Anne E. Dechant is an unsung force in today’s Nashville music scene. She’s part of the movement of singer-songwriters who emerged from the 1980s post-punk era carrying the passion and energy of music that connects with everyday realities – its problems and its celebrations.
Dechant began as a folksinger in Cleveland, Ohio, and was not content to stay contained in one genre. She looked up to artists like Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith, who made statements and knew how to rock hard. She went electric, but maintained much of the spirit of the old-school folksinger.
However, with her own artistic growth, DeChant developed a signature sound and songwriting craft that is her own. Her music is a bold celebration of the essence of what it is to be alive in the moment. With the gradual homogenization of popular music and tailored Americana that sometimes leans toward mellow sleepiness, DeChant is our wake-up call to all of the possibilities found in songs and stories when they’re told with integrity, honesty, and heart. She is what the future of Americana music needs to be in order to endure – a passionate prophetess who has come in from the wild, rough edges intact, and ready to rock.
However, while her career has spanned 25 years and nine independently released albums of great rock, folk, and country-based songs, she remains relatively unknown outside of the music industry except for a loyal following in Nashville. Her upcoming release, The Sun Coming In, now in the midst of a crowd funding campaign through IndieGoGo, is her response to career crossroads and personal reflection. Although she is a seasoned artist, this album represents something of spiritual growth for her. On her IndieGoGo webpage she states:
One day near the end of 2014, I was in my office, behind my desk with guitar in hand, facing the picture window that looks out on my yard, and that’s when the song, ‘The Sun Coming In’ began. I was completely present inside the comfort of the sun coming through the window. For me, the song represents my letting go of many fears about my career in music. Fears like would I ever get a cut (that’s when a big star records a song you’ve written), was I any good, should I listen to the voices trying to steer me away from who I really am as a writer? I’d struggled with these doubts for years. Then one day while I was mowing the lawn I asked myself what my problem was. I had a roof over my head, friends and family who love me, good health, a loving supportive partner, two dogs and a cat and on and on I went. I realized I have an abundant life and that I had only to take all that I’ve learned and continue on a path of writing from the heart, telling the stories I want to tell and sharing them with you. And so the title track of my new CD came to me quite naturally.
A veteran of Cleveland’s rock scene, Dechant’s solo career began in 1996. She became known for her charismatic voice, her skills as a songwriter, vocalist and live performer. Her following became so strong in the Cleveland area she earned a place on the Lilith tour in the ’90s.
She also became known for her outspoken stance on current issues including gender equality, supporting the post war troops, and Holocaust denial. During the ‘90s, she even had the opportunity to play at the White House during a children’s Easter celebration.
But, now, with The Sun Coming In, she takes a riskier step in a more personal direction.
In a recent phone interview from her home in Nashville she clarified how this new album will be a departure from her past work. “I’m much more about simply telling the story and letting the meaning come out of that,” she says. “This album is not so much about telling you what to think, or what I think, as it is about showing you a story through song. This is my most personal album.”
DeChant has collected the stories and songs for The Sun Coming In over the last three years since the release of her critically acclaimed disc, Swing. Her feelings about the songs and her audience come through clearly.
“My favorite thing is sharing my music with you,” she says. “To transport you to a time, place and feeling with the stories of my songs, is my greatest challenge and my greatest joy.”
The album was produced by Mike Severs and is set to release in September. DeChant says it’s different from her previous recordings. “Mike is one of the best producers in Nashville,” she says. “He’s worked in studio with so many great people – Loretta Lynn, Paul Simon, and Brian Wilson. He really took a singer-songwriter approach and recorded my guitar and vocals first, then built the sound around that. A lot like Guy Clark has done on his albums.”
As the wave of Americana music continues to grow going into its third decade, Anne E. DeChant’s career has paralleled this rising tide. With what looks to be her finest album to date in the works, she is one Americana artist to watch over the next year.