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Arts & Culture(Archives)


A Review of… Ana Egge Live

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A warm welcome on a cold, snowy winter night. We’re past the threshold and into a transformed living room. Festive Jello shooter in one hand, cold beer in the other – this is the outset of a highly anticipated evening.

Since moving to the Mac, I’ve had many of my humanly needs met. But being a music reviewer, I’ve been deprived of my soul food, my raison d’etre… live music. The Live Bar and Grill has helped to keep me from going mad, but a newly made friend of mine is now helping me out with a monthly dosage to assuage my addiction: house concerts.

My first hit, Ana Egge.

I was told to come with fresh ears, a practice which often leads to pleasant surprises and captivating experiences. Ana Egge did well to pleasantly captivate.

Ana, a native of Saskatchewan has spent a life of relative vagabond. Born in small-town Saskatchewan, growing up on a farmhouse in North Dakota, as well as rambling with her family through California and New Mexico, Ana has seen, heard, smelled and felt more than most. It comes through in her music and speaking with her personally and frankly, it simply seeps from her resting state. Ana is a truly unique presence, unlike any I’ve come across.

I haven’t even started describing her music yet.

Coming from humble roots and exemplifying the life of a farmer’s daughter, Ana exudes a natural bare bones beauty which underlies her purity of sound and soul. She has an honesty that can move you to tears or at the very least to an immediate silence. The music she crafts is elemental and highly original but it is her voice that is most striking. Unparalleled, her pitch is pure, dark and ruthless. Raw, rare and somewhat ethereal – it’s enough to give you goosebumps. Her instrument to spark your awe, her voice - amazing as it is - is merely the vehicle of her songcraft.

Now, I’ve always been a sucker for a good songwriter. If you’re really going to look at a piece of lyrical music - when everything else is stripped away - you see that a song really stands on its words. Standing tall, Ana’s lyrical content is nothing short of inspirational. At times brooding and abloom, at times barefoot and besoothing, always intrepid and aware, Ana’s lyrics come through unabashed; moving you along her storyline and immersing you in her world - Northern articulate and bold.

Her latest album release, Bad Blood (2011), was produced by the legendary Steve Earle in the arguably more legendary Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock. Critically acclaimed and yours truly endorsed, it’s a showcase of everything Ana does best. Dark in tone, rich in substance, it’s a collection of songs I and a handful of other Fort McMurrians were lucky enough to witness at a house concert that, in hindsight, seems now like an unlikely dream.

In Fort McMurray I’ve had the pleasure of discovering many hidden gems which the media and the mindset of our greater nation seems to gloss over. I, for one, am extremely humbled by some of the people I’ve met, and am beginning to find pride in this community. Knowing now that there’s an opportunity for me to get my music fix in one of the most elegant and earthly ways I could hope for, only quickens my spirit. Thanks to the most welcoming householder Matt, and of course Ana Egge – two gems I won’t soon forget.

Photos by Matt Landry


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