Ana Egge — Between Us
On first listen my impression was: if late-career Joni Mitchell didn’t go the jazz route as she did but immersed herself more in an original soulful sound, unlike Laura Nyro who did more covers, she’d sound like Ana Egge.
Instead, we have generous thick slices of Canadian-American Ana Egge (guitar/electric guitar/harmony vocals) with her soulful infused tales somewhere out on the border of soul & folk music.
Recorded in Brooklyn, NY with songs like “The Machine,” & It’s moments where one might think Sarah McLauchlan & breathy vocalists similar to her. Ana doesn’t over-emote as much as being soulful. Her intonation & phrasing are slightly more Judee Sill or Nyro. Ana may be too young (an assumption) to be familiar with these older artists, but their threads are in her fabric. Her producer Lorenzo Wolff (guitar/synths/steel/electric pianos/Rhodes/drum programming/vibraphone/talkbox) did participate in a tribute LP to Judee Sill, so my assumption could be wrong.
“You Hurt Me,” is a wonderful soul sprinkled with jazz. Nice touch. Ana’s tone is attractive, consistently strong even when she isn’t full throttle. She doesn’t showboat; she doesn’t need it & she doesn’t sing in a valium-induced stupor.
She has a quiet strength conveyed expertly in “Heartbroken Kind.” A moody Sade type of atmosphere mixed generously with sultry Peggy Lee phrasing. As Ana sings she even hints at possibilities of being an effective alt-country singer – someday. She continues with her delicate & warm style with buttery horns in “We Let the Devil.” Now I’m wondering if the blues could be in Ana’s future.
Between Us (Drops Sept 17–StorySound Records) is Ana’s 12th LP. 11-tracks including a Spanish flavored brass tune “Be Your Drug,” – that’s another delight with spirited diversity. Ana sings this new set with confidence despite the sadness of some lyrics like “Lie, Lie, Lie,” that’s peppered only with groaning brass to convey suffering. Ana leaves the angst to the instruments. She sings with spirit.
With “Sorry,” there’s an obvious influence, maybe unconscious, to write a Leonard Cohen-tinted song. From the melody to the lyric to the singing style, it’s richly reminiscent of Leonard. Yet, in Ana’s capable voice — lovely. Quite an impressive LP by an exceptionally talented woman.
Musicians: Corey Fonville (drums), Michael Isvara Montgomery (bass), Jon Cowherd (Wurlitzer, Rhodes, organ), Alphonso Home (trumpet), Sonny Step (sax), Darius Christian (trombone), Anh Phung (percussive flute), Roxy Egge (recorder), Jonny Lam (steel guitar/electric guitars), & J. Hoard (harmony vocals).
Color image by Shervin Lainez. The 36-minute CD is available @ https://www.anaegge.com/