I've seen Ana Egge live a few times over the years, from house shows to afternoon sets at festivals to hotel rooms at the Folk Alliance. Often these appearances were with other musicians and I noticed that Ana's superpower makes other artists sound better than I remembered them. Now she has turned this talent inward on her new album "Between Us". Although Egges music generally falls into the folk genre, it has far exceeded that envelope on this record.
Horns play a prominent role in multiple cuts. Wait A Minute, the whole soul of Memphis goes on you as it sets some rules for the relationship. Saxophone makes a standout appearance in Heartbroken Kind, another soulful song about relationships. This time around, it comments on the kind of person who likes when things don't work out. The most impactful song on the album is We Lay Roses, a co-writer of Gary Nicholson. A lonely, piercing trumpet conveys grief over the loss of a loved one. When Egge sings about friends saying hello and goodbye, it perfectly captures the process of turning a life into good memories.
Egge is also familiar with synthesizers. At some point she must have spent a lot of time listening to pop radio hits from the 80s. There is a deep vein of it that runs through this project. Be Your Drug is a bright, jazzy love game with drums and keys. Don’t Come Around is a luscious, structured number full of fear that Morrissey would have been proud of. Sorry also has a slow, dark feel to it with synthesizers and drums, which is another take on a difficult relationship. Want Your Attention is pure pop genius. If a teen crush doesn't cover this, there will be no justice in the world.
I was surprised that this is Ana Egge's 12th album. The amount of creative output didn't surprise me, but that it was under my radar for so long. If you're a fan of her, "Between Us" pushes the boundaries of her music and is a good addition to the tome. If you are new to Egge, there is no such thing as time like the present, and Between Us is a great place to start.
About the author: I actually drove from Tehatchapee to Tonopah. And I saw Dallas from a DC-9 at night.