Ana Egge

River Under the Road

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Ana Egge's debut album signaled the arrival of a unique songwriting perspective and moving new voice on the country/folk scene. Egge, who often writes nostalgically about her hippie parents and the days of her youth, contributed nine of the 11 songs on the album. In "Dakota," for instance, she sings about returning to her childhood home, "a town of 50 people," where "I was the queen of my country in my snow castle every day." She also has a flair for vividly describing fictional characters, like Francis Baker, the fugitive, Vegas performer, and cocaine addict of "Fairest of Them All." Nearly as impressive as Egge's writing is her Bonnie Raitt-like voice, a sweet, lilting device that is the perfect vehicle for her often wistful, yearning songs.

Dave Sanger's production, an interesting, mostly acoustic blend of country, folk, pop, and even bluegrass, complements the songs' lyrics well. Rarely do singer, song, and production combine so perfectly as on the album's emotional pinnacle, "Bless Me Mother." In that song Egge longs for a lost love, singing, "It's not your face; it's your voice I miss." Many producers might overpower Egge's subtly heartbreaking lyric, but Sanger opts for a soft blend of acoustic and steel guitars, fiddle, and drums. It's the highlight of an outstanding debut album.

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