Review – Star Anna – Crooked Path (Malamute Records)

Now this is how it’s done. Ellensburg, Washington based Star Anna Krogstie‘s debut release, “Crooked Path” (the English translation of her Norwegian surname) delivers some of the finest work in alternative country today.

Echoing the folky remoteness of Cat Power (Chan Marshall), the rustic revivalism of Gillian Welch, and just a grain of Neko Case style Southern-gothic smoldering, Star Anna wears her influences proudly but makes her own mark on the material here.

Her band the Laughing Dogs lay down adept and solid sounds that moves from the of “If Wishes Were Horses” , “Black Cat Blues” to the Appalachian-style raved-up title song. “Places We Exist” takes page from the Van Morrison book of swinging pop-folk and “Space Beneath The Door” grooves along with a soft blues-funk that belies the love don’t live here no more message of the song. One of the finest songs in a whole line of fine songs is the slow-burning “No Surprise” featuring a weeping bottle-neck accompaniment is as haunting as anything done by the great Patsy Cline and is guaranteed to break your heart and make you reach for the bottle.

Sure the sound moves across a sonic landscape, but Star Anna pulls it all together with her lilting passionate voice. This is one of the finest debut releases it has been my pleasure to hear.

Star Anna – “If WIshes Were Horses”


6 Replies to “Review – Star Anna – Crooked Path (Malamute Records)”

  1. Pingback: Marty Stuart To Debut “The Marty Stuart Show” on RFD-TV in November | Twang Nation

  2. thanks for the kind words regarding last year’s debut album from star anna. star anna and the laughing dogs have a new one about to be released on our own label, big bubba dog records. the title of the new record is “the only thing that matters” and it will be available the first week of april, 2009. i can mail a copy if you wish, or send you a link for a free download, if that would be more to your liking.
    thanks again for your kind words.
    frank johnson (bass player in the laughing dogs)

  3. Frank, shoot me an email and I’ll give you my address for the new record. holler (at) twangnaton,com

  4. I downloaded the new album a couple of weeks and feel it is the best music I have come by in a long time. “The Only Thing That Matters” has a no holds barred rawness that latches on very fast and doesn’t let go for the duration. It has a live in the studio feel (kind of like Exile on Main Street and LA Woman by the Stones and Doors respectively.) Lyrically, all of the songs resonate with Star Anna’s recurring themes of her sense of place and the isolation of a wind swept Eastern Washington, complicated love and not quite love that still manage to go sideways, declarations of a ragged heart and still sweet soul amid the darkness of our times. More so than “Crooked Path” TOTTM shows case the superb guitar work of Justin Davis. There is a lot more to be heard of Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs.

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