|Although Los Angeles based Danielle Egnew is actually a Montana native I don’t think you can get anymore Hollywood than this actress/psychic/musician. But don’t let those back-slashes fool you; this prolific artist is for real! She has fourteen albums to her credit, including five with her band Pope Jane. Red Lodge is the second solo album for Danielle. I had the chance to attend her Los Angeles CD Release Party at The Knitting Factory where she performed with her Whiskey Roadshow Band. Her music is extreme in the sense that it shifts from being very bare (Swinging at Nothing) to complex, with Egnew integrating a long list of eclectic instruments, drawing from her background of composing for meditation albums. Beartooth Medicine is a Native American influenced instrumental including the flute, egg shaker, a muted Chumash tribal drum and jingle bells. Hey Sadie also utilizes the thump of the tribal drum; the sort of country music that captures the true essence of wildlife.
Danielle’s lyrics are poignant. Erased is a raw piano and strings instrumental: “Give me a minute to become a memory/I’m a smudge on the paper where your thoughts used to be.” Introspective again on You Were, a song that captures Egnew’s finely crafted finger picking arrangements which reminded me at times of Jim Croce: “Im not a liar/I just pretend to be just what you need.”
My favorite tracks on this album are Drive and Me Me Mine Mine, indicative of the scope of the album, which is best categorized as country folk and folk rock. The country comes through on tracks like Me Me Mine Mine where Egnew channels June Carter with a catchy melody that recalls Eric Clapton’s Lay Down Sally. Egnew’s Story of My Life features an original method of finger plucking with the mandolin.
Drive was definitely my favorite song on this album and of her live set. The style is reminiscent of The Indigo Girls, maybe a littleR.E.M., with lots of mandolin and harmonizing in the mix with songs like The Red Door and Wendy. The latter is an epic ode to a childhood lesbian friend who never came out, unlike Danielle whose fans are urging the producers of The L Word to get her a cameo. Egnew has already shared a theatrical stage with such talents at Ally Sheedy and Jennifer Beals in Eve Ensler's Obie Award-winning play The Vagina Monologues as part of an annual V-Day worldwide campaign to raise money and awareness to stop violence against women.
You can hear Danielle as a special guest on Sheena Metal’s radio show at:
The Sheena Metal Experience archived shows
And if you’re curious about Danielle’s psychic abilities check this out : Danielle's Psychic Website.