In the three years since Meg Hutchinson’s last album, “The Living Side,” the Boston-based singer-songwriter released her debut book of poetry. She built a home studio, learned to play piano, learned to be still with her thoughts.
That’s all reflected on her latest effort. Growth is at the heart of “Beyond That,” Hutchinson’s new album on Red House Records that nudges her gently into more elastic territory. Working again with longtime local producer Crit Harmon, she envelops the songs with a subtle shift to more synthetic textures. Lap steel and mandolin, as played by guitar ace Duke Levine, mingle sumptuously alongside synth and drum programming.
A glacial quietude takes “Everything More Beautiful” to a celestial plane, and the closing “Epilogue: Paradiso” takes its lyrical cues from Dante Alighieri. Other times, a hint of ’70s soft-rock creeps into the arrangements (“Only Just Begun,” “Let’s Go”). The tension between Hutchinson’s voice, an organic instrument that emulates both a twang and a croon, and the album’s electronic flourishes is especially arresting on songs like “Making You a Place” and “Safe.”
It’s no wonder the album’s press materials, rightly, liken its feel to that of David Gray’s “White Ladder.” (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “Making You a Place”
Meg Hutchinson plays two sets at Club Passim in Cambridge on Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $22. 617-492-7679, www.clubpassim.com