“Ana's an exceptional songwriter, listen to the lyrics...the folk Nina Simone!” — Lucinda Williams
“New York's Ana Egge stole the show, and perhaps the entire festival. Egge throws back a shot of tequila with the same effortlessness she delivers her stunning melodies with her breathy, sultry voice and towering stage presence.” — Shannon Webb-Campbell, Chart Magazine
“Ana Egge's songs are low and lonesome, big square-state noir ballads which she plays on a guitar she built with her own two hands and sings like she's telling us her deepest, darkest secrets.” — Steve Earle
“...we stumbled on the sublime art of Ana Egge. Egge is a damn good guitar player, with strong and forceful chops, balanced by an ethereal voice...” — David Inman, American Songwriter
“Ana has the rare gift of being so eloquent and simple that she takes your breath away. I just love her.” — Shawn Colvin
“Last night at the Cactus Cafe, Ana Egge held court in fine style.... the performance showed just how far Egge has come from the seemingly innocent folk ingenue of 12 years ago to a world class risk taker whose sounds rival Ron Sexsmith or Beth Orton.” — Jim Caliguiri, Austin Chronicle
“Ana has one of the prettiest voices I've ever heard and her songs are beautiful and refreshingly original.” — Ron Sexsmith
“Egge has made a name for herself as a Gillian Welch figure with a rocker attitude...” — Cameron Matthews, Spinner
“Egge's talent is well-honed and resplendent.” — J Felton, Record Dept
"We were always the outsiders," says folk songwriter Ana Egge of her early roots in a small North Dakota town of 50 people. "I was taught how to shoot a gun and how to enjoy alfalfa sprouts and tofu, raised by two back-to-the-land hippies. My folks loved the outdoors and eccentric people; I ran around barefoot and learned to ride a motorcycle when I was 5. I grew up with all the time and space in the world." Egge has since traded the openness of the American Plains for the untamable wilderness of New York City, recorded seven albums, and worked with musical legends such as Ron Sexsmith and Steve Earle. She's been around the horn of life's experiences, having gotten married and become a mother, but that childhood spirit of freedom has matured on her latest album, Bright Shadow.
Self-produced by Egge herself, Bright Shadow is a direct collaboration with acclaimed American roots trio, Yep Roc recording artists The Stray Birds ? Maya De Vitry (fiddle, banjo, vocals), Charles Muench (upright bass, vocals), and Oliver Craven (mandolin, fiddle, slide guitar, vocals) ? who join Egge as her band on the album. "They were fans of my last album (2011's Steve Earle-produced, Bad Blood) and approached me about backing me up at Folk Alliance in Toronto 2012. There was an immediate affinity between us and the music just flowed." The sound also marks a return to the kind of music she fell in love with first as a teenager playing in her high school bluegrass band, and listening to artists like Iris Dement on cassettes. "Acoustic instruments played in a circle with everyone singing. I had The Stray Birds very much in mind while writing and arranging these songs. Their strengths and personalities shine! We had so much fun in the studio." As for Egge herself, the power of her voice lies in its ability to be at once haunting and comforting, possessing the otherworldly vocal quality of Emmylou Harris and the dark sweetness of Aimee Mann with a smooth effortlessness all Egge's own.
Since recording Bright Shadow, Egge's daughter was born and her mother died, and in retrospect, she says, the songs on the album mirror these intense and formative life changes. With a deeply supportive marriage to her wife of seven years, Egge felt for the first time that she could feel comfortable being beautiful on stage. "That might sound strange but it's true," she says. "After having our baby I felt the same kind of personal permission arise in me about being able to be comforting, giving, and sweetly mellow. On Bad Blood I was working through intense issues I'd been hiding from writing about for years, but with Bright Shadow I found myself beyond this trying or not trying. It's spiritual and warm and life confirming." While on her previous album Egge sang, "We are fools to work against the wind," on Bright Shadow that sentiment has matured into a recognition of freedom and resolve. "I hitched a ride with the wind, and since he was my friend, I just let him decide where we'd go," she sings on her cover of Dolly Parton's Wildflowers, continuing: "When a flower grows wild, it can always survive. Wildflowers don't care where they grow."
On Bright Shadow, Ana Egge reveals remarkable growth, as an artist and a person, recognizing that freedom comes less from fighting the current of the wind, but from being able to yield and follow. She offers her story to the American roots music tradition, an outsider, a wildflower, comfortable in her own skin. Bright Shadow is an album that feels at once unique and universal, a hard-learned meditation that, while the darkness can be true, the shadow is proof that the light exists.
Say That Now
Ana Egge & The Sentimentals