Philadelphia psych-folk act Espers' Meg Baird will release her first solo record, "Dear Companion," May 22 via Drag City. The 10-song set was recorded in the fall of 2005 by Espers principle Greg Week

Philadelphia psych-folk act Espers' Meg Baird will release her first solo record, "Dear Companion," May 22 via Drag City. The 10-song set was recorded in the fall of 2005 by Espers principle Greg Weeks, in between the sessions for Espers' "II" album.

"It was originally going to be released by the Philadelphia label Tequila Sunrise," Baird tells Billboard.com. "It was planned to be vinyl only, but for some reason it never came out. I had given it to Drag City, and they seemed to like it, so I just asked if they wanted it."

Baird says the actual recording process took "less than 24 hours," over a couple afternoons of tracking. "I thought it came out spare, but still warm sounding," she reflects.

Baird has long held an interest in rural, Appalachian-style balladry, and "Dear Companion" follows in this tradition. Containing only two originals, the album finds her tackling traditional cuts, as well as Chris Thompson's "River Song" and Jimmy Webb's "Do What You Gotta Do."

"'Do What You Gotta Do' is one that nearly didn't make it. That was the hardest one," she confesses. "A lot of the covers, I came up with when I was very frustrated, and I wasn't happy with the 'Do What You Gotta Do.'"

Espers will head out at the end of this month for a string of gigs in the U.K. Baird says after these shows, se and Weeks will probably start writing for the next Espers album. "We've started to do some writing already, but we'll probably be ready to fully get to it after these last shows," she says.