Ana Egge – If she can make it there
Right now, Ana Egge is living a charmed life. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter has captivated the music community of Austin. Though she’s only been here a relatively short time, her live performances at songwriter-friendly spaces such as Threadgill’s and the Cactus Cafe are drawing raves and large audiences. Not an easy feat in a place where it seems almost every person in town is a songwriter; yet everything Egge does seems effortless.
Raised in Ambrose, South Dakota, a town with a population of less than 75, Egge and her family moved to Silver City, an equally small town in New Mexico, when she was 10. She arrived in Texas in October 1994 at the suggestion of Sarah Brown, the bass player and songwriter who is perhaps best known as a member of the Antone’s house band, to record her first set of songs. Brown contacted Asleep At The Wheel drummer Dave Sanger about using his home studio and invited guitarist friends Steve James and Chris Miller along for the sessions. The result was a cassette that sold enough to finance a trip to Europe and consequently a move to Austin in 1995.
“I love it here,” Egge says. “The music scene and the musicians have all been so supportive. Actually I find it pretty amazing how much support the musicians in this town give to each other.” To illustrate that notion, earlier this year, Egge released her first CD, River Under The Road, on Sanger’s Lazy S.O.B. label, and the credits cut a broad stroke through the Austin music community. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Danny Barnes of the Bad Livers, Mary Cutrufello, Cindy Cashdollar, Rich Brotherton, Casper Rawls and Paul Glasse are all involved in some way, as are Brown and James. The support continues this summer, as she’s scheduled to open shows nationwide for both Gilmore and Asleep At The Wheel.
At the core, though, is Egge’s music. A combination of bluegrass, folk and Texas-style country that defies easy categorization, it speaks beyond her years. With a voice that recalls a young Bonnie Raitt, Egge sings of home and family with deep affection. She writes songs about being on the road with a keen eye for detail, a result of having traveled from New Mexico to the Dakotas many times.
The first song Egge ever wrote, “Mind Over Matter”, is included on River Under The Road. With its ornate fingerpicked guitar parts and mature expression of how life continues after a broken relationship, it’s a stunning piece of work. “The big rockin’ number,” the tall blonde calls it with a sly laugh. “It just kinda came out. After I wrote it, I played it for my mom and she goes, ‘That’s really amazing. No one would ever be able to tell that you wrote that’.”