When you come across an artist like Ana Egge that you haven’t heard before, the test of whether you really like them or not is if you’re interested enough to pursue their back catalogue.
Well, I have delved into quite a few of her previous nine albums and have been rewarded with the discovery of a bright, intelligent, and quietly literate singer.
Truth be told the new album ‘White Tiger’ was not an immediate bang on the ear but it is a real grower.
The first thing that hits you is her voice. It is extremely laid back. There is a sleepy, almost seductive tone to her voice that at times belies the subject matter. She has sang in the past of the mother of a mass killer, and spent a whole album highlighting mental illness. This time around she sings of the dying hippie dream, the empowerment of women, and a young lesbian’s adventures in the big town.
If this all sounds a bit worthy and staid, it isn’t. There is a lot of variation of mood and the album moves at a pace.
The album, produced by Alec Spiegelman who also co-writes three of the tracks, is a mellow affair that lets the vocals and the lyrics take centre stage and rightly so.
The tittle track is one of the standouts on a album of high quality. It’s a song of hope to a friend going through a hard time, and the soft languid voice aids the message.
Keep your eyes on the tiger, feed him, let him be your guide, teach him freedom that he might lead you though to the other side.
‘Dance Around The Room’, another high point, is a mother and daughter serenade, with Ana sounding like a cross between Aimee Mann and Lucinda Williams.
The afore mentioned ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ is ostensibly a chapter in a young girl’s adventure in The Big Apple. It conjures up evocative pictures of Lou Reed, and CGBGs as she sings:
New York City was the place to be. Waiting on my man, waiting on sweet Jane.
The album features guest appearances from Anais Mitchell, Billy Strings and Buck Meek (Big Thief) among others.
This is not an album that grabs you initially, but one that seeps into your consciousness and will have you tracking more music from the quietly voiced, but eloquent Ana Egge.