Megan Lynch has released her debut album, Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me, interpreting rare, jazz age tunes featured in the classic Warner Brothers cartoons of Bugs Bunny and others. Backed by two members of R. Crumb's legendary Cheap Suit Serenaders, Tony Marcus and Robert Armstrong, Megan wraps her big, rich, sassy, swinging alto around these merry melodies, spinning them far beyond the versions we know by Daffy Duck and Michigan J. Frog. It's both a fascinating work of musical scholarship and an absolute blast.
There is a teasing familiarity to these songs that we instantly recognize from Carl Stalling's integration of them into his cartoon scores. Yet these songs are, for the most part, unknown beyond a snatch of chorus or lyric fragment. We know of Shuffle Off to Buffalo" without knowing the song itself.Megan's diligent sleuthing turned up the Harburg/Arlen I Love to Sing" originally animated for the one-off character Owl Jolson. It's a gleeful, tour de force in Megan's version, bouncing along on a chassis of hot rhythms.
Megan brings a sense of sass and play to these Tin Pan Alley gems, swinging Hello Ma Baby" and showcasing the Gallic charm of The Latin Quarter." Bugs memorably sang It Can't Be Wrong" in Mermaid drag, but Megan finds its gorgeous, torchy melancholy, in an arrangement featuring a haunting musical saw. It's like hearing k.d. lang interpret the Leon Redbone catalog.
A twenty year veteran of the Bay Area music scene, Megan's done everything from sing David Bowie's Soul Love" in front of a ukulele orchestra at Uke-y Stardust, to covering Franklin Bruno's Invisible Mistletoe," to learning blue blowing from members of Cats & Jammers. Growing up in a musical family, Megan learned how to harmonize around the house with her mother and brother, the musician and recording artist, Brendan Lynch. Now, with Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me she's found the perfect vehicle for her talents, an album as playful and joyous as any you'll hear this year.