Ana Egge & The Sentimentals
“In the end, it comes down to what your measurement of success really is. For Egge, her ability to stay true to herself and make the music she wants to make is the most important thing.”-Matt Shiverdecker, Austin 360 -click image below for full review
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Ana Egge & The Sentimentals
Album: Say That Now
Say That Now is the new album from Ana Egge. Last year she released “Bright Shadow” working with American Roots trio The Stray Birds and previously she has worked on recordings with Steve Earle and Ron Sexsmith. The new album finds her collaborating with old friends and musicians in the guise of Danish indie band The Sentimentals.
The album was recorded and produced by Ana and the Sentimentals in Denmark and then mixed and mastered in New York by the renowned, Steve Addabbo.
Ana describes the album being recorded with a communal feeling of warmth, or hygge as it is known in Denmark (pronounced hooga, by the way). The songs touch on themes of personal joy and sorrow, inward journeys and darker topics of modern reality.
The album’s 10 tracks all work well together, blending Folk, Country and Americana with a back hand slice of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The album was created during two sessions between Ana and members of the band, MC Hansen, Nikolaj Wolf and Jacob Chano Lundby. These musicians have all played together before around the Danish touring circuit and for American born Ana Egge, whose Mother heralded from Denmark, working on the album in the country’s capital city Copenhagen, was “a bit like coming home”.
Ana is a Folk/Americana songwriter and The Sentimentals are an electric Folk-Rock band. The resulting songs are more than the sum of these two parts. There is a significantly deeper tone to the songs than much of what you may expect from albums in this genre. Yes, there are typically Country moments such as with “Promises to Break” layered in rich vocal harmonies and twangy guitar and also the swaying country beats of “Cheaters and Deceivers”. However there is a darker side and moments of social comment on police brutality, terrorism and violence in todays society which are cleverly juxtaposed with a jaunty Americana feel.
Ironically the opening track “Take Off My Dress” is the least typical of the albums style and has something of an indie folk almost Cranberries feel about it. The album quickly unfolds though, down it’s more traditional, cleverly written, Americana path.
There are intriguing detours on the way, with a Hendrix feel on “Spider” and then there is the Christine Mcvie/Fleetwood Mac groove on the refrain of title track “Say That Now” which for me is the best and catchiest of the tunes on the album. This high point is followed by another, “Still Waters Run Deep” which brings a nice variance, introducing a male lead vocal combining with Ana’s voice and also the introduction of a beautifully laid down Mandolin.
There is a good array of songs here, making for a nicely balanced, consistent and overall, cracking little album. I found it growing on me the more I heard it and different tunes would vie to catch my ear with each listen. Ana has a unique voice which makes the album stand apart from the ordinary and this difference is also highlighted by the partnership with the guys in the band, The Sentimentals, who bring something equally original to the party.
Q:Your house is burning down and you can grab only one thing — what would you save?
A:My guitar, Junior. I built it during my senior year of high school apprenticing with luthier Don Musser.
Q:If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
Q:If a song started playing every time you entered the room, what would you want it to be?
A:Right now, I’d have to say “Right Hand Man” from Hamilton.
Q:What is the one thing you can’t survive without on tour?
A:My cowboy boots.
Q:If you were a car, what car would you be?
A:A 1963 silver Buick Riviera.
Q:Who is your favorite superhero?
A:Spider-Man. I asked a mermaid on the beach of Lake Superior when I was five for a Spider-Man costume. I got one when I was 20 as a gift. I wore it under my clothes and stripped on stage on tour with Ron Sexsmith in Saskatoon one night in 2000. I ain’t messin’ around.
Q:Vinyl or digital?
Q:Dylan or Townes?
Q:Summer or Winter?
Ana Egge & the Sentimentals,
Say That Now
(Grace/Sentimental Music, 2016)
A cynical British music journalist once remarked, with notably ill humor, that the day is soon coming when every American will be declared a singer-songwriter at birth. I know what he meant. There is undeniably a larger supply of singer-songwriters than the world requires. A goodly portion, who don’t seem much interested in any music beyond their own, betray no discernible knowledge of any but other singer-songwriters. Nor do they have much to say that hasn’t already been said, and better, elsewhere.
Of course there are exceptions, whom I always feel obliged to cite when I get off on an irritable rant like this one. I’ll resist the temptation here, though. You can supply the names yourself, of the ones who’ve been around and are still welcome on stages and in studios, plus the occasional fresh faces. While usually I am hesitant to add names to that august company, I can happily report that Ana Egge and Coty Hogue carry the craft honorably. They have talent, brains, imagination and a solid modernist grounding in the folk tradition, which as Dylan has observed is essential to any would-be composer who picks up a guitar and seeks to write original material. Better than anybody, those old-timers knew how to create a song and tell a story.
Brooklyn-based but Saskatchewan- and North Dakota-bred, Ana Egge has been around for a while, but I caught up with her relatively recently, when I reviewed her previous release, Bright Shadow (Rambles.NET, 12 September 2015). That one was pretty good. Say It Now is even better, at least in part because it was recorded with the Sentimentals, an exceptional folk-rock trio from Denmark where the album was cut. But there are other virtues, such as Egge’s affecting, cut-to-the-heart vocals and her sure-handed, grown-up writing. And then there are those marvelous melodies that lure the listener into repeated listenings.
Six of the 11 songs are co-writes, and another is the sole creation of Sentimental M.C. Hansen, the outstanding “The Girl from the Banks of the Ohio,” which Egge sings in a compelling interpretation. Though the title may lead you to expect that it concerns the female victim in the classic murder ballad, it draws on the tradition of songs, ubiquitous in nations that border oceans, about separation of sailor from true love. “Away We Go,” which Egge penned with David Moss, eloquently evokes the ambiguities of this American moment. Hansen himself sings the co-write “Still Waters Run Deep”; the title is the only cliche in this dark story-song with something of the flavor of an old North European ballad. Egge and Hansen’s “He’s a Killer Now” takes a searing look at gun violence and its consequences.
Among the CD’s charms is Egge’s way with songs (e.g., “Promises to Break”) that feel country without actually being so, maybe because they’re too smart and too original to be welcome in the Nashville mainstream. An attentive listener will notice that they eschew just about very cliche that underpins relationship songs.
by Sean Jewell ::
Whooo! We got a hot one comin’ in via brilliant songwriter Ana Egge backed by Danish indie folk band The Sentimentals. They’ve cut a whole album together called Say That Now, which I’m super excited about. It opens with “Take Off My Dress” a wailing heartbreaker of a jam full of moanin electric guitar, rock hard riffs, a completely unexpected direction from Egge that blew my hat off on first listen.
Say That Now is a collaborative effort with The Sentimentals adding plenty of rock & roll effect to the rolling hills folk sound Egge makes so well. Even with the amps turned down low, the compressed, reverberating effect of guitars, harmonica and harmonium to accompany Anna Egge’s mountain music vocals pushes her into a variety of ranges and styles. What’s more is this collaboration is trans-Atlantic, recorded in Copenhagen with a full band. On Say That Now Egge continues her tradition of using song to bravely face world events from terrorism on “He’s A Killer Now”, to police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests on “Away We Go Again”, to owning one’s sexual identity on “Take Off My Dress”, “Promises To Break”.
Ana Egge & The Sentimentals wield powerful femininity, the righteousness of rock & roll, and prairie-folk-music storytelling to make Say That Now, branching out with roots music to push talents and tell tales that listeners worldwide will relate to.