Oh Lonesome Ana Puts Out Soul-Crushing and Inspirational Debut Album with MEG/\DETH TEE
4.8 out of 5 stars
Oh Lonesome Ana is an indie rock band out of Sacramento, California that has just completed their debut album titled Megadeth Tee (stylized as MEG/\DETH TEE), and it is one great, heart-breaking and emotional album that simultaneously provides hope and tears you apart as you listen to it.
The album is available this Friday, July 14th, 2022, and I highly recommend giving it a listen.
The overall sound on this album is akin to some of the great jam bands like Grateful Dead or Phish, but the succinct structure and ability to control a catchy hook make Oh Lonesome Ana a band that really stands out as a full-bodied, heart-wrenching, soul-refilling vessel that leaves a lasting impression without staying too long.
In the presser, the band’s lead singer, Evan Bailey, had this to say about the album:
“MEG/\DETH TEE is a record about childhood trauma, but also about every experience you carry with you; painful and joyous. What do you keep with you and what do you throw away?”
And to be honest, the intimate lyrics are pretty crushing at times.
To explain that more, I would say that the band relies heavily on incredibly deep and intimately written lyrics that basically come from dark places.
In this instance, the lyrics (aside from one song...more on that later) for Oh Lonesome Ana are not actually written from the perspective of any band member though.
Instead, they are written by a couple of friends of the band that are poets and then rearranged or reimagined for the album by Bailey.
As stated on their website, the album “was inspired by the words of our dear friend, philosophy professor, and poet Johnny Allen.”
The album starts out with “The Dirt Road” which is a pretty good standard setter for the rest of the album. It’s melodic, it’s rolling, and it is catchy all the while being very personal. The dark guitar riff will have you guessing that something is awry within the lyrics.
From what I can put together, this song and “No Kind of God” are both based on “The Dirt Road” by John Allen which detail a step-dad coming into a child’s life after his biological father died and beating the mom and mistreating the child.
“The Slow Death of Lung Cancer” is a much more uptempo song, but not ANY less depressing lyrically. The song starts with the lines:
“I can cut my arm and get drunk in your car, or throw up in the backseat.”
Bailey’s use of Allen’s lyrics definitely hammer home some imagery and dire situations. The chorus on this one is really catchy as well.
This song is all about mortality and trying to outrun the devil to keep being alive…whether it is through exercise or other activities. The concept is that no one gets out alive though, and that’s okay.
The next song on the album is “Sending Out a Dove” which is probably the most “re-worked” song lyrically on the album.
Bailey takes the original lyrics and combines them with references to the “great flood” and Noah’s Ark, but then puts it into the story of heartbreak laid out in the rest of the album.
The real heartbreak here is that there seems to be no more covenant between man and god, and only bad things are destined for the protagonist.
In “I’ve Got Your Blood,” the song details a grandpa who died long ago, but the writer is still drawn to the stories and trying to keep their memory alive. It’s bittersweet and nostalgic, but it also is completely fresh in the delivery of the message.
This is the only song where Bailey writes the lyrics himself, and this is actually probably my favorite song on the album as it makes me think of my grandpa and great grandpa who were pretty much badasses.
When I asked Bailey if this was his writing, he said that it is "a song I wrote about my grandpa, who apparently lied about his age on many occasions, including to get my grandma to marry him when he was 25+ years older than her. He died when my mom was still very young and several decades before I was born."
“I’m Glad I Got Out (But I Miss You)” is a much more uptempo song overall than most on the album. Of course, the subject is about how the child got away from the abusive stepdad, but (I am not sure that it is stated) it feels like the mom is no longer alive. The lyrics are short, full of regret, and the music is high in spirits almost half-gospel in its approach.
The only song that I can tell that is written by someone other than John Allen is the song “Rushing Lattice” which is lyrically written by David Mohr which the artist had this to say about the song:
“The lyric ‘Rushing Lattice’ was about being fenced in or caged in and ultimately trying to come to peace with that feeling. ...My guess is stray cats have an unfathomable wildness that haunts them as they try to make sense of their pocket of human society. I was trying to write about the idea of caring for a creature that has no idea it is being cared for and how doing something good can be perceived as the opposite.”
There seem to be a couple of songs that detail having fondness for animals.
Bailey told me via email, “After writing a song about my cat that died I asked David to write some lyrics about his cat, so David contributed the words for Rushing Lattice.”
The song he wrote about his cat that died is interwoven into the last song on the album, “To Feel So Small (Hello Me, It’s Me Again)”, I believe, in between Allen’s poetry. That is a pretty sad song with dueling sad stories.
And Bailey interweaves pet dogs through the titular song as well.
In “MEGADETH TEE”, Bailey writes:
If you are looking for a band that can tug on your heart strings and fill you with emotions, then you definitely get that from Oh Lonesome Ana.
Oh, and if you are wondering how the band came up wit that name. Well, it’s quite cerebral as well.
There is a song by Don Gibson called “Oh Lonesome Me,” and then there is a rare plant that is native to California called Arctostaphylos ohloneana.
If you look at that last part very closely, and you break it apart you get “oh lone ana.” The plant is almost completely extinct as well, and therefore, it is lonesome.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.