Driving down a two-track backroad with the windows rolled down; a warm summer breeze whisping through your hair; the sun shining through the bright pigments of summer leaves; a soft smile on your lips at your inner feeling of peace. The music of Megan Cronin is like this. A sound so smooth and pure, it lulls one into a simple bliss with delightfully effortless tunes. Amid one’s endless toiling or Halloween turmoil, start off the spooky weekend with a moment of tranquility this Friday with Megan Cronin.
Original folk music from an Oregonian singer-songwriter is a special treat for the Ann Arbor area. Native to Michigan, Cronin is now a full time music teacher in Portland, giving lessons in violin, viola and fiddle. The ukulele, guitar and tenor guitar are also among her large and growing musical résumé.
“I love debunking the old belief that we can’t learn new and complex skills later in life,” said Cronin in an interview with The Daily. “With music, I never stop learning and am constantly challenged. Music opens so many doors, from friendships to new experiences to intellectual challenges. I also use music as an artistic outlet, expressing my inner thoughts and emotions in a constructive manner.”
Cronin started playing the classical violin in middle school and continued throughout high school. Years later, after college, she found herself in a variety of bluegrass, rock and folk bands. She returned to school to study the violin and music theory. Now, she teaches numerous classes, mainly for beginner adults and performs all over Oregon.
“As a professional I mainly play folk style solo and with a number of Portland-based groups as well as do studio session recording work on violin and fiddle,” Cronin said. “My lyric inspiration comes from my own experiences, imagined experiences, nature and family mythology. Some songs are also based on inspiring books, movies and ghost stories.”
“Portland has an incredible pool of musicians to work with and I am thankful to have found myself there,” Cronin added. “[But] I kept close ties with my relatives in Michigan, many of whom will be in attendance on the 27th. This particular visit to Michigan is to celebrate in my grandmother’s 93rd birthday on October 31st.”
This Friday, Cronin will mainly be performing her own original music with a few covers thrown in. While the first half of the concert is solo, the latter portion will feature Cronin’s boyfriend / musical partner Chris Baron, who is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter also working in the Portland area. With Baron on the guitar and Cronin on the violin, a new blend of music will be created to generate a full musical dynamic to close the concert.
As she continues to grow in her profession and gain reputation, Cronin’s future looks bright.
“I hope to complete a full length album in the coming year and go on a national tour. Music is my life’s work so I hope to get better and better at the instruments I play as well,” Cronin said.
There will be another live concert at the Common Cup next Friday, November 3rd, with Gray Shell Cannon at 8 p.m.
The Common Cup is a unique space for a concert as it normally functions as a typical coffee shop for conversations and studying. Yet several free events besides concerts are hosted on Fridays, including guided art sessions, game nights and more. All are free to the public and available to students through sponsorship of the Lutheran Church.
“The goal of our events is always to be free to the public, regardless of what it is,” said Karen Berger, manager of the Common Cup, who works tirelessly to schedule the Friday events. Her goal is to work with students and partner with local places in Ann Arbor to help create engaging community events.
The Common Cup is open until 10 p.m. every night except Saturday, when it closes at 6 p.m. The artwork on the walls changes every month; this month, they are celebrating their 10 year anniversary with special artwork from throughout the past decade.