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Music maestro's baby

For the last nine months, Meredith Luce has experienced what she jokingly refers to as a "musical pregnancy."

At the start of March, the girl with the unforgettable voice began recording her second album, Neck of the Woods. Tonight, nine months later, she's ready to introduce it to the world at her CD release party.

But there was a lot more than just conceiving the ideas for the songs, and recording them in the studio this time. As well as writing the 11 heartfelt tracks, Luce co-produced the album with Dean Watson, played three kinds of guitars, synth and percussion and also designed the album's unique art.

It's not that she's a control freak — though she does consider herself driven. Luce says she just really wanted to make the kind of album she could be proud of.

"I put so much of myself into this record that at the end I thought the only person who has to really love it is me, and I had so much fun making it too," she says.

"I learned a lot, and did things I didn't have the chance to do before, and was lucky to have some amazing guests helping me out on the record.

Guests like David Gaudet, Tim Watson and Graham Boyle — all of whom have accompanied Luce at many of her live shows. She was also happy to welcome fiddler Matt Pepin into the studio, and work with one of her musical mentors — Danny Michel — who added inspiring new depths to her song Great Lake Swimmers.

Having just turned 20 after completing the album, Luce says she now finds herself with a new outlook on her life and career. She has recently started a design program at college — which she puts to practical use for things like the album, poster and her own t-shirt designs.

She is also realizing that all her hard work up until now — beginning at 16 when she was first noticed as a formidable songwriter with maturity and wisdom far beyond her years — didn't afford her much time to be a typical teenager.

"It was only in the last month of being 19 that I realized maybe I need more time to experience being a teenager and embrace youth," she says.

"Sometimes I think while I am young I should just relax and have fun, but I am really driven to do this and work hard at my music. I guess I am trying to find my place and the balance in that."

Meredith Luce plays a CD release show at Irene's, 885 Bank St., tonight at 10 p.m.

– Kim Mannix Vermette has a passion for exploring the local music, theatre, visual arts and literature scenes.

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