Ana Egge Album Review
Ana Egge’s ‘Between Us’
Out Now on StorySound Records
By Rob Dickens
Ana Egge’s latest Between Us (via StorySounds Records) is her twelfth album.
Showing commendable drive as teenager, she built her own guitar and moved to Austin, Texas. Her career has consolidated over time having worked on recordings with Steve Earle and Ron Sexsmith, as well as full projects with The Stray Birds and The Sentimentals. One of her singles “We Are One,” co-written with Gary Nicholson, gathered over five million Spotify spins.
When conceiving Between Us, Egge wanted a musical departure from what she had before. The process started early in the pandemic, when she began collaborating online with Irish singer-songwriter Mick Flannery, whose path she had crossed at festivals over the years. Their on-line collaboration proved a natural and fruitful experience “It was so fun, and the writing happened so easily — it was almost eerie,” Egge admits. “Almost every time we’d meet up, we would write a whole song.” In fact, nine of the eleven songs flowed from these virtual sessions.
The other lucrative component for the release emanated from a journal she kept as dream ideas kept presenting themselves. Searching for a producer with a fresh direction, Egge engaged Lorenzo Wolff after being fascinated by his work on the recent Judee Sill tribute Down Where the Valleys Are Low.
The material here reflects her inquisitive and mindful state, in reflecting on troubled relationships and the need to take responsibility about outcomes through the early core of the album’s track list – “You Hurt Me”, “Heartbroken Kind” and “We Let The Devil”. “Lie, Lie, Lie” bravely journals a loved one’s inappropriate judgements and intolerance, while “We Lay Roses” (penned with Nicholson, clip below) is a grieving accolade for her nephew.
Egge prioritized diversity among the musicians she worked with on this record. “It’s up to me to work for an equitable, inclusive community as much as I can in my life and career,” Egge states. “I can be one of the people trying to make a difference; even though that might be small, it’s still in the direction that I want the world to be moving in.”
The players Egge and Wolff assembled were all people she had never played with before (except for backing vocalist J. Hoard) and they brought eclectic musical backgrounds to the music – jam and jazz drummer Corey Fonville, African psych-funk bassist Michael Isvara Montgomery and guitarist/steel guitarist Jonny Lam, bluegrass flautist Anh Phung and New Orleans-schooled keyboardist Jon Cowherd, while the horn players’ credits range from Ricky Martin to Rhiannon Giddens.
Between Us provides many great moments -either through Egge’s nuanced vocals, the adroit arrangements (particularly the glorious horns) and the unabashed honesty pervading it all. A triumph.
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Ana Egge Album Review