Premiere: Anna Vogelzang’s ‘Amarillo’ + Her Custom BlackBook Playlist

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Main image © anda marie photograph

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. Think along the lines of Ingrid Michaelson and Brandi Carlile. Enter Anna Vogelzang, a banjo/ukulele/guitar/kalimba player currently touring to support her EP Driftless, an album filled with songs she wrote in 2014 as a part of a song-a-week project called “RealWomenRealSongs.” 

Today we’re pleased to premiere “Amarillo” off of the aspiring artist’s forthcoming EP, as well as a list of the tracks that have inspired her. Check out the new song below, and more from Vogalzang here

“I always introduce this song live as “a friend break-up song”. It’s a “good riddance” to that person in your life that continually brings in the negativity, wishing them a fresh start in which they right all the wrongs they’ve tallied up so far. Of course, there’s also the look at the speaker’s hypothetical new life, the list of things that they could do better if they had a shot to start anew. I love the dichotomy of how happy and poppy this tune sounds and how dark the lyrics get. that’s what it felt like when writing it – “You’re being a total jerk, but I can’t care anymore, so I’m gonna try to be happy and just dance for a while.” This was both the hardest and the most fun to record in the studio, as we wanted it to feel full and up, but not lose the impact of the words – which I think we succeeded at.” – Vogalzang

NEKO CASE – THIS TORNADO LOVES YOU

In my opinion, everything Neko Case touches turns to gold, and there are five songs just by her that I could expound upon at nauseam. I’m not sure there’s a better opening line than, “My love, I am the speed of sound.” Everything about this song’s metaphor and arrangement hits me right in the gut.

ANAIS MITCHELL – NOW YOU KNOW

I heard Anais sing this song live in Milwaukee last year and it was stuck in my head incessantly for weeks after the show. She has one of my favorite voices of all-time, and this song paints a gorgeous picture of near-thirtydom, wanting and longing and security and fear and love.

THAO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN – CITY

This is the perfect amp-up song for me, especially on long drives. I have a deep love for Thao’s last three records, but this is one of those songs that you always need to blast when it queues up. I find myself singing the “rest and be strong / wash and be clean / start a new year / whenever you need” refrain under my breath all the time. Not a bad mantra as the cold starts setting in.

PEARL AND THE BEARD – YOU

These are some of my favorite friends in the world who constantly inspire me. I had only heard them play this song once at a live show, and it started popping into my brain constantly after that. I think this chorus might be the definition of a perfect hook.

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND – I HAVE NEVER LOVED SOMEONE

Just putting this there for anyone who needs a good cry or maybe some deep warmth. this song just unravels me. Shara Worden’s voice – and the song itself – float above the chaos and the tumult, cutting to the core of unconditional love, saying all the things that are caught in your throat.