Ana Egge
Ana Egge
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Wears The Trousers – March 17, 2009


Ana Egge
Road To My Love ••••
Grace / Parkinsong

Seemingly a wild and restless traveller, statuesque blonde Ana Egge not only looks fearless but often sounds fearless, an interesting paradox of a young, adventurous songwriter combined with a woman who performs with a maturity beyond her 30-something years. Her appealingly rich vocal and intimate lyrical craft is somewhat akin to Joan Armatrading, or, as astutely suggested by Lucinda Williams, what Nina Simone might have sounded like if she had been handed a steel guitar. Road To My Love is her sixth album in a career spanning an incredible 17 years, and offers a more personal glimpse into the life of someone who confesses to having been more guarded in the past.

The distinctly worldly feel of Egge’s music and her excellent command of melody is immediately apparent from the outset. Album opener ‘Storm Comin’ may be the most up-tempo number on the album, but her captivating voice retains a lazy coolness, allowing her to cross the genres of country and folk to enter the realms of retro soul. ‘More Than A Day’, too, has a sublimely easy ’60s soul feel with backing vocals from The Be Good Tanyas’ Frazey Ford and Trish Klein. Egge’s gentle vibrato, combined with classic brass sounds and laidback keyboards, reveals a notable femininity beneath the hard exterior and adds texture and warmth to what might otherwise be quite desolate songs.

Like the best of Feist and Laura Veirs, Road To My Love successfully blends old and new influences, an approach that complements and enhances Egge’s simpler and most reflective moments. The autobiographical ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ speaks of growing up on her parents’ wheat farm in a tiny North Dakota hamlet, a childhood trade-off between unimaginable freedom and vast, aching loneliness. Similarly, ‘Red Queen’ is an affecting tale of independence. “Keep moving, never rest / nothing is perfect yet,” she sighs over simple acoustic guitar figures that are later fleshed out by distant drums and sparing use of electric guitar.

Egge’s stunningly simple yet original take on traditional number ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ closes the album on a high, possessing a remarkable depth of perception of opposing emotions and absolutely nailing her natural talent for storytelling. It’s a real treat that neatly sums up everything that makes Road To My Love the bravest leg on her journey so far.

Anna Claxton – Wears The Trousers (May 28, 2009)