the opposite. “I could be having a really, really bad day, and if I have practice that night, I leave after and I am totally rejuvenated. Something about singing and playing guitar wipes that stuff out. Maybe that is something I didn’t consciously know back in the day. It just made me feel good. It wipes everything out. You put everything that is happening into this release,” she says.

“I always felt if you do things that feel comfortable to you and you have a sense of yourself and a sense of humor and you have a hand in all your dealings and you are grounded, then you are going to be okay.” - Paul Cantin

"Eye Weekly - Street Spirit - Feature - See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard"

Megan Hamilton’s voice is what trips people up. It’s not that her singing is harsh, tuneless or even terribly idiosyncratic — quite the contrary. The Torontonian singer-songwriter is possessed of a rich, resonant set of pipes. Her vocals are husky and malleable, a smoky, wood-fired alto with lovely undertones of rust, tequila and threadbare flannel. Depending on the song, Hamilton can muster anything from the elastic-band hiccup of Joanna Newsom to the sun-soaked drawl of Lucinda Williams, and that may be where the confusion lies.

With its weathered qualities, Hamilton’s voice is suited to folksy, rootsy arrangements. Listen to the opening drum-roll and the first few notes of “Cat Tail Legs,” a mournful shuffle from her new album, See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard (Familiar), and you might assume you’re listening to the latest in a long line of spitfires, a worthy inheritor of Kathleen Edwards’ twangy throne.

But once you make it past the intro and settle into the groove of the song, the creaks and echoes and nifty nooks and crannies in its arrangement, it’s clear that Hamilton’s working with a different sonic framework. “Cat Tail Legs” cracks open with a swaggering squall of saloon piano and snarled electric guitar; Hamilton sounds more like Stevie Nicks than any high lonesome cowgirl amidst the maelstrom. Elsewhere, vocal reverb adds overlapping ghostly moans beneath the winsome madrigal of “From Here To Vancouver.”

Hamilton is more likely to obsess over the textured sonic tapestry of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch or the specific guitar tones on Big Star’s Sister Lovers than any straightforward singer-songwriter fare.

“I know I’ve got people who like folk and roots music at my live shows, and I know I started a label that seems to be putting out folk and roots music, but I’ve never been a folkie,” she states, cheerfully but firmly. “I love sounds and I love textures and I love production that’s subtle and intricate and enhances the songs. It just took me a while before I was able to translate that within my own work. I’ve only been doing this for about five years, and I had to figure out how to get to the sound that I really wanted. Mark has always been really helpful with that.”

That would be Mark Vogelsang, the award-winning sound designer and producer-engineer who has as much to do with the captivating complexity of SYMBitS as Hamilton herself. The two have been working together for years; Hamilton claims they share a similar reverence for the process of recording and have an intimate understanding of each other’s moods. (“Sometimes I cry in the middle of recording because I get so emotional,” she laughs, “and he doesn’t freak out. You can’t ask for much more than that.”)

On SYMBitS, Vogelsang helped Hamilton translate the spark of an idea — a nostalgic and formative memory from childhood — into a complicated but awesome concept. Originally, the singer-songwriter had hoped to make an ambitious concept album, for which she’d planned to hole up at her dad’s farm in the country for three months with a guitar for company and write a story-based record from start to finish. Grant funding didn’t co-operate, so Hamilton consulted with her inner child to come up with what seemed like a more manageable plan.

“I kept remembering the first time I was at camp when I was a kid,” she begins. “My camp was right down the road from the cabin where Tom Thomson was found. Pretty neat, huh? So anyhow, I was 10, and it was the first time I’d been to a dance. We were all on this docked boat, and a boy — actually, it was Pierre Trudeau’s son — asked me to dance. Afterward, I remember having this feeling. It was a very clear night, quite chilly. It was dark and late at night, and I remember sitting by myself at the dock, holding my knees and feeling just so overwhelmed and full. Ever since then, when I’m in a marina at night, I get that sense. It’s the sound of the ropes against the masts, the waves against the dock. I can’t quite describe it.”

What she couldn’t put into words, Vogelsang tried to achieve with sound. Ships and oceans and nautical imagery surfaced as some of the prominent themes in the collection of songs Hamilton hoped to record. The sound designer ran with the idea of a ship and channelled the pair’s shared love of reverb into a crazy challenge: to record and mix the album as though it had been created within a ship. This required him to figure out what the drums would sound like on deck if someone was whacking at a kit down in the boiler room, or what effect waves might have on vocals echoing out over an open body of water.

On Hamilton’s website, you can view a charming musical trailer that features both stop-motion vignettes and Vogelsang’s batshit-nuts conceptual diagram of his sonic set-up, which resembles a rogue storyboard from The Life Aquatic that’s covered in crazy annotated equations and descriptions. And, as Hamilton explains, the ship may even have saved her from descending into an imaginary world of cocaine and misery.

“We knew we really wanted to do it in the ’70s, production-wise, and we thought that Fleetwood Mac and Big Star had made albums that had similar emotional themes and elicited similar responses. If I hadn’t recognized that particular feeling,” she laughs, “then maybe it would have ended up sounding like Rumours.” - Sarah Liss

"It's Not The Band... - See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard - Review"

Megan Hamilton's sophomore release See Your Midnight Breath In The Shipyard is to be released on April 7th across Canada, and it really is a hauntingly beautiful piece of work. She continues to keep her feet firmly grounded in the world of ethereal folk rock, but the combination of experimental arrangements and her unique and slightly strange voice helps this one rise above your typical indie fare.

The album opens with a few strained plucks on the guitar before a song intriguingly titled Throw It Down The Drain With Your Morning Coffee Grinds kicks in. Megan's voice is impossible to ignore, and her lyrical whimsy is fully evident right from the get-go as this song addresses the topic of eventual hopelessness, but somehow manages to do so in a positive way. From Here To Vancouver shuffles along almost waltz-like, as the lyrics are sung in a Dylan-esque poetic fashion. Hamilton had a full band present with her for this album and this becomes really evident on the rockier tracks, such as Sprout Through the Load or the amazing Cat Tail Legs where the shredding guitar work is fuzzed out and insane. Lyrics like ,"I don't care if nobody wants me. You can take that however you feel" are delivered as plainly as they've been written, and the song is one of many where the build up really knocks you to your senses. There are bluesier numbers like One Day, where the vocals and subdued piano work together to evoke the feeling of being in the lounge of a dirty ship at 3am. Not sure if that's what they were going for but that's how it feels to me. There are also straight ahead country numbers like Why Do We Cry, hypnotic choral moments like We All Love You, and songs that are just bizarre and funny like I <3 Computers. The album is a triumph in that it remains very cohesive and fluid, while still displaying enough variety to keep things interesting. Hamilton mentioned in an interview that she had been listening to Big Star's Third during this time, and nowhere is this more evident than in Wherever You Are which is a song that under different circumstances would be very warm sounding, but in the hands of co-producer, engineer and creative partner Mark Vogelsang, quite the opposite is accomplished in that it's actually got a colder feel to it.

Combining the folksy earthiness of Buffy Sainte-Maire with the starry eclecticism of Joanna Newsom, See Your Midnight Breath In The Shipyard is connecting with me on a different level than I'm used to, and after I'd listened to it once, I found myself craving for it later. - It's Not Band I Hate... Blog

"BlogCritics review See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard"

"My favourite album of the year"

When I was a child, I used to pretend that my bed was a ship taking me off somewhere. I didn’t particularly have a destination in mind, but in my years of uneasy sleep I’d soothe myself with the notion of drifting off with the comforting pull and push of the ocean beneath.

In making See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard, Toronto’s Megan Hamilton had a co-producer explore the sonic qualities in different rooms on a variety of ships. Studying sound characteristics, such as the properties of voices breathing in cold air, led Mark Vogelsang to construct a theme for the record. “The original idea, similar to the other albums, was to create an environment for the listener to reside in during the entire album,” he says.

Trying to create “music from another room” appears to be a lost art in a sea of popular music infused with that fresh, in-studio quality.

See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard, however, is a record that serves as a surreal vehicle of transport. The lonesome, unfathomable hulls of massive ships standing in the low waves provide lingering imagery as they wait to return to the sea.

As a child, the exercise of mentally transporting myself to a craft was perhaps an exercise in escaping solitude and of feeling part of something more than it was an exercise to get some sleep.

Hamilton’s record inhabits the immense structures of wood and steel, invoking both love and misery. Her voice meanders through the intimacy of an odd room and the span of a colossal deck, pacing the course with reflection. The instruments draw near and far, bowing and increasing their drift in time.

“Throw It Down the Drain With Your Morning Coffee Grinds” opens the album. Hamilton, who has written plays and short stories, shares with neat phrases and nomadic statements. Craig Browne’s guitar deftly punctuates, while Adam White’s bass and Steve Puchalski’s keys live in the shadowy corridors.

The music works clearly because Hamilton’s voice presents the stories with such openness. Soul-baringly sweet, the cracks and upper edges of her tone offer vulnerability and truthfulness.

“I <3 Computers” sways with a sluggish step. “Speak to me rationally,” Megan sings before going off the rails with greatly entertaining lines like “My floppy disk appreciates your hard drive.”

She's also not afraid to rip the doors off, with the scorching "Sprout Through the Load."

The sprawling, gorgeous and splendid “Wherever You Are” is perhaps my favorite song. Guitar pushes Megan’s coated vocals along, granting them nerve as the piece picks up momentum. She holds onto notes, playing with them in mid-air until you think you could shed tears.

As a child in a dream ship, perhaps escaping loneliness or perhaps just trying to get some sleep, Hamilton’s See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard might have been the ideal soundtrack. Its sincerity, natural emotion, skill, and stunning consistency are hard to resist, but it’s the magnificent ache of these songs that made me cry. - BC BlogCritics


"Feudal Ladies Club" (LP, April 2006 - FM 0101, Familiar Music); "how we think about light" (EP, July 2007 - FM 0102, Familiar Music); "See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard" (LP, April 7, 2009 - FM 0103)

Music is streamed in a variety of locations, most notably:, and on CBC Radio 3.



Megan Hamilton finds a lot of joy in music. She has released 4 recordings and is about to unleash her 5th – Forty Warm Streams to Lead Your Wings, a full length piece produced by Jim Bryson. Recorded over several months with many trips between Kingston and Ottawa, FWSTLYW demonstrates a step forward in pop sensibilities, a reuniting with dreamy reverb and a little bit of the unexpected. This is Megan’s 2nd release with Ottawa dreamboat Jim Bryson. In Snow Moon, a 3 song EP released in 2013, the two worked together for the first time, forging a strong working relationship. FWSTLYW pushes Hamilton’s boundaries in a way that both naturally follows her trajectory of releases since 2006, and forces honesty into her work. Jim made her work hard. She examines life in her 5th decade, what it’s like to be married and to be a Mom, but still want to play music until 2 in the morning. And the 6am wake up the morning after.

She has toured across Canada from Newfoundland to BC. She’s played in Kentucky, Alabama and Texas. Her records have done nicely by the media. She’s played some neat festivals and opened for some of her favourite bands including Pink Mountaintops, Shotgun Jimmie, The Wilderness of Manitoba, and most outrageously My Morning Jacket.

Band Members