Photos by Rachel Stauffer
Her voice will encapsulate you. She sings directly from her soul with such ease, but with touches of angst laced throughout her words. Her voice comes from a place of living through various experiences with equal amounts of smooth soul, courage, and grit.
Megan McDermott, lead singer of Meg and the Right Sound, started her band as a duo with guitarist and backup vocalist, Jason Sherman. “Initially, we thought we could have a rotating band of sorts, where the two of us were constant, but we would invite other musicians to play with us to change things up,” Megan explains over a lip-smacking pint of pumpkin beer.
Then Megan and Jason decided that bassist, Chris Jakubowicz, was the perfect match for their sound and asked him to join their team as another member. The original drummer, Jeremy Bentley, recorded the album with the band. Currently, Tony Kirchner (who also plays in Slimfit and other local projects) has joined percussive forces with Meg and the Right Sound.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be a freelance performer,” Tony says. “I’ve played with a lot of different bands, and I’ve been so lucky to work on my craft in a manner that allows me to share what I’ve learned in other experiences and projects.” Tony has found that since joining Meg and the Right Sound, he has been forced to think outside of the box in his stylistic approach. “To think about how I am best able to support the band pushes me in new directions. If I can create the canvas that everyone else paints on top of, then I’m doing my job,” he explains.
As we discuss the history of the band and their experiences in writing music, recording together, and playing live, I quickly get the sense that they consider each other not just friends or bandmates, but family. Every answer to every interview question begins with one band member poking fun at the other and cracking jokes in rapid succession. While they truly take their musical craft seriously, they also know how to have a blast in one another’s company.
When asked where the inspiration for their music comes from, Chris slowly moves his finger up towards his heart, eventually resting it there and smirking. We all laugh. The answer to what genre Meg and the Right Sound fits into is not an easy one. Each member has a different answer, from rock and roll, to indie rock, to soul. But, eventually “Alabama Shakes meets Houndmouth” becomes the unanimous answer upon which the entire band agrees.
Megan, Jason, Chris, and Tony each have their own individual opinions about every topic imaginable, and they bicker like loving siblings over who is giving the best answer. When I compare them to siblings, Chris looks at me and says, laughing, “Now, we don’t hate each other that much.”
Their self-titled album was recorded in November of 2015 at The Kaleidoscope, run by local mix master Ben Roth. “Ben was so much fun to record with,” Jason says. Megan is the brains behind the lyrics of most every song, and Jason writes his own guitar parts as well.
“Once Jason sends me something, I’ll either match his idea to something I’ve already written or I will allow his idea to inspire something new,” Megan says about the band’s writing process. The seedlings of new song ideas are brought to practice and built upon until they blossom into a grander idea.
My own birthday having been just one day prior to their album’s release on March 11 of this year, I say, “So your record is a Pisces? Emotional, but grounded?” And the band actually agrees.
“We usually tell people that the theme is hopeful brokenness,” Megan says, nodding her head, “trying to see the beauty in the darkness and seeing the mess of our lives and making something better out of it.”
And they put on one hell of a show. The band’s favorite place to play live is Tellus360 in downtown Lancaster. However, Megan and Jason still play as just a duo and have even appeared at World Cafe Live, but bigger dreams are fantasized about. “Union Transfer would be a dream place to play,” Megan says with stars in her eyes. Tony replies, “What would we do in all of that space?” to which she answers, giggling, “I would just roll around on the stage.” The band has me laughing and smiling for the entire interview.
“We are complete dorks,” Chris says, and Tony adds, “It’s like that uncomfortable first date.” The magic of their comradery and talent comes together in alignment, whether you’re listening to their album, seeing them play live on stage, or sipping a couple of pints with them at a local brewery.