Posts Tagged ‘Anna St Louis’

Anna St. Louis’ First Songs were just that — someone reaching into her favorite sounds to find her own. There was promise in those early experiments, as the John Fahey-inspired fingerstyle guitarist tried her hand at ’60s-style folk songs with a little bit of drone underneath. But like Steve Gunn or Itasca idiosyncratic solo guitarists who’ve found success in full-band, vocal-driven records Anna St. Louis has discovered her own path through lyrical songwriting.

If Only There Was a River is Anna St. Louis‘ proper debut album, backed by drummer Justin Sullivan (Night Shop) and multi-instrumentalist Oliver Hill (Pavo Pavo) and co-produced by Kyle Thomas (King Tuff) and Kevin Morby. The Kansas City-raised, L.A.-based songwriter leans into the pastoral alchemy of her songs, as her crystal-clear cadence sets guide stones over grassy hills.

“Understand,” premiering here with a flower-filled video directed by Christopher Good, lopes along like Loretta Lynn backed by sweeping strings and the loose vibe of Van Morrison’s Moondance band. It’s a familiar sound, yes, and it even channels some of Karen Dalton’s oblong, hiccuping soul. But St. Louis‘ lonesome howl seeks more questions than answers, certain that there’s more truth in uncertainty.

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Despite her last name, Anna St. Louis was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up a painter and singing in punk bands, eventually leaving her hometown to attend art school in Philadelphia. After graduating she made the move to Los Angeles where she began teaching herself guitar, writing songs and recording them on her own in her bedroom. First Songs is the sound of someone discovering their talent in real time – a peak into the collage of a wonderful mind that is absorbing their new surroundings and using new tools to put them into the room. Listening to this collection you can feel the sun coming in through the window – Anna on the foot of the bed with a guitar on her knee, finding her voice. St. Louis wears her influences well – think Patsy Cline singing over John Fahey – but has a style all her own. And while you can take the artist out of the midwest, you can’t take the midwest out of the artist – so let this be known; this is Midwestern music ran through a California filter. I believe Anna will have many more releases in her lifetime, but let it all begin here – First Songs.

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Kevin Morby’s new Woodsist imprint, Mare Records, is building a solid repertoire, first with the release of Shannon Lay’s sensitive LP, Living Water, and today with the lead single from Anna St. Louis’ First Songs. “Fire” is a fine introduction to the LA-via-Kansas City singer-songwriter’s guitar-driven Midwestern folk.

Despite her last name, Anna St. Louis was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up a painter and singing in punk bands, eventually leaving her hometown to attend art school in Philadelphia. After graduating she made the move to Los Angeles where she began teaching herself guitar, writing songs and recording them on her own in her bedroom. First Songs is the sound of someone discovering their talent in real time – a peak into the collage of a wonderful mind that is absorbing their new surroundings and using new tools to put them into the room. Listening to this collection you can feel the sun coming in through the window – Anna on the foot of the bed with a guitar on her knee, finding her voice. St. Louis wears her influences well – think Patsy Cline singing over John Fahey – but has a style all her own. And while you can take the artist out of the midwest, you can’t take the midwest out of the artist – so let this be known; this is Midwestern music ran through a California filter. I believe Anna will have many more releases in her lifetime,

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