Megan Luttrell
EPK Pro

Megan Luttrell

Lawrence, Kansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

Music

Press


"Women Are Bringing Bluegrass Back"

It's no coincidence that country and bluegrass found a home at Kaw Valley Public House. A lot of the groundwork was laid by a woman who can easily be pinned as the hardest-working solo musician in the scene. Megan Luttrell has been booking songwriter showcases (as well as her own solo shows) non-stop for months. Not a single week goes by without a Megan Luttrell show on the calendar. She'll play anywhere that's not Downtown, and the results are paying off. Her decision to book shows in this manner was born out of the same place as Jenna Rae's frustrations-- a lack of representation for women in country music. "I performed at Kaw Valley back in February. The owner, Jeff Groves, and I were talking about how there didn't seem to be many solo women musicians in the area," she says. "I had a few people in mind for the first showcase in April. Now, I don't have a free spot until November!"
Luttrell's showcases aren't your average performances. The unique setup allows musicians to play in rounds. That means they all sit on the stage area at the same time, but take turns playing and talking about their songs. "What I envisioned was something like a musical conversation between the artists onstage," she details. "I wanted us to play in the round and explain a little bit about what inspired a song or say something about the songwriting process. I thought this would help the audience appreciate songwriters more,to show that music doesn't just appear out of the ether."
Through this method, fans got to learn a little bit more about Luttrell. For one, you can call her doctor Megan Luttrell. She has a PhD in Slavic languages, and left the world of teaching Russian to pursue music full-time. Remarkably, it's working out not just for Luttrell, but for many of her peers in the same boat."when I first started playing in Lawrence, I seem to be the only solo female performer I saw it. I think part of this underrepresentation is linked to the fact that women are often plagued by self-doubt and harsh and her criticism. Me second-guess ourselves," she confides. "end music you have to be aggressive to get booked. You have to follow up with venues over and over again, advocate for yourself, know your worth, ask to be paid fairly, and you have to advertise yourself. Telling strangers are good you are a is really hard when you are constantly doubting yourself."
the single theory of lifting each other up is The binding thread that connects musicians like Megan Luttrell and Jenna Rae. Both saw an uphill battle for women in their genre and in response, both utilized new methods to elevate their peers. Luttrell, with her nonstop showcases, and Jenna Rae with Lost Cowgirl Records. - I Heart Local Music


"Sound: Punk it like a Ramone, Play it like a Pugacheva"

Megan Luttrell
Singer-songwriter Megan Luttrell is a busy, busy artist. While we sip coffee and tea near the back of Wheatfields, I try to calculate how many shows shell have performed, just in that week alone. The count is a respectable three, but it would have been an astonishing four, had Kaw Valley Public House not had a touring band on that Monday, the day when Luttrell normally hosts an open mic. So it's three, but nonetheless three in a row: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
"Sometimes, it's five, because I do a winery on Sundays, sometimes," Luttrell says, counting the days off on her fingers, "Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday--and that's why I drink a lot of honey in my tea. I like Janis Joplin, but I don't want to be like, [and here she emits a deep Joplineque growl], all the time. Maybe not a female Tom Waits on every song."
Luttrell says all of this with a laugh, but her hustle's pretty necessary. She graduated in December of 2018 with a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Kansas. Right after graduation she got a job as a lecturer in Russian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "The job market is bleak as hell, and it was amazing to get a job," Luttrell explains of her good fortune, which was immediately followed by terrible news.
Three weeks into the semester, her mother died unexpectedly. At that point, Luttrell made what she describes as the hardest decision of her life to quit academics and take a job with total freedom that would allow her to assist her father if necessary, Her transformation from instructor to overqualified wage worker is explained in her witty and clever song, "Folk Singer," which contains the forthrightly honest line, "I sell CDs at five apiece and hope to make ends meet."
But in person, Luttrell describes it all with a shrug and a sip of her hot tea.
"Music was my only other marketable skill, so I ran with it," Luttrell says. "And now it's my life. I love it, and I'm happy. I miss teaching, but I love music.
When I ask if hosting open mics and doing her curated all-women monthly showcase at the Kaw Valley Public House carries over some of the same aspects of teaching, Luttrell cautiously agrees, saying it's almost like teaching, but that she doesn't consider herself a musical expert in the same way that she's a Russian language expert.
At the beginning, singing was the diversion from studying.
"I do like the fact that I got my start at an open mic, years ago, when I couldn't stand doing only grad school," she explains. A friend told her of an open mic night at the Gaslight she absolutely had to attend, so she did. "Local musicians said, 'You sing well, so you should sing other places.' So, I got my start there, and now I'm hosting one, and I feel like I get to do what other musicians did for me."
That spirit is especially true for her monthly female showcase because, as Luttrell states, when she started out, "It was all guys. Unless you were playing tambourine or harmonizing with somebody, you were a dude. There were no women solo--at all."
Luttrell describes the showcase that she hosts as an opportunity for women performers who might have written one original song to meet other like-minded individuals and develop their craft.
"For me to be meeting women, and for me to be able to reach out and say, 'You're good' or 'I've heard of you,' or just randomly posting on Facebook forums--that's a huge thing for them, and I feel so glad to be able to be a facilitator," Luttrell says. "It makes me really happy."
The Showcase
Megan Luttrell hosts the Monday open mic night as well as the monthly all-female singer-songwriter showcase, at the Kaw Valley Public House, 444 Locust ST. Dates and information can be found at www.meganluttrell.com

Story by Nick Spacek
Photography by Fally Afani - Lawrence Magazine


"Five Lawrence Musicians to Watch in 2021"

It feels like we’re finally in a position to start looking ahead. Vaccines are already rolling out in Lawrence, venues are starting to get some assistance from a relief bill, and we’re already eagerly putting together a potential concert calendar. It’ll take a while to see touring bands come back to our stages, but we take comfort in the fact that it will take ZERO seconds to get local musicians in our venues and performing live when it’s safe to see concerts again.

Luckily, Lawrence is a music town. Venues will have their pick of musicians to choose from, and we’ve kept our eyes on some of the busier ones. While it’s perfectly ok to lay low during the pandemic, we couldn’t help but notice some musicians really putting in work to come back strong in 2021. Here are some of the top Lawrence musicians to watch in 2021:
Megan Luttrell
One has to wonder if Megan Luttrell has the same number of hours in her day as the rest of us. In addition to being one of the region’s biggest breakout stars, Megan has also gone above and beyond to bring music to her community. She organizes showcases featuring women in the music scene as often as she can, has kept them in front of audiences during COVID thanks to live streaming, and is now helping the Lumberyard Arts Center in Baldwin develop a live music program. Over the course of 2021, she’ll be gathering input from the community to develop both live entertainment and music education programs for the region. - I Heart Local Music


"We Recommend Local Music: Megan Luttrell"

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Megan Luttrell's music is a classic Midwestern mix of folk, blues and country and yet still more than the sum of these parts. With an instantly recognizable voice in the style of Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge, Luttrell already has one album under her belt (2016's Broken Bottles) and a recent single called "Miss You." We are fortunate to share an exclusive interview with Luttrell about her music, background and book recommendations, too.

*

Tell us about your music. How would you describe your style?

That is always such a hard question! I describe my sound as a mixture of folk, roots, Americana, blues, and classic country; powerhouse female vocals accompanied on acoustic guitar.


You recently released a new EP, Miss You. How did this EP come together? What did you learn from the recording process that you’ll take to future projects?

I recorded two songs, "Miss You" and "Folk Singer," with Matthew Mulnix after playing in one of his Lawrence Songwriter Showcases at S&S. "Miss You" is a song that I wrote years ago and never really played that often. I was going through some old music and showed it to my husband, who really liked it. He encouraged me to keep working on it and when I got it to place that I liked, it because one of my favorite songs I'd written. "Folk Singer" is something I wrote right before I defended my dissertation in December 2018. I had always felt torn between academia and music and this song became the anthem for my confusion. I had the funds to record two songs and these were the ones that really stuck with me at the time. I learned from this experience that it is so helpful to play with a metronome! It really helps the other musicians playing on the songs. It's something I will do from here on out when recording. I also learned to be clear about what I want from the recording, to go into it with clear goals and ideas so that the end product really captures the sound and feel that I'm trying to achieve.


Describe your creative process. Does music come easy to you or are you a heavy editor of your work?

Writing is something that has always come pretty easily, but it definitely comes in waves. In the past I would write a fully-formed song in one sitting and I didn't do a lot of editing. This is probably why I have a lot of songs that I have never really played. I am revisiting older songs that were just ok and reworking them into something better. Still, there are a lot of times where an entire song just kind of falls out of me without much editing. Sometimes a song forms around an idea, a phrase, a feeling, or just a single word. There have been a few times where I have dreamed that I am playing a song that I haven't written in real life yet.

When did you first start writing songs? Who were some of your earliest influences?

I started making up little songs as a kid, but didn't get into real songwriting until high school. I remember that Michelle Branch was popular then. Seeing a young woman singing songs she had written and playing the guitar was really inspiring. I listened to all kinds of music in high school, from pop to folk to metal, so it's hard to pinpoint specific influences. My mom was in a lot of bands when I was growing up and I was always inspired by her and the music she played (Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, Rolling Stones etc.). My dad and I listened to things like The Who, Van Morrison, and The Band when we were in the car together.


What new music are you currently raving about?

Another hard question! I know that when people ask me about what I listen to I always forget some of my absolute favorites. New music I'm raving about (I would say new to me, not new in general) would be mostly local artists I have had the pleasure of seeing perform. For example, I saw Carter Sampson play at Folk Alliance a couple of years ago and have been listening to her a ton lately. We actually had one of her songs as our first dance at our wedding. I did a songwriter showcase with one of the singers in the group Blue False Indigo and just fell in love with their sound. Other artists I've recently seen and really liked are Erin Eades, Kat King and her band The Typing Pool, and Signal Ridge. Though not a local group, I am also really enjoying War on Drugs lately.

What’s ahead for you in 2020?

I will continue to book shows in the Lawrence, Topeka, and Kansas City areas. I'll also keep hosting the Women's Songwriter Showcase each month at the Kaw Valley Public House in Lawrence. I'm really excited about the April show because it is the one year anniversary of the showcase. I'm putting together an all-day reunion show for April 4th. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Lawrence Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center. Other than booking and hosting the showcase I will keep writing new music and, if it works out financially, to record my second album.

-Bryan V. Johnson County Library - Johnson County Library


"Not To Miss Music in May"

On the heels of the absolutely devastating news of Frank’s closing (ow, our hearts!), it’s important to remember that if nothing else, North Lawrence is full of self-sustaining charm.

That’s likely why folk and bluegrass, among other genres, are having a heyday in the region. The Gaslight is still burning bright, but just down the street (and, coincidentally, next door to Frank’s) is a new sanctuary for songwriters.

Over the course of just a few weeks, Kaw Valley Public House has become a household name in the folk and bluegrass music scene. The scenery is gorgeous and the shows are plentiful. Any night of the week, you can likely walk into the bar (which opens to a spacious patio with plenty of seating and space heaters) to find musicians plucking away in the back of the venue. It’s generally all smiles as the townfolk get cozy in that corridor. So far, KVPH has seen the likes of Til Willis, Unfit Wives, and many more roll through.

On Thursday, they were hosting the second installment of Megan Luttrell’s all-female singer-songwriter showcase. Luttrell, along with Jamie Benvenutti, Erin Eades, and Julie Bennett Hume, played in rounds (that means they all took the stage at once, and each took a turn playing a song and talking a little bit about the inspiration behind the song). Together, they belted ballads about heartbreak, bad decisions, and Russian literature… because these gals are clever AF.

Kaw Valley Public House is nothing but pleasant. Just, wonderful. It’s where the town will likely head all Summer long to divide their auditory attention between the plentiful folk and bluegrass shows and the trains wizzing by across the street. - Fally Afani of I Heart Local Music


"Not to Miss Music in January"

One of the biggest breakout stars of the past year is Megan Luttrell. You’ve probably seen the folk musician’s name plastered everywhere. She’s been busy, playing all over town every week (she hosts an open mic every Monday). Never limiting herself to Downtown Lawrence, she has booked showcases in both South and North Lawrence. Her Kaw Valley Public House showcases, however, are where she shines.
The All Women’s Singer-Songwriter Showcase features a rotating cast of folk, bluegrass, indie, and pop musicians. This is where four women gather, all taking the stage at once. They take turns, with one musician performing one song at a time, while the others listen to their song introductions and performances. It’s a cozy and amiable affair that strengthens the bond between the female solo musicians in town. There’s no better way to start the year than by getting familiar with this ultra-supportive and camaraderie-building event. - Unmistakable Lawrence


"The best music videos we’ve seen from local musicians since the start of the pandemic"

Megan Luttrell’s John Prine tribute
After famed and beloved songwriter John Prine fell victim to COVID-19, local musician (and popular open mic organizer) Megan Luttrell started posting a series of John Prine covers and tributes. This one, however, garnered thousands of views. It’s simply a humble video shot on her phone, but it doesn’t need much more because it’s perfect. Here’s her cover of “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” - I Heart Local Music


"Single Sentence Singles from local musicians: October edition"

Featuring Matthew Mulnix on bass and the fiddle work of Shannon O’Shea, this new cut from Lawrence’s number one solo musician is upbeat and kicky, but with lyrics that will tug at your heartstrings, encapsulating Luttrell’s music in one perfect three-minute song. - The Pitch KC


"The best music videos we’ve seen from local musicians since the start of the pandemic"

Megan Luttrell’s John Prine tribute
After famed and beloved songwriter John Prine fell victim to COVID-19, local musician (and popular open mic organizer) Megan Luttrell started posting a series of John Prine covers and tributes. This one, however, garnered thousands of views. It’s simply a humble video shot on her phone, but it doesn’t need much more because it’s perfect. Here’s her cover of “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” - Unmistakabley Lawrence


"KU alumna hosts all-women’s singer-songwriter showcase in north Lawrence"

University of Kansas graduate and co-host Megan Luttrell organized an all-women’s singer-songwriter showcase at the Kaw Valley Public House on Dec. 5.

Luttrell performed alongside Emily Stilwell, Ami Tweedy and Sam Wells. Each musician at the showcase took turns performing original music while giving the backstory on how each song was created.

Luttrell said this is the space’s eighth all-women’s showcase, and each showcase has featured different female singer-songwriters.

“It’s so cool to see people excited about [female] musicians,” she continued.

Luttrell, originally from Massachusetts, moved to Kansas in 2011 to receive her master’s degree in Russian. After graduating from the University, she moved to Nebraska to become a visiting professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When her mother passed away unexpectedly, she said she moved back to Kansas to pursue a career in music.
Luttrell said it was difficult to find a job in Kansas that was related to her degree, which is why she chose to commit to music full time. She said she considers herself a folk singer but doesn’t confine herself to one genre.

“None of the stuff I listened to translated into what I was writing,” Luttrell said. “I just wrote what felt good.”

Luttrell said she has performed at other venues in Lawrence, including Gaslight Gardens, Replay Lounge and the Jazzhaus.

Luttrell and Jeffrey Groves, owner and operator of the Kaw Valley Public House, both decided it was time to create an all-women’s showcase to give female representation in the Lawrence community.

Three women sit while holding guitars as they sing into microphones
From left to right: Ami Tweedy, Emily Stilwell and Megan Luttrell perform at the all female singer-songwriter showcase at Kaw Valley Public House on Dec. 5. This was the eighth all-women's showcase, Luttrell said.

Rachel Kivo/UDK
“It’s a great thing to support and wasn’t getting a lot of exposure,” Groves said.

Most musicians who perform at the space in north Lawrence are local artists, Groves said.

“There’s a ton of musicians in Lawrence and not enough venues to truly support all the artists that we have here,” Groves said.

Luttrell said the showcase is interesting to watch because each singer-songwriter has a different musical style.

“There’s nothing else that we have in common other than we’re female musicians,” Luttrell said. “We’re so different.”

In April 2020, Luttrell and Groves will host a reunion show at the Kaw Valley Public House, featuring all of the 27 female musicians who performed at each showcase.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” Groves said. - University Daily Kansas


"Melvin Litton Reviews Megan Luttrell"

First heard of Megan from my buddy Outlaw Jake about 4 years ago, he said, "Ya gotta hear this gal sing, she's got one helluva voice!" He was right and then some, from her own song "Broken Hearts 'n Broken Bottles" to Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and Joplin's "Bobby Mcgee" she had me at the get-go. And she's joined us on the Gothic Cowboy Show at Frank's North Star many times since. She's got sass, beauty, presence, and a voice that rings true like a tuning fork to the heart -- better catch her while she's still local, cause any gal who can drive home "Folsom" by the great Johnny Cash is goin' places! - Melvin Litton, Host of the Gothic Cowboy Review Singer-songwriter Showcase


"Kaw Valley Public House Reviews Megan Luttrell"

Megan has played Kaw Valley Public House twice already in our short history and we hope she'll be back many more times. She's a talented singer and songwriter and a professional performer. We can't wait to watch her career continue to evolve and expand. - Jeff Groves Kaw Valley Public House


"S&S Reviews Megan Luttrell"

We love having Megan Luttrell at S&S Artisan Pub & Coffeehouse. Her vocals and music is beautifully diverse and her stage presence and audience engagement are warm and welcoming. - Lori Sellers-Trenholm of S&S Artisan Pub and Coffeehouse


"Sue of Phoenix Gallery Reviews Megan Luttrell"

We have booked Megan several times at the Phoenix Gallery for our art walks. She is amazing! Her voice, musical talents and extensive repertoire make her a favorite every time she performs!
She is a beautiful soul and it shows through her music. We are lucky to have her in our area! - Phoenix Gallery


Discography

"Just Out of Reach" (single) released 2020

"Burn" (single) Released 2020

"Miss You EP" Released 2019
1. Miss You
2. Folk Singer

"Broken Bottles" Released 2016
1. Breathless
2. Pretend
3. Regret
4. One More Shot
5. Deeper
6. Broken Bottles
7. Addicts

Photos

Bio

Singer-songwriter Megan Luttrell, "one of the biggest breakout stars of the past year,” (Unmistakabley Lawrence), is known for powerhouse vocals and compelling original music. She recently made music her full-time career and is taking the Lawrence music scene by storm. She was voted first place in Best of Lawrence's Best Solo Musician category in 2020, hosted the Kaw Valley Public House open mic before the COVID-19 pandemic, started and hosts the Women’s Songwriter Showcase, an event gaining recognition in local media, and is working to create a live music program in Baldwin City along with the Lumberyard Arts Center. She was recognized for her work to support women in music when she won second place in the Kansas City People’s Choice Awards for the artist doing the most good for the local music scene.

Megan has always loved music, and has been singing since before she can remember. She began playing the guitar around the age of 14 and immediately threw herself into songwriting. WFHB Radio (Bloomingto, IN), describes her sound as, "a big country, Americana, blues-style voice. Her songs are beautifully powerful." Megan released her debut album "Broken Bottles" in June 2016, and her singles, “Miss You” and “Folk Singer"“ in April 2019, which won 4th place in the 2019 Kansas City People’s Choice Awards. She released her latest single. "Hold On (Not Too Long)," in April 2021, and is in the early stages of recording a second album.

Band Members