Indie folk musician Anna p.s. conveys a sense of weariness throughout her simple yet resonant songs, but it’s a weariness that keeps a blanket of hope tucked up under its chin, even as the rain keeps falling outside the windows. Grace always lurks around the corner on tunes that layer delicate vulnerability over the hearty stock of this songwriters’ spirit. With technical acumen acquired during an early career as an audio engineer, and a humble but confident stage presence groomed as a founding member of indie roots rock band Shiny Shiny Black, Anna stepped out as a solo musician in 2014. She’s been on the road intermittently ever since. Her debut LP Umbrella, released in July 2016, showcases her signature sonic blend of melancholy, hope, and resilience.
In concert, Anna plays acoustic guitar, foot percussion, and—perhaps unexpectedly—the flute. She uses a looper pedal to sample her guitar and loop it back while she plays flute interludes during her songs, bringing a unique element to her concerts. She started playing the flute in fifth grade in her hometown of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and while it wasn’t her favorite instrument at the time, she stuck with it over the years through concert band, private lessons, and district through state competitions. Those years of instruction and discipline provided Anna with the classical training that would form the foundation of what she’s doing now.
As many artists can relate, Anna experienced her fair share of loneliness as a teenager, and while it’s not a time in her life she cares to go back to, those years of yearning for connection inform much of her songwriting. Anna’s music helps her listeners feel less alone, but not with false cheeriness. Her listeners know from her songs that she’s been there, and felt what they’re feeling. She is able to form an empathic bond with her listeners, weaving intimacy and connection from the strings of her guitar and the soul in her words.
In her twenties, Anna was one of the founding members of the roots rock band Shiny Shiny Black. She spent several years playing with the successful indie band before embarking on her solo career, and her former bandmates have deep respect and affection for Anna: “Anna's songs fill you with a sense of longing, of friendship, and community. Dark and warm vocals complement lilting acoustic melodies—creating the perfect moment in which to reflect, to mourn, to live with hope in your heart. We were honored to share the stage as bandmates and happy now to see her own project take wing.”
Throughout this time, Anna also worked as a sound engineer for live music venues; that technical knowledge has aided her greatly not only on tour, but in the production of her album Umbrella. The tracks on Umbrella showcase Anna’s rich, warm vocals and deeply personal lyrics. These are songs with dirt under their nails from working in the soil, and grass stains on their feet from running out into a summer rainstorm, breathless and weary and yet full of life.
These songs translate beautifully to Anna’s live shows, where her gentle but unyielding voice, simple but vibrant guitar, and lilting flute make every show feel like an intimate living room concert. She has an easy rapport with her crowd, using humor and storytelling to set the tone for her songs. She’ll even surprise listeners at some shows by interspersing her own music with an eclectic selection of cover tunes, ranging from Over the Rhine to Corinne Bailey Rae.
Following the release of Umbrella, Anna was interviewed for LLC Radio’s Coffee Break (2017) and WVPE’s The Back Porch (2016). Friend and mentor Al Kniola, host of The Back Porch, has this to say: "Anna and her music are one and the same. Both are genuine. Both are honest. Both are irresistible. You'll love the simple and true emotion of her songs, her spare instrumentation and the plaintive clarity of her vocals. As a bonus, if you get the chance to see her perform live and to chat with her, you'll love her, too. 'Umbrella' is contemplative and reflective - it's best listened to when you feel the same way, maybe with a glass of good wine. Treat yourself!"
The song “Free” on Umbrella starts out, “I want to be with the sun and the green, and the wild things beneath my feet.” Anna’s songs could all be said to have wild things beneath their feet, full of life even as they know the hurts life can bring. Whether sharing sunny skies or offering an umbrella, Anna will keep translating life’s ups and downs into songs that help her listeners feel less alone.
Anna currently lives between the emerging homestead and nearby-city life, which provides the perfect balance of engagement with community, and retreat to refill, write, and consider the next move forward. She is always working on new recording projects, and has hopes to release a single or two and a music video later in 2017.