Site Meter
Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Annie J. Dahlgren: Press

Annie J. Dahlgren's latest album, "All Through the Night" is gorgeous 'round the clock!

Singer-songwriter Annie J. Dahlgren has one of those voices that is consistently described as "luscious." And with her third, newly released CD, "All Through the Night," she does not disappoint! But that is just the beginning of the addictive delights in this album. Produced and arranged by the incomparable multi-instrumentalist David West, this collection of 13 unique, self-described "folk/pop" songs is nothing short of brilliant.

While the genre really defies definition, the songs (seven of which were co-written with Kate Wallace) all share an intriguing, seductive and haunting quality, painting a landscape of the soul that gets right to the core. Every track is a gem. My personal favorites, however, are songs like "Oh, Temptation," "All Through the Night" and "Fear (in all his faces)," that strike psychological chords nameless and primal.

Annie's songs are unique for me in that they can be enjoyed in many ways: You can sit down with them on a rainy night and really listen carefully to the lyrics. Each song is carefully nuanced with meaning and mood. Or, you can crank up the volume as you're driving down the road on a sunny day, looking for a good time. They're good company in almost any situation.

Some of the credit for this wide-ranging appeal must go to the array of amazing musicians on the album. In addition to Annie on rhythm guitar and vocals, there is, or course, David West on lead guitar, bottleneck and electric slide guitar, Dobro, mandolin, banjo, bass, and harmony vocals. Oh, yes, and organ, too. Then, there is Kate Wallace providing angelic harmony vocals, Gabe Witcher weaving spells on violin...Tom Ball on his famous harmonica...and the list goes on.

Finally, for a little icing on the cake, the artwork in the album is stunning, featuring 13 original oil paintings by Thomas Van Stein, a prominent Santa Barbara artist. Although the paintings were not commissioned for this album, the artwork captures the essence of the songs with uncanny accuracy.

You can check out and order Annie J. Dahlgren's brilliant new album at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AnnieJDahlgren.

 

K_A.jpeg

 NIKKI GREY, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT

Santa Barbara songwriters Kate Wallace, left, and Annie Dahlgren will perform, "Peace, Peace, Peace" in Sonora Saturday when a 65-foot white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest will be unveiled as the 2011 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

STEVE MALONE/NEWS-PRESS

October 29, 2011 6:20 AM

 

The two songwriters joke that they are the same person. They love to sing, write, and laugh together -- they even dress alike (though they swear it's by accident).

That explains why the songbirds were able to collaborate so well to create the official song for the 2011 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Every year, one state presents a tree and a song to the nation.

In a statewide competition, "Peace, Peace, Peace," co-written by Santa Barbara locals Kate Wallace and Annie J. Dahlgren, was selected to represent California.

Ms. Wallace, an award-winning Americana folk singer and songwriter, has penned songs for the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus. She has worked as a staff songwriter for Universal/Polygram Music in Nashville, Tenn., recorded sound tracks for such major movies as "Something to Talk About," and continues to book Santa Barbara's acoustic music series, Trinity Backstage. She has also recorded five CDs of her own.

Ms. Dahlgren, a screenplay writer and editor with her own production company, Over 40 Productions, says she is a little more green. That's why she was so shocked when their song won the competition.

"I was just amazed," said Ms. Dahlgren, whose day job is bookkeeping. "It's not like me to go winning competitions, and it's not for lack of putting myself out there."

Ms. Dahlgren gives much of the credit of the success of the Christmas song, and to most of her songs in general, to those around her, including Ms. Wallace and her producer, David West.

Mr. West, who also co-produces for Ms. Wallace, introduced the two singer/songwriters more than six years ago and they have been friends ever since, Ms. Dahlgren said.

She said Mr. West heard about the songwriting competition from a friend and encouraged them to apply.

"Peace, Peace, Peace" is about joy, love, understanding and peace, the songwriters say.

Ms. Wallace said that when she and Ms. Dahlgren sat down on a Tuesday afternoon, as they usually do every week for singing and songwriting, they decided peace would be a good theme.

"I hope a lot of people hear it," Ms. Wallace said. "I hope it puts them in an open and peaceful mood for the holiday season. (I want to go) back to Washington and remind our representatives that that's what people want."

Ms. Dahlgren said the holiday is the perfect time of year to put forth such a message because it is when people get another chance to start over.

She has high hopes for the song.

"In my wildest dream, I would love for it to become a Christmas song that people sing," Ms. Dahlgren said. "I can hear little glee clubs singing it at elementary schools or Christmas carolers singing it. I would love for it to catch on."

The duo will perform their song in Sonora on Saturday, alongside a 65-foot white fir from Stanislaus National Forest that will be sent to Washington, D.C., for a special tree-lighting ceremony in December at the U.S. Capitol. The Capitol tree is not to be confused with the National Christmas Tree near the White House.

Stanislaus National Forest officials estimate that as many as 10,000 people will come to the celebration in Sonora.

"I haven't performed in front of 10,000 people in a while," Ms. Wallace said.

"Yeah, me neither!" Ms. Dahlgren added, laughing. "Not in my whole life."

Ms. Wallace said she thinks the song represents California well because "Californians are pretty open-minded and generous people."

Both of the songwriters said writing the song came pretty easily because they knew what they wanted to convey.

"The fun of songwriting is the act of writing the song, so it doesn't matter if we are writing about Christmas or a failed romance," said Ms. Dahlgren, who is finishing recording her fourth CD. "Writing is just joyful fun."

Ms. Wallace said she loves music because it has the ability to express many emotions in different ways.

It has "the ability to alter the human state," she said. "If you're feeling unhappy about something, it can lift you up. If you aren't paying attention, it can make you tap your foot. It can teach you things.

"It's a universal factor. No matter where you come from, music is a thing that is very uniting between people, and I like that about it."

Both women expressed excitement about being selected as the winners of the competition. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime honor to be part of something that represents the state of California, but also the country," Ms. Wallace said. "Whether five people pay attention to it or five million that the song was picked and to be able to put it forth is incredible."

Ms. Dahlgren says she is thankful that she can continue to do what she loves.

"Just generally speaking, I'm so grateful that I still get to do this," she said. "Everybody would like to sing and write songs and I get to and I'm so happy. I want to share it.

"That's what's so great about this competition," Ms. Dahlgren said. "I get to."

Ms. Wallace says the joy of music is enough reward in itself.

"We folk musicians joke we have tens and tens of dollars, but we have great lives," Ms. Wallace said. "An empty wallet and interesting life is way better than the kiss of death, which is boredom!"

For more information about the Capitol Christmas Tree and to listen "Peace, Peace, Peace," visit www.capitolchristmastree2011.org.

email: ngrey@newspress.com

Nikki Grey - Santa Barbara News Press (Oct 29, 2011)