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She can do it
Anne E. DeChant’s newest CD has a tribute to the women of World War II
Friday the 13th. It evokes dark omens and black cats and Jason Voorhees in a goalie mask.
Face it, the day has been mythically unlucky. Until now, that is.
But Friday the 13th of July is a lucky day for music lovers this year, as Anne E. DeChant releases Girls and Airplanes, her fifth solo album.
Filled with her signature snappy rhythms and incisive lyrics, Girls and Airplanes is certain to continue her string of regional successes.
Of course, reviewing any Anne E. DeChant CD is one thing. Delving into what is behind the CD, however, opens up a whole new level of respect for the performer and her craft.
Everyone always wants to know how a songwriter comes up with her inspiration. DeChant says it just kind of pops up.
“Really, I just pick up my guitar and if something in the music moves me to words, then I find my topic,” she said. “It will be a lyric that leads me to an image and that and the music carry me through to the rest of the song.”
“I am sure that this is no accident but the result of actively thinking,” she continued. “You cannot write if there’s nothing going on inside of you, nothing churning around.”
“And there can be nothing going on inside of you if you’re not gathering information by actively participating in life,” she noted. “There is a time to gather information simply by living: by moving, by reading, by watching. Then there’s a time to let that information move in and around you.”
“For me, this comes when I’m alone. Lots of times when I’m driving, or fishing, something where I’m sort of in a meditative state. My brain is just sort of piecing many bits of information together,” she said. “This is when an obsessive personality really comes in handy!”
On her last album, one of those bits of information resulted in “Second Class Citizen,” a musical diatribe on the inequalities in the United States. It’s DeChant’s only song to be enshrined on T-shirts and bumper stickers with the tag line, “All of the taxes, none of the rights.”
Her next big single is a tribute to the spirit of togetherness and responsibility that made America great during World War II, the title track on the new album.
“ ‘Girls and Airplanes’ is a tribute to the women of the United States who, during World War II, went to work,” she said. “They worked in factories building ships and planes, even piloting planes to their final destinations. It was the first time that the women of our country, en masse, walked beyond the picket fence to share on another’s company, collect a paycheck and feel the floor from inside their work boots.”
First coming to prominence with Victoria Fliegel and Alexis Antes in Odd Girl Out during the early 1990s, DeChant has now experienced success both as a “solo” artist (although the band for her shows is quite stable) and as part of a group. That gives her an interesting viewpoint on the dynamics of being “the boss” versus being a member of the team.
“As a solo artist, you are the point person. Final decisions are up to you,” she noted. “I try to get feedback, talk things out. But I like the fact that I can make a final decision.”
“In a band, decisions are made by the group. That can help to thoroughly discuss things to get many different points of view,” she continued. “But that can be time-consuming and often is. It can take weeks to make a decision that should take a few days. I don’t like that.”
“The time that is wasted can be more detrimental than making the wrong choice, learning from it and fixing it or making better choices the next time you are faced with a similar decision,” she concluded.
“As far as the band you work with as a solo artist, I think you have to remember that there is no one that is more invested in your project than you, and that’s okay,” she opined. “In a band, you are more equally invested and that can be more of a comfort. When you’re a solo artist, you have a lot more to do. It’s the price you pay for some of the freedoms it affords you.”
There are drawbacks and benefits to those freedoms, of course.
“It can be lonely sometimes,” she said, before laughing, “If you’re a solo artist, you never have to change your band name!”
The CD is produced by Andy Ackland, who has worked with the Eagles, the Darkness, Jason Mraz and Tom Petty, among other artists. DeChant’s lead guitarist, Matt Sobol, and backup singer Kelly Wright lent their talents to the album, which was recorded at Rolling Thunder Studios in San Diego, California.
Ackland’s participation was a matter of expedience, more than anything, but it worked out well for DeChant.
“The studio selected Andy Ackland. He was the producer that Rolling Thunder Studios worked with primarily,” she pointed out. “It’s a blessing that we get along so well, have a mutual respect and that we could make this CD. He’s a gem.”
“I want to work with him on the next CD. We’re already discussing ideas for it. I send him song ideas, he tells me to sing them on his phone recorder if I need to,” she continued. “It’s exciting and fun to know that someone is anxious and excited to create music with you.”
After the disc is released, it’s onwards and upwards for Anne E. DeChant, as she plans on “working smarter, not harder, bigger shows less often, selling some of my songs, seeking management that knows what to do with my talent beyond grassroots and has the clout to do it, maybe a move to Nashville for a while, a Grammy Award and an Academy Award for best song in a motion picture. More writing and more fishing!”
While that mention of an Academy Award may seem like off-handed humor, it could be closer to the truth than it seems. DeChant sold a song to All Out Films this summer for a documentary they are producing on comedian Kate Clinton.
Girls and Airplanes will be available at Borders Books and Music a week after the release, as well as on iTunes, CDBaby.com and on DeChant’s own website, www.AnneEDeChant.com, along with a slew of her earlier releases and “Second Class Citizen” T-shirts and stickers.