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Ana Egge: Out Past the Lights

Ana Egge: Out Past the Lights

Label:Grace-ParkinSong/Ryko Distribution
Release Date:2005

By John Duffy | Posted 4/13/2005

When a 22-year-old Ana Egge emerged out of Austin in 1999 she was widely praised for her songwriting and performing maturity by some well-heeled admirers (Shawn Colvin, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams). It’s hard to fathom, but in the six years since she’s grown an entire new career. While her earliest work fit nicely into a conventional alt-country niche, Egge’s newest, Out Past the Lights, reveals a singer moving far beyond the well-tread paths in which she first trod.

Now a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident, her music has evolved into a convincing clash of urban and rural, indie rock and folk. A broad palette of bubbling Wurlitzers, lazy horns, and rolling pedal steels—brought along by producer Jason Mercer (Ani DiFranco, Ron Sexsmith)—color Egge’s songs with odd angles atypical to a singer/songwriter album. But Egge’s compositions—every last one a stirring yet comforting melody—coupled with an unparalleled sense of word economy and her voice, are the true accomplishments here. When she dryly sings of a world “small enough for us” on the back of a motorcycle, an unused wedding dress hidden away in a closet “like a secret shotgun,” or whispers of a snow-covered morning signaling life’s renewal, she does so in round, sandy cellolike tones. She precisely conveys vivid emotions—joy, coyness, shame, pride, innocence—without effort, artifice, or haste.

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