Traffic Jams: Heron Oblivion — ‘Oriar’

With her solo work, serving as the female lead vocalist in the band Espers, duets with other artists, and offering up both vocals and drum work for Heron Oblivion, Meg Baird must be the busiest woman in music today.

I first discovered Meg from her work with the San Francisco-based psychedelic fuzz band, Heron Oblivion, and from there branched out to Espers and her other work. Over the past two decades, her career has encompassed a broad range of musical genres and styles which just goes to show how deep her talent runs.

In addition to Espers, a partnership with harpist Mary Lattimore, and solo outings, you can also hear Meg’s drumming as part of the punk band Watery Love and the country/folk duet, The Baird Sisters where Meg performs with her sister (duh), Laura.

But it was Heron Oblivion that drew me to become a huge Meg Baird fan. Of the band’s work, Oriar, off of the band’s self-titled 2016 album released by Sub Pop Records, is my very favorite song.

The band is classified as a “Supergroup” as, in addition to Baird, it features guitarist Ethan Miller from Comets of Fire and Howlin’ Rain, bassist and epic beard-wearer, Noel Von Harmonson, also from Comets of Fire, and backing guitarist Charlie Saufley from the band Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound.

This song turns moody and explosive with Miller and Saufley alternatively pushing their guitars over one another and bookending Baird’s spooky-serene vocals and Von Harmonson’s life-of-its-own bass line. All I can say is, that it’s a killer song. And, if you’d like to compare and contrast, I’m including both the official Heron Oblivion YouTube video above and a link here to a live performance of the song I recorded back pre-pandemic.

If you dig Oriar, check out the rest of the album, it’s just as good. Also, get your ears all over anything by Espers, The Baird Sisters, or any of Meg Baird’s solo work. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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