This week, we feature a conversation taped live in New Orleans with Arkansas-born multi-instrumentalist and roots-soul singer Anna Moss, who has criss-crossed the country in recent years with her sonic partner Joel Ludford in their band, Handmade Moments.
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Growing up as a bathroom-singing nerd playing saxophone in the school band, Anna admits that if she could wield any superpower it might be invisibility. Not necessarily the first thing you think of for an openly political, big-voiced folk festival favorite who has made a name for herself sitting in with some of the biggest names in the Americana scene. A recent collaboration with Rainbow Girls bore especially potent fruit — and if you read my Music That Moved Me in 2022 list, you’ll see at the very top was Anna’s thorny “Big Dick Energy.”
Rarely does a song make you laugh and then dance and then follow with a sucker punch about how unsafe many women feel just taking up space in the world. The video also illustrates the song’s deft twist: Women can gang together to mock and minimize the men who for so long have taken away their agency and power. And yet, the song also makes you want to forget it all and just groove to the sexiest flute solo in recent memory. If this is a foreshadowing of what’s to come with Anna’s solo work, call me quite intrigued.
The dangers of the road are not lost on Anna and Joel of course. They were hit head-on during a freak accident on a run in Northern California years back and were lucky to make it out relatively unscathed. She’s trying to keep things a bit mellower these days. It was special talking to Anna in her adopted new home of New Orleans, and the soulful sounds that trickle into her living room on Frenchman Street can be heard throughout the songs she’s working on. Fittingly, a slow burn live track she released, “Slow Down, Kamikaze,” is a great reminder to stop trying to do too much and focus on what actually matters.
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