The Steel Wheels, Anna Egge

When: Fri., May 24 2013

ANA EGGE Given her unusual upbringing, Brooklyn-based folk troubadour Ana Egge was bound to be a free spirit. Raised on a hot springs hippie commune in rural New Mexico, Egge learned to build her own guitar from her alternative school’s astrology teacher. Egge still plays that guitar today, singing about self-sufficiency, restlessness and the road in a clear, warm alto which suggests a harder edged Gillian Welch. Even when she’s being playful, as with her 2007 covers collection, Lazy Days, which focuses on songs about idleness, Egge’s catchy Americana harbors a haunted nourish streak. It’s this combination of easy-going panache and underlying edge that led peer Lucinda Williams to call Egge, “the Nina Simone of folk.” Egge’s road took an even harder turn in 2011 when she teamed with producer Steve Earle to create the LP Bad Blood, a clear-eyed examination of the mental illness that runs in her family. Even tainted with the ravages of madness, Egge’s songs retain graceful composure, effortless melodicism and a sense of hope. Consciously avoiding shock and melodrama, Egge’s unflinching examination of the heartland’s dark underbelly is tempered with acceptance and understanding.

Pat Moran

Price: $17.50

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