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Egg roll

Ana Egge likes to build things. The affable 28-year-old singer-songwriter plays a guitar that she made herself in the early '90s. For a time, she also lived in a New Mexico desert home that she constructed with her own hands. Egge's fascination with how things are put together also extends to the abstract architecture of a well-crafted song.

Ana Egge

"Sometimes it's all just the moment of inspiration, it comes in a flash and the song's done," Egge says. "But more often, you have that flash that gives you part of the song. Then you have to work to get back to that place and to make the rest of the song live up to that moment of inspiration. You have to leave yourself room for learning and making mistakes, and you don't have to show anybody those mistakes. It's just like when you're making something out of wood, you don't show the people the pieces that you cut wrong."

Search tirelessly through Egge's fourth - and latest - album Out Past The Lights and you probably won't be able to find a piece that was cut wrong. A bold collage of muted musical colors in support of heartfelt storytelling, Out Past The Lights is carried by the emotional power of Egge's voice: supple and sweet, but with a sad sense of resignation that underlines even her most optimistic moments. You can hear it in the lovely opener "Apple Tree" ("When I need to get away/I travel in my sleep") and "Wedding Dress," a musical short story that Egge rescued from her little-heard 2000 album, 101 Sundays.

Ana Egge

Thu, June 23

7310 Jones Maltsberger Rd.

Egge's observational skills surely have been sharpened by frequent changes of scenery. A native of Saskatchewan, Canada, she and her hippie parents split their time between North Dakota and New Mexico. In the mid-'90s, an opportunity to record a demo motivated her to move to Austin, where she quickly established herself as one of the finest songwriters on a formidable scene. She later moved back to New Mexico, and has spent the last few years living in Brooklyn. These days, she's pondering a move back to Austin.

"After living a few different places and traveling all over the place, I realize no place is perfect," Egge says. "I'm willing to take the bad - the heat and allergies - with so much of the good in Austin. So it's not perfect, but the music scene is the best it could be."

By Gilbert Garcia

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