Sometimes you just need to find the right people to make music with; The Beatles found each other, Gram found Emmylou and now Anna Coogan, folk songstress from the Pacific north west of the USA, has found Daniele Fiaschi, guitarist from Rome. Yes, that Rome. They say that they don’t have much in the way of a common language but, nonetheless, magic ensues when they play together. Somehow, as Daniele’s electric guitar weaves restrained drama around Anna’s singing, everything about her performance seems stronger, and to make more sense than anything I’ve heard from her before. The curious title comes from Nowhere Studio in Rome, where this really lovely little album was recorded over two days, with the minimum of post-recording embellishment.
Revisiting some songs from Anna’s two previous albums, introducing the odd new one and chucking in a couple of covers makes this a perfect introduction to Anna Coogan’s work. It’s the covers which demonstrate why Anna’s music is not as immediate as that of some artists. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot and Phil Och’s Crucifixion both have regular folk song structures that make them as easy as abc to sing along to. Anna’s songs, in contrast, have phrases that are little wisps of melody, as beautiful but almost as seemingly random as a butterfly dancing amongst the flowers. Somehow, Daniele’s guitar playing makes sense of where she’s going, providing a thread to hold onto as you listen to Anna’s voice.
The song amongst these nine that has been picked up for airplay seems to be Anna’s own Red Shoes, Black Dress, and it’s easy to see why. Aching with a kind of sadness, it’s more in country territory than most of her songs and has a more immediate melody to it, too. With her voice combining vulnerability and strength, there’s a serious dignity to this song that commands your attention from the off. Excellent stuff, this album, bound to be a Euroamericana favourite.
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