Meghan Patrick

Since making her debut with 2016’s multi-award-winning Grace & Grit, Meghan Patrick has embodied the kind of unbridled truth-telling that leaves listeners feeling undeniably seen and understood. A back-to-back CCMA Female Artist of the Year whose accolades also include 18 CMAOntario Awards, the Nashville-based artist doubled down on that soul-baring specificity in the making of her latest project, The Greatest Show On Dirt. Over the course of the EP’s six intimately detailed tracks, the rural-Ontario-born singer/songwriter sets her storytelling to a high-energy but expansive sound that stretches beyond the boundaries of country—a move befitting of a musician whose background includes co-founding an all-girl band at age 13, studying opera and jazz, fronting a 10-piece funk act that once opened for Aretha Franklin, and touring extensively as part of a bluegrass group. Anchored in the powerful vocal work she’s brought to the stage as support for legends like Dwight Yoakam and top artists including Keith Urban, Old Dominion, Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne and more, the result is a body of work that captures the nuances of her emotional experience with equal parts boldness, humor, and wildly colorful originality.

“It’s always been important for me to be completely honest in my music, but I think this is the first time I’ve had the bravery that it takes to get to place where you can be 100 percent open about every aspect of yourself—the good and the bad, and not just the parts that you hear about in songs on the radio,” says Patrick. “I want to make music that has real longevity, and the only way to do that is to peel back the layers and be unapologetically yourself.”

Produced by Joey Hyde (Jake Owen, The Band CAMINO) and Aaron Eshuis (Rascal Flatts, Cole Swindell), The Greatest Show On Dirt kicks off with lead single “She’s No Good For Me”—a smoldering and fearlessly self-aware track that Patrick considers a major breakthrough in making her way toward the EP’s unguarded self-expression. “That song was definitely new territory as far as acknowledging some of the not-so-great moments in my past,” she says. “It came from looking back on a time when I was drinking too much and making bad decisions for my health and in my relationships, but I wanted to make the point that the first step to healing is recognizing that you need to heal. I’d never heard that exact idea in a song before, and it felt like a catalyst for digging deeper in my songwriting.”

All throughout The Greatest Show On Dirt, Patrick lets her down-to-earth personality and whip-smart point of view shine to full effect, bringing a dazzling subjectivity to songs like “Ours” (a fiery reflection on “watching your ex hit copy-and-paste on your relationship with whoever they date next”) and “Truck Breaks Down” (a gorgeously aching account of “knowing someone’s about to end things, and thinking of everything that could potentially stop them from coming to break your heart”). On the EP’s title track, meanwhile, Patrick matches her gritty authenticity with a starry-eyed narrative that’s cinematic in detail. “There’s plenty of songs about those breakups that ruin your life, so I wanted to write a breakup song that’s more of a nostalgic throwback to a summer romance—something that brings you back to this little moment in time when everything felt right,” she says.

The most darkly charged moment on The Greatest Show On Dirt, “Red Roses & Red Flags” documents the demise of a toxic relationship. With its hypnotic guitar tones, brooding rhythms, and frenetic banjo runs (courtesy of Ilya Toshinskiy, a Russian musician who’s also worked with Tim McGraw and Kacey Musgraves), the haunting yet glorious track finds Patrick’s voice taking on a thrilling intensity as she delivers one brilliantly scathing line after another (e.g., “You’ll be back in the morning/After you’ve paid the florist/With whatever ain’t on the bar tab”). “It’s the story of a scenario I’ve been in time and time again, where a guy screws up and thinks it’ll fix everything if he goes out and buys you flowers,” she says. “He’s talking about how he’s gonna change and be a better man and you’re just thinking, ‘It’s done, I’m over it. I’m already halfway out the door.’”

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