Ana Egge
Ana Egge
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American Standard Time -“Say That Now”

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.

Ron Sexsmith on ‘Say That Now’

“There are few singers today whose voice hits me in quite the same place that Ana’s voice does. The first time I heard her singing back in the 90’s, it was one of those deja vu moments you hear about. Like a childhood bell that rings in your heart from time to time. She had such a fully realized sound from the get go. Her guitar playing too, though based in familiar folk/blues traditions, was completely her own thing.
And speaking as a songwriter I’ve always admired her gift for melody as well as the unpretentious poetry of her lyrics. So naturally, whenever she gets around to making a new record I’m always quite excited to hear it. (This new one is no exception!) Written and recorded with superb folk-rock band THE SENTIMENTALS (from Denmark) Ana has found a collaborative backdrop worthy of her considerable talents.
Made up of Jacob Chano Lundby (drums) Nikolaj Wolf (upright bass) and MC Hansen (guitar) The Sentimentals effortlessly move from the country twang of “Promises To Break” (a song George Jones would’ve been proud to record) to the atmospheric title track of “Say That Now”. All over this record in fact, you’ll find many tasteful and imaginative arrangements that are all beautifully played and recorded with harmonies that blend perfectly with Ana’s unique vocals.
In a world that has become an increasingly scary place to be, it’s wonderful to hear real music being played with heart, soul and wisdom.
Music that has roots in tradition but feels uprooted at the same time.
You can’t ask for more than that”

Ana Egge & The Sentimentals: Say That Now- NEW record out now!

There’s a wonderful Danish word that can’t quite be translated to English: hygge (pronounced as hooga). It means a sense of warmth, coziness, camaraderie, a welcoming environment. It’s the word that fits the new recording, Say That Now, from Americana songwriter Ana Egge. For the first time in a career with many highlights (including recordings with Steve Earle and Ron Sexsmith), Egge gave herself over to a collaborative process, working with Danish indie band The Sentimentals to write and record the songs on the new album in Copenhagen. Ana Egge explains, “It’s a very cold Northern country, so they have this word for how it feels to be in a special place with others. There was always an element of hygge to the recording and the trips we made for songwriting. We’d have candles and warm coffee and we’d be in some ancient, beautiful building.”

            Surrounded by this communal warmth, she holed up with The SentimentalsMC Hansen (vocals, harmonica, guitars), Nikolaj Wolf(bass), and Jacob Chano Lundby (drums) – over two sessions to record the songs on her new album. Each of these musicians were old friends of Egge— artists she’d met at roots music conferences and toured with through Denmark before. Egge’s personal connection Denmark is strong; she was born in Saskatchewan and grew up in North Dakota with a mother of Danish heritage and a talent for old-world baking. Returning to Denmark was a bit like coming home, and the collaboration between such good friends meant that their process has a natural flow to it. Still, it wasn’t easy to carve out time for the recording. “We’re all at these places in our lives where our time is really crushed by kids and demands and partners and work,” Egge says, “so when we showed up for this we really gave it our all. For one thing, we were grateful for the space and time to create together.”

            Whereas Egge’s last album, 2015’s Bright Shadow, brought on American roots trio The Stray Birds to compliment her songs, Say That Now brings the full electric folk-rock band of The Sentimentals to bear on hard-rolling tracks like opening song “Take Off My Dress,” or “Spider.” This kind of full-band approach felt fresh for Egge, and the resulting music has a powerful drive to it that The Sentimentals have honed from years of backing up their favorite American songwriters touring in Denmark like Gurf Morlix, Jonathan Byrd, and Sam Baker. Still, Egge’s signature blend of American prairie folk mixed with clarion-call country songs shines through. On “Promises to Break,” their combined voices rise in glorious church-steeple harmony. It’s a song Egge and Hansen wrote together that speaks to the universality of forbidden love: “On my shoulder’s my hometown I’m trying to escape / On my hand is the number for calling your name / It’s a matter of leaving before my lies come true / Before my hometown finds out about you.” Hansen’s subsequent song “He’s a Killer Now” is a heart-rending meditation on the kind of terrorism currently gripping Europe, looking at the tragic deaths in a 2015 Danish shooting from a mother’s perspective. “Away We Go Again” is Egge’s attempt to grapple with the shock of Michael Brown’s tragic death and the Ferguson protests.

These are heavy topics to tackle, but Egge’s looking at the world differently now. “Since becoming a mother, I find that there’s more negotiation that goes on within my own heart to allow the space and time that it can take to write,” Egge says. “These past few years I have experienced previously unimaginable joy and sorrow. Sometimes it’s been like living in a storm. And there in the dark, like a lighthouse, are the shining lights of my daughter and my wife at home waiting for me.” With good friends and loving family around them, Ana Egge & The Sentimentals found the space to create an album that looks both inward to the human journey and outward to the communities we build to survive this trip.

Tour Dates:

06/23 – Vordingborg, DK

06/24 –  Haderslev, DK

06/25 – Vordingborg, DK

06/27 – Copenhagen, DK

07/1 – Vestergade, Aarhus, DK

07/2 – Ebeltoft, DK

07/14 –  Cambridge, MA

07/15 – Galway, NY

07/16 –  Wanakena, NY

07/19 –  New York, NY

07/20 – Buffalo, NY

07/21 –  Rochester, NY

07/22 – Toronto, ON

07/23 – Russell, ON

“Say That Now” featured in Twangville!

Ana Egge Premiere – Promises To Break