Alone in This Together
The young woman stared back at me from the black-and-white photo on her website. Black leather jacket, dyed black hair, copious black eyeliner and a disdainful sneer that would humble even the haughtiest teenager. Oh, I was on to you, Star Anna. You were about to deliver me an album of obvious chord progressions and all the usual lines about how unfair life is. But was I ever wrong. I listened to Ms. Anna’s new album to discover an incredibly rich and mature songwriting talent that could hold its own among any of alt-country’s musical doyennes. She easily elicits comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Erika Wennerstrom of the Heartless Bastards, especially in the way her low voice seems to travel from the back of her throat only to swell and ring out in a powerful chorus. Justin Davis is nimble on lead guitar, and Ty Bailie’s Hammond organ adds soul and verve to several tracks. I’m not sure what’s more impressive — that Anna is a mere 25 years old, or that this is already her third album. Either way, she has given us much to enjoy now, with years of songwriting to look forward to.