Review: Star Anna – The Sky Is Falling

Star AnnaHindsight is always 20/20 they say, so in making the decision to release her new album The Sky Is Falling after the smoke cleared from a turbulent band breakup and subsequent self reinvention for
Star Anna is a moment of artistic clarity that her fans can now reap the benefit. Recorded with some of her band The Laughing Dogs and her closest confidants the ten song collection of brooding melodramatic vocals and the reverb soaked high lonesome sound of a Northwest original that fans of Star Anna came to love. It is easy to see why a record company exec would want to back from the album as there isn’t quite a song to hang its hat on as a “single,” and as a whole it feels like a set of “B Sides,” but they each have powerful moments.

The all acoustic “Annie,” opening track is a delicate anthem featuring marvelous cello from Barb Hunter and classical guitar arpeggios from former Laughing Dog Justin Davis, who appears on the entire album. Tye Baillie anchors the easy swing of “Easier To Shine,” with his compelling piano comping, while drummer Travis Yost chooses to soften the groove with brushes leaving plenty of room for Star
to use her full vocal range and dig deep into this ballad of self examination. The tempo finally kicks in for “Let’s Not Kid Ourselves,” giving us the album title buried in a Tom Petty meets REM style rocker. Mark Pickerel joins Star for the sparkling duet “Love Song,” amazing how artists like this can make such a sad song sound beautiful. The deathbed confessional “Little Voices,” is perfectly placed in a spacious arrangement of equal parts melancholy and joy. Tribal toms push the urgency of the chiming “Hymns We Sang,” and only a grunge city diva could deliver a heart wrenching lullaby as dark and dreamy as “killing Time.’ The album closes with the apprehensively upbeat “Stranger Than Silhouettes,” with Star Anna delivering the prophetic line “I’m tired of being of afraid of all the mistakes I’ve made,” It certainly would have been a mistake to keep this music on the shelf, thankfully that wasn’t one she made.

Star Anna website

About Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)