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Anna Coogan – The nocturnal among us

augustus 2nd, 2010 at 19:50

www.annacoogan.com

Destination.

Anna Coogan’s development into a folky singer-songwriter was long and winding: the American broke off an opera study in Austrian city Salzburg, where she also sang show tunes during recitals to everyone’s bewilderment and sometimes missed classes because she went skiing. She studied biology after that and only started singing (again) after hearing Alison Krauss. Two CD’s with her band north19 scored nicely, but that band fell apart in 2007.

Coogan wrote the eleven songs for her first solo-outing mostly during sleepless nights, visited by doubt and despair. Even in that one up-tempo rocker with merry ooh-la-la refrain she sings how she would prefer to go back to bed to dream about another life.

In her ten other songs she mixes understatement with feelings, turning herself inside out that way. In impressionistic lyrics she sings about how her relationship ended and how worn out she feels after that. Striking is both the influence of faith and fate. Because her words circle around these themes, they make all the more of an impression. Changing perspective regularly she seems to encourage herself sometimes fruitlessly.

A huge desolation arises from the careful song order, still stressed because Coogan regularly changes effortlessly from a veiled low sound to an emotional high one.

Together with atmospheric musicians like drummer Eric Hastings, keyboardist/husband Brooks Miner and guitarist/producer JD Foster (Patti Griffin, Calexico) she creates an impressive thematic solo debut that way.

***1/2

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