This past August, months into the COVID-19 lockdown, the Brooklyn-based musician Ana Egge heard from her friend, producer/songwriter Dick Connette, about collaborating on a song concerning the ongoing social upheaval. “I jumped in with both feet after our first conversation,” Egge explains. For her, it was an important way to use music to bring people together.
Inspired by the national public demonstrations that radiated out of the murder of George Floyd, “This Time” addresses the catalysts behind this broad social movement, and the important changes it can make. “I see reasons to believe that something new is going on,” shares Connette, “and that what’s behind and inside this uprising tide can and will make a critical difference, true and lasting.”
This stirring, highly relevant message is poetically epitomized in the song’s refrain:
Something is happening here
We all know the old road’s a dead end
Over and over is over
And again will be never again
Produced by Egge, Connette, engineer/producer Stewart Lerman, the song starts off with Egge singing on her own, but she is joined by backing singers Lucy Wainwright Roche and Grammy Award winner J. Hoard as the lyrics mention a crowd gathering in the street. The song’s arrangement also reflects this sense of a growing social movement in its arrangement as the initial spare guitar accompaniment expands with a swell of strings. The string arrangement is by Rob Moose, known for his work with Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Paul Simon, and many others, and most recently celebrated for his collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers. Moose has worked with Connette on various projects for the last 12 years.
The song’s lyrics provide Egge with an opportunity to further explore connecting her work in music with her personal values. “I believe in an inclusive democracy, the opposite of the white nationalist agenda,” she says, “and I believe in the power of music to unite people across space, time, and all imagined or real divides.”
This isn’t the first time Egge has utilized music’s ability to unite people. She did so on her 2017 single, “We Are One.” That tender, unifying tune, co-written with Nashville songwriting legend Gary Nicholson, resonated deeply with listeners, attracting more than 7 million streams internationally. Egge struck a similar uplifting tone in her subsequent album, White Tiger, which No Depression described as “nothing less than a balm for the soul."
Since the start of her musical career, Ana Egge has been accumulating accolades. She was barely in her 20s when she put out her debut album, River Under the Road, in 1997 (backed by the legendary Western-swing band Asleep at the Wheel, no less) and earned “Best Singer/Songwriter” and “Best Folk Artist” honors at the 1998 the Austin Music Awards. Since then, Egge has toured the world, worked with highly respected producers (such as Martin Terefe, Jason Mercer, Joel Plaskett, Steve Earle, Alec Spiegelman and Lerman), and made ten more albums. The most recent release, 2019’s beautifully honest and soulful Is It the Kiss, received rave reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone, No Depression, and Billboard.
Dick Connette has done just about everything in the music business over the past 35 years. Devoting himself to writing music and songs based on American folk and popular traditions, he has recorded five albums, including 2017’s American Folk Fantasies Vol. 1: Oysters Ice Cream Lemonade (which featured Egge among the guest vocalists). As a producer and arranger, he has collaborated with Geoff Muldaur, Suzzy & Maggie Roche, Rachelle Garniez, and Loudon Wainwright III; his production work on Wainwright’s High Wide & Handsome earned him a Grammy. Additionally, Connette runs a small independent label, StorySound Records, which supports the efforts of artists who share his interests and enthusiasms, such as Rayna Gellert, Margaret Glaspy, and Gabriel Kahane.
For both Connette and Egge, “This Time” represents a way to support 2020’s grassroots social movements while also offering a unifying message to take into the future.