Ana Egge
Ana Egge
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Toronto Star- Folkie Ana Egge’s maple leaf with an asterisk

By Nick Krewen
Special to the Star
Jan 31, 2012

When is a Canadian not quite Canadian?

When she’s Americana songwriting folksinger Ana Egge (pronounced Eg-gy), born 35 years ago in Estevan, Saskatchewan, but raised in Ambrose, North Dakota and Silver City, New Mexico.

“I was born in ’76 when it wasn’t automatic — you weren’t automatically deemed Canadian for being born there,” she laments down the line during a break from writing at her Brooklyn, New York home.

“My parents are both American, so I was naturalized American. But I’m about to apply to get dual citizenship. I’m so excited!”

Regardless of her citizenry, Egge should be given the fast track to nationalization for the amount of domestic musical-community service she’s accumulated over 15 years and seven albums.

First, there’s the Ron Sexsmith connection: she covered his “Lebanon,

TN” on her sophomore effort, 1999’s Mile Marker and “Wastin’ Time” on 2007’s Lazy Days. He contributed harmonies to her 2005 albumOut Past the Lights; she to his 2001 Steve Earle-produced chestnutBlue Boy, a project that helped her decide to recruit Earle last summer as overseer of her current album, Bad Blood.

She’s even made good use of Sexsmith’s band, as bassist Jason Mercer produced Out Past the Lights and guitarist extraordinaire Tim Bovaconti has embellished a few of her recordings.

Nova Scotian Joel Plaskett produced a chunk of 2009’s Road to My Love after she contributed harmony to his Three, and also sang on Peter Elkas’ latest Repeat Offender, while Bourbon Tabernacle Choir founder Chris Brown and Be Good Tanyas’ co-founder Frazey Ford have chimed in on Egge albums as session musicians.

Even when she performs a two-night stand at the Dakota Tavern beginning Thursday, her accompanying band will be, as she says, “all Toronto guys” — led by Peter Elkas on guitar with Doug Friesen on bass and Gavin Maguire on drums.

Egge, whose sanguine alto sounds like a teakettle blend of Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant and Kathleen Edwards, will be making her first local appearance to support Bad Blood, a 12-song album that tackles the theme of mental illness and how it’s impacted Egge’s immediate family.

“It wasn’t meant to be that way,” Egge concedes. “It was mostly just dealing with my own feelings about the reality of people I love — my family — dealing with mental illness. I was feeling stuck as a writer, because I didn’t want to make anything harder for anybody, but I came to realize that I had a lot of frustration and anger about the disease, not knowing what to do about it.”

“So I started writing with mental illness itself as the character, and that really set me free.”

“Sun don’t shine/ In the darkness I know,” Egge sings sadly on “Hole in Your Halo,” and whether she performs the strident title track or the mid-tempo rocker “Motorcycle,” she surprised at the chord the subject matter has struck with her audience.

“It’s been really healing,” says Egge of fan reaction. “It’s one of those things that people don’t know how to deal with or talk about . . So it’s been pretty amazing hearing stories and experiences from people who come up to me at shows, and those who reach out to me online. I think they do it just because of that silence that surrounds it.”

Born to hippie parents, Egge spent her first five formative musical years in Austin, Texas, first inspired by the Silver City visits of noted bass player Sarah Brown, the aunt of one of Egge’s friends.

“I’d hear stories of Sarah playing bass with Bonnie Raitt and Antone’s Blues Band, so when she would come to visit I’d pick her brain about everything,” Egge recalls. “After a second visit, Austin became this mythical place, and I could not just wait to go there.

“So I visited once and they let me go into all the music clubs despite the fact that I was underage. That was it: I was moving there as soon as I graduated high school.”

She immediately established musical connections with songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore and western swing band Asleep At The Wheel, whose drummer Dave Sanger produced her 1997 acclaimed debutRiver Under the Road.

Since then, it’s been a succession of folk, country, rock and bluegrass-blended albums on small independent labels, winning over musical fans like Sexsmith, Earle and Lucinda Williams as she continues to make strides in searching for that Americana/folk breakthrough.

As much as she enjoys performing, Egge, who builds her own guitars, says her greatest joy is hearing otherartists like Dave Alvin and U.S. folkies Laurie Lewis and Slaid Cleaves cover her songs.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to finish a song and then know that you love it and want to play it over and over again and share it with people.

“But hearing someone else sing it and play it, it’s great.”

Just the Facts

Who: Ana Egge

Where: Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave.

When: Feb. 2 and Feb. 3, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $12 at the door–folkie-ana-egge-s-maple-leaf-with-an-asterisk

Streaming live- Interview and 3 songs on WHRV/WHRO

‘I Loved You and I Hated You’

CT Entertainment

Ana Egge’s haunting CD captures the feelings of those who have a mentally ill loved one

by Mark Moring

Your picture’s fallin’ like a figurine
Breaking branches in our family tree . . .
I loved you and I hated you
I prayed for you and stayed away from you

So sings Ana Egge on the title cut of her latest album, Bad Blood. Many of the songs were written about coping with mentally ill family members, and I, for one, can certainly relate to the lyrics above.

Our 20-year-old son has bipolar disorder and Asperger syndrome, and his family members have certainly felt all of those things and more. It really can be a love-hate relationship — intense love for the person, but intense hatred for the illness and the ugly, often hurtful, ways it manifests itself. Kudos to Egge for capturing many of those feelings.

A press release says that the album “conveys compassion and hope for redemption,” and while that’s certainly true, Egge also noted in one interview that it also captures her raw emotions. “There is some anger on this record,” she confesses. “When you have family members suffering, I’m not angry at them. I have had a lot of anger at the illness, wanting it to stop, go away. A lot of the writing freed up for me when I started writing about the illness itself as a character.”

Like many of us who love someone with a mental illness, Egge is trying to find that balance between loving the person but loathing the condition. These lines from “Hole in Your Halo” kind of capture that vibe:

Your flowers are growin’ wild in the west
They may be pretty but they’re poisonous
Behind the bars you’re falling apart
It’s not the first time you went too far

There’s a hole in your halo
Where the darkness don’t shine
In the darkness I know
It’s a thin line

Egge’s country-fied folk tunes, produced by Steve Earle, sound more upbeat than the subject matter they’re addressing, but the lyrics are spot on.


Alt-Country Musician Ana Egge Rocks the Lafayette Brewing Co.

The Exponent

Sun Jan 22, 2012.

By ETHAN MERRICK Staff Reporter

The stage set-up was sparse with only a couple amps and a drum kit, creating the impression that the lone figure on stage was both larger and smaller at the same time. Ana Egge performed at the Lafayette Brewing Co. Saturday night for a crowd of close to 100.

Ana Egge, an alt-country folk-rock musician from Brooklyn, took the stage with a broad grin, looking like a folk-y Liz Phair. While typically a solo artist, Egge was backed by a full band for her tour, which provided a hearty foundation that highlighted Egge’s sultry vocals.

However, Egge was most powerful when she stood alone upon the stage with only her acoustic guitar and her warm, thick vocals like a summer’s golden afternoon to keep her company.

For many of her songs, Egge told a brief story, explaining the origins of the song.

The concert was put on by Friends of Bob, a non-profit organization that focuses on bringing music to the Lafayette area. Richard Fudge, the president of Friends of Bob, enjoyed the bridge that Egge was able to make between the music and the audience.

“I have listened to some of these songs hundreds of times and with just that little explanation from Ana they take on a whole new, deeper meaning,” Fudge said.

While she performed, Egge tenderly strummed her guitar as she emoted secret whispers to the audience before she attacked the strings, announcing to the audience everything she had been holding back.

“I enjoy writing songs that I keep wanting to perform,” Egge said.

This could be seen during her performance as Egge kept her eyes closed as if she needed these vignettes to be in focus, to be visible to effectively emote these songs, these stories.

Karen Page, a resident of Lafayette, enjoyed Egge’s performance.

“She did a little bit of everything: rock ‘n’ roll, folk, country, jazz,” Page said. “She was able to excite the audience and get us to get up and dance. It was great.”

Happy 2012 ~ New England, Midwest and Mid Atlantic shows in Jan. and Best of 2011 lists!

Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you had an adventurous time over the holidays. I didn’t get enough rest and now I’m paying for it with a cold. But, it’s fine to be staying in for a few days because I’ll be traveling quite a bit this January. Most of the shows will be with my band with two exceptions and I’ll be playing in a lot of new venues!
I hope you can make it out and bring your family and friends along. These are sure to be some fun and exciting shows!!
  • Thursday, January 12, 2012 | Club Passim | Cambridge, MA
  • Friday, January 13, 2012 | Unity Centre for the Performing Arts | Unity, ME
  • Saturday, January 14, 2012 | Bull Run Concert Series | Shirley, MA
  • Friday, January 20, 2012 | FitzGerald’s | Berwyn, IL
  • Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Lafayette Brewing Company | Lafayette, IN
  • Friday, January 27, 2012 | Strings Attached | Durham, NC -SOLO
  • Saturday, January 28, 2012 | House Concert | Smithfield, VA -SOLO

 the best albums of 2011

Purchase: iTunes

Singer/songwriter Ana Egge, called the Nina Simone of folk by Lucinda Williams for her impassioned and confident lyricism, is out with her seventh studio album, Bad Blood. This time Egge turns her sharp storytelling lens on mental illness and family, touching on the concept of bad blood both as hatred as well as hereditary disease. Such loaded material could weigh down composers of lesser skill, but Egge’s talent is well-honed and resplendent on this collection. Aided by Steve Earle as producer and backing vocals, singer Allison Moorer, and Eleanor Whitmore on a variety of strings, the twelve acoustic numbers are Egge’s best to date. Standouts include “Evil”, “Driving With No Hands”, and “Shadow Fall.” – Written by JFelton