Canada keeps delivering great musicians, and one of my latest personal discoveries is Ana Egge. This is her seventh album, so I know I’m late to the party but better late than never, right? I’ll also have to admit that I only found out about Ana Egge because this album was produced by Steve Earle. And knowing that Steve Earle has managed to get the best from female singers before, this was placed in my “need to listen to” pile.
We’ve all heard Lucinda Williams ultimate masterpiece “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road”. Don’t be fooled though, this is not another Lucinda. Ana Egge has her own sound, and her mellow voice is nothing short of beautiful. She has a floating way of singing that just makes your head spin with happiness, and her words stick to your mind all the way.
The songs on this album are recorded in Levon Helms’ studio in Woodstock, produced by Steve Earle – and both Steve Earle and wife Alison Moorer sing on the album. Naturally it’s mixed by Ray Kennedy. And the sound is just so utterly perfect for these songs and this voice. The biting guitars and the laid back rythm-section compliment her voice – and makes this a pleasure to listen to.
According to her website, Lucinda Williams called her “the Nina Simone of folk”, and I can totally see where that’s coming from. But the voice is one thing, in my opinion a good voice is nothing without songs and substance in the lyrics. And her lyrics are constantly great throughout the album. They are haunting, and explore mental illness from a perspective that will make you consider how sane your own mind is.
It’s hard to pick favorites, as the album is of a consistently high quality that’s rare these days when most artist have 2-3 good songs in them, and fill albums with crap just to get something released.
But I’m very fond of “Hole In Your Halo”, “Bad Blood”, “Hands And Knees” and “Shadow Fall”.
And let’s not forget “Silver Heels” !!
The latter being one of the best songs released last year, the guitar on the song is plucked right from a dark David Lynch nightmare, and the bass is so brilliant I want to sell my own bass and never even consider playing music again. I’m annoyed at myself for not getting around to listening to album earlier. It would have caused havoc on my year-end list for 2011…
I’m careful to play out the “Essential Listening” card, but if you like female singers with a story to tell, and music that’s close to Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch or Iris DeMent – you should give Ana Egge a listen. You won’t regret it. That’s a promise.