Saturday, November 9, 2013

Star Anna - Go To Hell

"Well, enough already! I'm not satisfied with any of it," she announced.

The drummer impatiently tapped his foot.  The guitarist looked her in the eye and taunted in a huff, "Damn it Star! If you think you're so effin' good, you can do it yourself.  By the way your guitar playing sucks."

"It ain't you.  It ain't me.  It's everything.  It is change.  I don't want this anymore.  Three albums are enough." Star exclaimed with resignation.

The keyboardist chimed in, "So, you're saying it's over?"

Star, exasperated, exclaims, "Yes!  It's done, it's over, we're finished."

It's hard to give up a good gig. The now former bandmates stop, look at each other and yell in unison "Go To Hell!"

I have no idea if that is how it happened.  It is a fiction conjured in my mind's eye. Yet, Star Anna staffs her fourth album with a whole new band and calls it Go To Hell.  The publicity for the release gives some clues to the change in accompaniment and approach.  At the time of recording Go To Hell Star says she was in the midst of personal "upheaval" with "a lot of battles going on" and a "lot of betrayals . . . ."

The album is clearly related to how Star dealt with those difficulties. Star says,

"[The album is about] balance. There is a lot of anger and loss, but there is also the other side of that. When something happens that strips you down to the bone, you can choose to only focus on the anger or you can also look around at the people who are still there, who are still trustworthy, loving and truly kind."

Unlike prior Star Anna releases Go To Hell's ten tracks are more of a band written effort.  Star Anna indicates they went into the studio with few completed songs and only a skeletal idea of the musical concept for the release. The album is co-produced by band member Ty Bailie (keyboards/organ/piano) who plays alongside Julian McDonough (drums), Jacques Willis (vibraphones), Will Moore (bass), and Jeff Fielder (guitars).

Some of the greatest art of all time has been produced during artists' most difficult personal struggles.  Monet's most famous paintings where created when he and his family fell into abject poverty. Van Gogh's insanity produced "Starry Night."   Whatever travails beset Star Anna they have led to the best album she has, to date, released.

Star has a Billie Holliday voice with a sultry growl that she uses to front a hard folk blues rock sound.  Go To Hell contains a number of firsts for Star.  She included her first cover, a great rendition of Tom Waits' "Come On Up to The House," and co-wrote songs for the first time with a friend, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Shane Tutmarc, who wasn't a member of the band.  She also set aside her guitar and limited her efforts to vocals.

What you hear is what you get with Star.  To find out if you like it go to Go To Hell.

- Old School


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