Anna Vogelang: Pop-Folk Songstress Set to Release 'Driftless'

Article Contributed by Mixtape Media | Published on Monday, October 20, 2014

Anna Vogelzang – the multi-instrumentalist, producer and songstress -- is set to release Driftless on her own Paper Anchor Music. This is the follow up to 2012’s celebrated Canary in a Coal Mine. Amarillo, the first track from the new EP, premiered on BlackBook Magazine’s website on October 17th. Of Vogelzang, Blackbook raves, “every now and again, a folk-pop artist emerges with a universally warming sound that takes over the airwaves and attracts everyone from tweens to full blown adults, using smart and often G-rated lyrics over heartening melodies.”

Click Here to Listen To Amarillo on BlackBook

The six tracks that make up Driftless find Vogelzang moving seamlessly between guitar, ukulele and banjo while her honeyed alto sings of the hopefulness born of change, struggle, addiction, family, and heartbreak.  Vogelzang recruited an all-star group of Midwestern musicians to assist her in fully realizing the tracks for this EP.  Drummer Shane Leonard of Field Report, vocalist Amanda Rigell of Count This Penny, Ann Arbor bass player Ben Willis, clarinet and saxophonist Cheston VanHuss of PHOX and Milwaukee cellist Patrick Reinholz all added to the lush textures and ethereal atmosphere of Driftless.

Upon the creation of this collection of songs, Vogelzang muses, “this was a nameless project while we were working on it… something that’s never really happened with my albums before; tying together otherwise unrelated songs into a completed thought was a new & fulfilling experience for me. Driftless is the name of a region in the Midwest, including southwestern Wisconsin, that escaped glaciation in the last glacial period. Conceptually, I loved the idea of outrunning the glacier, and - when the word is taken at face value - the idea of unfaltering, unwavering-ness in one’s life. These songs all have a channel of hope running through them, a steadfast undercurrent of believing in the good.”

The EP kicks off with Amarillo, an upbeat but lyrically dark song that Vogelzang describes as “a friend break-up song” and segues into Mercy – a spirited and driving track about family that was written as part of the Real Women, Real Songs project challenging artists to write one song a week for the calendar year of 2014.

Next up is Vanguard, co-written with Amanda Rigell of Count This Penny. The two songwriting friends also wrote this track for the Real Women, Real Songs project.  Vogelzang explains, “Amanda already had a completely in-tact chorus that she brought to the table, and together we wrote the verses around it. There are some beautiful lyrical choices that came from tossing words back and forth to each other, which feels like the truest and most fulfilling kind of co-write — words I never would have chosen alone, but words that really bloom within the song and create some gorgeous, heartbreaking images.”

Rounding out the EP are Lion, a cathartic song born out of a frustration with life circumstances, Kay  - a slower paced, doo-wop song that finds Vogelzang writing from the perspective of her grandmother, and finishes with the triumphant Why Not. Of the final track, Vogelzang says, “it’s a song about constantly walking in circles, trying to forget the things you can’t hold on to, and feeling lost in your own skin. It’s also about being stuck in those circles, reveling somehow in the negativity. It’s the inner struggle between wanting to pull yourself up out of the din, and just letting yourself sink into it. This was the song that grew the most in the studio. Shane really wove textures into it that allowed it to breathe on its own. As he described it, he wanted the listener to feel like they were diving into a pool at the second verse, and suddenly were underwater.”