Ana Egge & The Sentimentals- Say That Now review   Leave a comment


Still catching up on summer…


Ana Egge & the Sentimentals Say That Now

I can’t remember to caulk around the tub as my wife has been asking me to for two or three weeks, but I can remember this:

Fifteen or sixteen years ago, from Sound Connection in Edmonton I purchased a used copy of a CD by Ana Egge. The album was called River Under the Road, and never having heard of her prior to that day I am not sure why I was drawn to the recording, but at $5 in the discount bin I took a chance.

And I have no recollection of listening to the album. None.

Did I even listen to it? If so, it must not have grabbed me the way I had hoped, and on one of my trips to the city I long ago traded it in.

But, in the ensuing years that album has lurked around in the back of my head every time I read a favourable review of an Egge recording or saw a mention of appreciation for her, each time offering up the question, What did I miss?

I encountered her previous Bright Shadow recording, and didn’t fully appreciate its blend of folk imagery with country-rock aggression. Something kept me from fully embracing Egge.

And that is entirely on me, because listening to both those albums today I am utterly gobsmacked that I didn’t get it. Say That Now lets me know what a complete idiot I have been! For the past twenty years I could have been immersing myself in this amazing voice.

What has led me on this journey of rediscovery? A couple months ago, I received Say That Now in the mail, but summer procrastination being what it is…I didn’t listen to it. And more music piled on top. Finally, in my end of summer energy burst, I uncovered this unassuming album, brushed the dust bunnies and cat hair from it, and played it on the way to work one morning.

I’ve already called myself an idiot once: it seems unnecessary to continue to beat myself up, but…Idiot!

This is an incredible album.

Saskatchewan-born, North Dakota-raised, and New York-based Ana Egge has been making roots music since 1997. Since that time she has been produced by Steve Earle and Martin Terefe, compared to Sandy Denny and Shawn Colvin, and praised by the likes of Lucinda Williams (to whom comparisons are likely best made,) Buddy Miller, and Ron Sexsmith (who wrote Say The Now’s liner note.) Recording with Danish band The Sentimentals, this album of ten songs is a full-bore collaboration with several co-writes.

Pre-Car Wheels Lucinda is an apt starting point for songs like “Take Off My Dress” and “Still Waters Run Deep,” but that really doesn’t do justice: alt-country touches (maybe Blood Oranges on “The Girl from the Banks of Ohio”) abound, creating an album the likes of which is now seldom encountered. “He’s A Killer Now” is stark darkness, a mother’s reflection on an inexplicable event. “Falling, Falling, Falling” is just perfect, as is “Promises to Break”: lyrical wisdom combining with clever instrumental execution to create the type of lush country music we fell in love with when Joy Lynn White, Matraca Berg, and Mandy Barnett were recording for major labels.

I have a lot of catching up to do: don’t make the mistake I made—start with Say That Now.


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