Star Anna just might be the cure for the common cold. I shuffled into her Saturday night concert at Seattle’s Triple Door under the influence of a vise-like head cold, but soon found the fogginess dispelled by her piercing, muscular vocals. The Ellensburg, Washington native has a voice—rich with the complexity of warring emotions—that immediately makes you pay attention. Saturday’s performance wasn’t just a set of singer-songwriter tunes from a nice, forgettable local band; it was a clarion call signaling the impending fame of an enormously talented artist.
Along with her band, The Laughing Dogs, Star Anna performed songs from her three albums, including the recently released Alone in This Together. If you had to nail it down, I suppose it would be easy to peg the 25-year-old as an alt-country songstress, and her unassuming opening number—delivered alone with just an acoustic guitar—might support that. But that’s just part of her musical persona, which is built on a foundation of good ‘ol rock ‘n’ roll. She might sound subdued sometimes, but just wait for her to belt the chorus to the new album’s title track.
There’s an undercurrent of pain running through much of Alone in This Together—at Saturday’s show, Star introduced the achingly downbeat “Just Leave Me There” with a sardonic, “This next one’s a real feel-good number.” But we’re not talking about some whiny emo bullshit here. She kicks back and channels the hurt into soaring proclamations that manages to be both vulnerable and defiant.
Backed by an impressive band that includes guitarist Justin Davis—who could barely restrain himself from constantly flirting with Star on stage—and keyboardist Ty Bailie—whose lightning-fast hands flew across the keys on numbers like “High Water” and “Wolves in Disguise”—Star Anna made sure anyone not yet familiar with her wouldn’t soon forget.
Saturday’s set at The Triple Door was just one of a series of Seattle-area shows she plays before launching into a nationwide tour. If she’s coming to your city, don’t miss her. Chances are, it’ll be one of those “I-saw-her-when…” moments.