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Talking To Annie Dressner

Fatea writer Nic Rigby chats to Cambridge resident, US singer-songwriter

Touring her new album Broken Into Pieces, from September 22, Fatea writer Nic Rigby caught up with her at Cambridge Folk Festival.

Singer songwriter Annie Dressner was one of the great delights at Cambridge festival with her sharp lyrics and strong melodies.

Moving from the US to Britain in 2012, she has now settled in Cambridge and its clear she loves the festival.

"I think it's really fun and fabulous. It's just a really nice, chilled out lovely, friendly vibe," she says.
"It really does bring together the local music community, Folk-ish, singer songwriter community. It's somewhere that everybody wants to play and for good reason."

I asked about the differences in the US music scene compared to Britain: "I mainly played in New York City, back at home. Similar to London it's inundated with so much music that it's just constant. So it's been nice to be able to travel into different cities where people, not all people, but most people really want to hear the music. Rather than it just being inundated with it."

Her new album Broken Into Pieces was written in the UK and produced by Nigel Stonier in Manchester, who has worked with Fairport Convention, Mike Scott and Kathryn Tickell.

"I wrote it all within a few months. It happened really organically," she says.
"I was writing some songs for myself and at the same time I was trying to find an agent in London for voiceover work. I accidentally called a PR person and I was like 'well, while I have you on the phone about that I may as well tell you I do music as well'.
"So I sent him my first album, my EP, and he thought that Nigel Stonier, who he knew, would like it so he sent it up to him.
"So I sent Nigel a demo of my song 'Fades Away' and he was like 'Great, I love it. Write another song'.
"So then I would sit there in the six hours I had to baby sit or something and tell myself 'you're gonna write a song'. And I did that for a couple of months and I kept sending them to Nigel."
"I wrote all of them and I co-wrote one of them with Nigel."

I asked how the new album differed from her debut album Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names?

Photocredit Neil King

"Well I wrote all those in New York in my apartment. It's a very different production. The first album is very, guitar centric and this one is much more sensitive to probably just the songs themselves.
"I think that they both reflect the right time in my life, it sounds really strange to say that, but they both reflect ... like the way they were produced reflect the time in my life that I was in.
"I feel like they both represent those times for me so when I go back and listen to them, I just feel like I did my best that I could do at both times. Do you know what I mean? It's different, it's a lot more polished."

Annie tells me the second song on the album Heartbreaker was about an experience in New York.

"It's about somebody I used to know and he was important to me.
"We hadn't seen each other in a really long time and we had words that weren't very nice and then years passed and I was about to move to England and we ran into each other and apologized to each other.
"He really apologized to me, but that song was just sort of about that whole relationship.
"Recently I sent it to him actually, and his girlfriend evidently likes it, so that's nice.
"I wrote it because he was so important to me that I wanted to say that it was cool now.

Another song on the album is Kentucky which she says is about an ex boyfriend.

She says: "I'm not going to get into too much detail. Imagine yourself broken up after a few months, standing watching someone with a similar styled female and then running them into a show afterwards ... that part is not in it ... and then I was just like 'Gotta get out of New York, it's too small'."

Annie has not rested on the new album and has already written a new album and hopes to put something out in the spring.

She says she wants it to be "more bare, more in that vein, but a little bit bigger than that my EP East Twenties, but not as produced as my other albums… kind of more chilled".

More on Annie Dressner and her tour dates can be found at: http://anniedressner.com

(Nic Rigby is part of the band Nic Norton and the County Band. See nicnortonmusic.com)

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