White Tiger, Ana Egge's tenth album, has 9 originals and one cover (John Hartford), and so amply displays her singularly articulate and affecting honesty and sensitivity. She grew up with parents who "dropped out," choosing to raise four girls in a lovingly cobbled together combination of a small farmhouse on the North Dakota plains, a bus on the California Coast, and a hot springs commune in rural New Mexico. Given her unconventional upraising, it's not surprising that Ana has since been plotting her own journey, confident, fearless, and uncompromising. She's been around the horn of life's experiences, having forsaken the Great Plains for Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and gotten married and become a mother, but she's never lost touch with the free-spirited childhood and the Western landscape that formed her.
That questing spirit is everywhere evident on White Tiger. "Western Movie" finds a parallel for her freewheeling adolescence in the Tucson of Martin Scorcese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, while "Last Ride" fondly recalls a motorbike romance on a California Interstate. Ana's later, big city escapades are chronicled in "Girls, Girls, Girls," an evocation of a young lesbian first making the scene, while "Dance Around The Room" finds Ana as a more domesticated young(ish) mother serenading her 4-year old daughter. Musically, the album features wind, string, and vocal arrangements by multi-instrumentalist/producer Alec Spiegelman (Cuddle Magic) and guest appearances by Anais Mitchell, Billy Strings, Alex Hargreaves, and Buck Meek (Big Thief).
Ana wrote the title song "White Tiger" as encouragement for a dear friend going through hell, and in need of her spirit guide ("Keep your eyes on the tiger / Feed him, let him be your guide / Teach him freedom, that he might lead you / Through to the other side"). Ana, herself, fiercely honest and compassionate, is not unlike that animal, near-miraculous, rare but real, and she, too, can take us through, enlighten our lives. She is possessed by a self-determined sense of who she is and what she wants to do. As Lucinda Williams said, "Listen to her lyrics. Ana is the folk Nina Simone." According to Shawn Colvin, "Ana has the rare gift of being so eloquent and simple that she takes your breath away. I just love her."