On the Download: Megan Burtt's "It Ain't Love"

September 27 2010, 1:30 PM

Album: It Ain’t Love

Artist: Megan Burtt

Label: Self-released

Hometown: Denver

Where to Find It: MeganBurtt.com

Why We Like It: When Megan Burtt won the 2010 Songwriter Showcase contest in August at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, she wasn’t permitted to perform with her band, The Cure for Love. The rules dictated that she stand alone and lay her songs bare before audiences on the main stage. Clearly, the music held up to the judges’ scrutiny.

On the twentysomething’s debut release, It Ain’t Love, she enjoys the full support of the New York musicians. But I don’t mean to imply that she needs the help. On songs with sparse instrumentation, like "One Wing," which features Burtt on piano and a string arrangement, her voice straddles strength and vulnerability. Still, with the support of the band, her songs bloom and can at times make you want to dance to what essentially is a folk song.

Burtt's voice might remind you of Sarah McLachlan, but then she'll embrace an Americana moment and recall Bonnie Raitt. She could likely impress us with a complex melody or a roller-coaster ride through her vocal range, but that's not the point. In her restraint, we find her personal struggles, with hints of anger, resentment, and insecurity. This is a love album, but it’s not romantic. In fact, it’s a bummer without being overly dramatic. It’s that moment when you say, "Wait. What I feel for this person I’m with...it ain’t love."