listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: “Tacoma” by Caitlyn Smith

caitlyn-smith1Caitlyn Smith, the phenomenal singer songwriter that I have gushed about on here before, and included in my top favorite finds of last year. Well, time to gush again because like clockwork, I have her Starfire EP on repeat. Caitlyn Smith’s songs are my go-to for solo trips, whether it’s a long car ride, or a flight (mostly to and from Nashville, I’ll admit,) or even just days I’m sitting in the sunshine soaking up some “me” time when I’m just contemplating life, and taking a moment to reflect. Caitlyn’s songs are raw, vulnerable, real, emotional, powerful messages of her personal journeys and I am in awe of her talent no matter how many times I listen. Of course I have an unending admiration for gritty songwriters. Their profession alone is one that calls for no bs, and here she is, time after time pouring her heart out (I know, sounds familiar right? Listen to “This Town Is Killing Me”) and I feel like I’m experiencing these milestones in her life as she belts them out. On the other hand, let’s also talk about how when I’m in the car alone I sing along at the top of my lungs, and turn the volume down every once in a while, and am reminded just how astoundingly talented she is (because in comparison I sound flat out awful.) If I had an ounce of these girl’s talent, I don’t even know…So, as I basically fan girl to the max here over the wonder of Caitlyn Smith, let me tell you a little about “Tacoma.” I was a late comer to the party, but I heard Bobby Bones podcast with her as she talked about this song being so close to her heart, but how could she turn down the opportunity to have Garth Brooks record one of her songs? (I mean, yeah I get that.) BUT if you know the Brooks version, you have to hear Caitlyn sing it herself. When she gets to that major belt of “might make it to Memphis” it makes something crack inside every time, it’s like it opens up the floodgate to some deep feelings you didn’t even realize you were bottling until the cap pops off. Basically, I’m obsessed with this song, this EP, and it has a high place on the list of music I wish I wrote. So, if you’re not familiar with Caitlyn Smith or her Starfire EP yet, go download it, listen right now, and hopefully you’ll be hooked too!

And because of course I couldn’t leave you hangin’, listen to “Tacoma” right now:

(*Image is not my own.*)

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: The Selection Series

A friend recommended The Selection series by Kiera Cass with the premise of “it’s like a combination of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor.”  Okay, so I don’t watch The Bachelor, but I am a twenty something living in America, so I vaguely know what’s up. Also, as you probably remember I was absolutely obsessed with The Hunger Games. I’ll admit, THG holds a high spot in my heart, so I was a little weary going into this one, but my goodness was I wrong. Cass weaves an intriguing story, mixing romance, friendship, loyalty to self and country all into a web of addicting pages. America Singer is a teenager leaving in a future country long after what we know as America doesn’t exist anymore. Illea is ruled by a monarchy, and it’s time for Prince Maxon to find a wife for him to rule the kingdom in the future with. They use a process called The Selection where women are chosen from each region, to come and live in the castle and go through a dating process very similar to The Bachelor. It was never really part of America’s plan to actually be a contestant in the Selection. She thought she’d continue her life in her caste as a 5, singing at lavish parties, and marry her childhood best friend. Of course, life has its own unexpected twists and turns. I don’t use the word addicting lightly. As soon as I finished The Selection, I went online and saw the e-library had The Elite available and downloaded it immediately. Basically, my obsession continued through the rest of the series, along with the final two of the five that take place after a time jump.Cass writes so vividly that I could easily see this series being adapted for a television show, (which I think it was a while ago.) I would also throw in, if you’re a fan of Reign  you would probably also enjoy these. If you’re looking for something fun to read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, I highly recommend this series.

meg says watch this, Watch This

Watch This: Gifted

I have barely gone to the movie theater in 2017, but there was one movie I saw the trailer for several months prior to its release, I just knew I wasn’t going to miss. Gifted starring Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, and also included Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, and Lindsay Duncan in this incredible cast. I tend to go to the movies by myself, but this one I saw with my parents, and it was great to know I wasn’t the only one that went through several tissues during this drama. McKenna Grace plays Mary, a spunky, spirited, brilliant little girl being raised by her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans) in Florida. Frank unfortunately gets into a custody battle with his mother, but it’s not any usual custody battle – Evelyn wants Mary because she’s basically a child prodigy and she wants to exploit her abilities. Jenny Slate plays Bonnie, Mary’s teacher who recognizes her unmistakable talent, but also gets Frank’s desires for Mary to have as normal a childhood as possible. The film is just beautifully done.  You can tell that the cast seriously bonded with one another, and the chemistry is so palpable, I forgot that all of these characters aren’t related to one another in real life. (Isn’t that the goal of a film – make the whole story undoubtedly real?) I really loved the message in this story too. Frank so badly wanted Mary to really get the chance to be a kid. I won’t ruin the story, but it explores plenty of themes – the value of family, finding balance in life, figuring out ways to acknowledge a gift but not make life ever be about only one thing. The soundtrack was amazing, the cast was astonishingly talented, the story was beautiful and it’s funny but some of the parts that made me sob in the theater weren’t even “sad” they were just so incredibly touching. I laughed, I cried, I got mad at characters, I thought about relationships and life, and the little things. I know I haven’t recommended a movie in a while, but if there’s one you’re going to add to your To Watch list, this should be it. The cast deserve some major awards for these performances!

listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: Fireside

I know I make references to the Arctic Monkeys AM album pretty frequently, but I haven’t shared a song off that one in a while. So, today it’s time because as it happens on some kind of weird cyclic rotation in life, I’ve got the album on repeat again. Basically, I’m saying just go ahead and listen to all of the songs if you haven’t, but if you need a push in a given direction listen to “Fireside.” “Maybe I was mistaken but I just cannot manage to make it through the day Without thinking of you lately” No secret, I’m a sap to the core but I think what I like about this album so much is that they spell out the range of emotions from having someone new you’re interested in, unrequited feelings, relationships that kind of fell apart and you’re looking back on them nostalgically – the whole gamut. I’m not much of a dancer, but this album always makes me want to move, and sing along.

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: Out of the Easy

If you’ve been reading Meg Says posts for a bit, you probably already know what a fan girl I am of Ruta Sepetys. Between Shades of Grey and Salt to the Sea were both incredible books. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that I finally picked up Out of the Easy at the library. Of course, I’m smacking myself wondering why it took me so long. Sepetys always finds a way to beautifully intertwine stories of history, family, coming into one’s own, and friendship,p and she did it again with Josie Moraine in Out of the Easy. Josie lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950. Her mom has her own struggles, so Josie has mostly been fending for herself the past several years. Josie works hard, and she has dreams to leave New Orleans – to go to college, to experience a life bigger than the Quarter. Out of the Easy is filled with so many tender moments that tug on your heartstrings, funny moments as  Josie’s genuine character comes to life on the page, and that reminiscent style that reminds you no matter what decade people are living in, young girls experience a lot of similar rollercoaster emotions.  With a mysterious death in this story, I’d say it lingers on a bit of mystery – which is great, it adds to the dimension of the story. This is also a prime example, of not being able to choose the family you’re born into, but the bonds and relationships you create with the people around you are what matter most in life – those people become your family. I basically read Out of the Easy in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened, and even when my heart ached for Josie in some chapters, I knew she’d rise above her circumstance. If you’re familiar with New Orleans, it’s fun to imagine the places we see now about 70 years ago, too. I could imagine the busy streets, and hear the hum of the music, and picture the wild parties in those grand southern mansions. If you’re not familiar with Ruta Sepetys work yet, I’d recommend reading all of her books this weekend. If you’ve already read the first two I mentioned, go ahead and dive in to Out of the Easy.