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Anna O - Comin' Home

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 25 / 8 / 2011

Anna O - Comin' Home
Label: Sunshine Drenchy Records
Format: CD


Captitivating and fascinating fourth album from unique-sounding New Mexico-based singer-songwriter, Anna O

North Dakota born Anna O released her debut ‘One Big Universe’ way back in 2001 and instantly found like-minded souls who liked her music in the Tampa Bay, Florida music scene. Over the next couple of years Anna released no less than two full-length CDs (‘Pink Heart, Blue Tattoo and ‘Horses, God and The Perfect Kiss’) and an EP, ‘Sugar Pop’. Unfortunately, and despite Anna winning awards and a Nashville publishing contract, a series of events led to Anna taking a forced hiatus for the next three to four years and moving to the deserts of New Mexico. Eventually Anna returned to the songs she was working on before she left Tampa. Hooking up with Zen Recording Studios owner and guitar genius Steve Connelly the pair finished the songs which make up Anna’s latest album ‘Comin’ Home’. Recently released on Florida’s ‘Sunshine Drenchy’ label the album is a collection of eleven captivating and fascinating songs that show that Anna O is an artist of some considerable talent. Anna is one of those artists who is impossible to pigeon-hole into any one genre, while many would group her into the Americana stable, mainly due to the fact that both vocally and musically Lucinda Williams readily comes to mind a number of times while listening to ‘Comin’ Home’. Especially on the slower tracks, there are folk and pop elements that creep into each and every song that push Anna’s songs into other territories. But it’s not only Lucinda Williams one can hear in these songs, close your eyes and ‘Kiss And Make Up’ could be Chrisse Hynde fronting Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers. With Connelly’s 12-string, pedal steel and Hammond a lovely, warm sound is achieved on this recording, which also shows that Anna is capable of displaying a soulful side even on the more upbeat sing-along tracks. The following song is ‘Love, Light And Mercy’, and while the Hammond, this time handled by Anna, takes more of a back seat it’s another soulful performance vocally from hera while the song actually brings to mind a number of classic Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham compositions. While listening to this song thoughts of Amy Rigby enter the mind to add to those Lucinda/Chrissie comparisons, but one still doesn’t lose sight of the fact that Anna O does have a sound of her own. Connelly’s guitar on this particular track is also worthy of special mention, if you wonder why the man is held in such high regard as a guitarist then one listen to his solo here is all it will take to be converted. Opening the album with ‘All My Sorrows’ was an inspired move as it displays all that is good about the music that Anna O produces and gives a good indication of what this talented artist is all about. Like the third song, ‘Day Of The Dead’ there’s a rootsy almost swampy feel to that opening song which draws you in instantly and holds you for the duration. Splitting those two songs is the title song, ‘Comin’ Home’ which is cut from a different cloth entirely. With Connelly’s mandolin and guitar picking out one of Anna’s prettiest melodies it displays the singer’s gentler side and Anna’s vocals, which by the end of the song have taken on a certain sultriness, are nothing less than stunning. While ‘Comin’ Home’ is one of those albums where it’s impossible to pick a favourite due to the high standard of the songs, ‘I Was Wrong’ deserves special mention. Backed by just Connelly’s pedal steel and Anna’s own acoustic guitar, the way Anna sings lines like “I thought we were in for the long road/but I guess I was wrong” will leave your heart in pieces. ‘Comin’ Home’ is a collection of brilliant songs, beautifully produced and played and an album that you will return to time and time again. It covers all bases and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever tire of listening to these songs. In closing mention should be made of Anna’s excellent site at www.annaomusic.com where you can not only listen to samples of this latest album but also of her previous excellent releases. The lyrics to Anna’s songs are also on her site and really deserve to be checked out. The future is looking good for Sunshine Drenchy Records, apart from Anna O’s outstanding CD there’s a new album due from the Ditchflowers, an eagerly awaited EP from Steve Robinson due any time and a tantalizing taster for the collaboration between Robinson and Ed Woltill titled ‘Little Regrets’ which is already up on YouTube. That little Florida label is really going places.

Track Listing:-
1 All My Sorrows
2 Comin' Home
3 Day of the Dead
4 I Was Wrong
5 Kiss and Make Up
6 Love, Light and Mercy
7 If I Could Only Get Free
8 Nicotine
9 Tangled and Dark
10 Beautiful
11 The Leaving

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