The snow is covering up one third of my living room window. It makes it difficult to see what's going on in the real world. From what I can tell right now, the real world is being peppered by more snow. For some strange reason, I'm okay with this today. You see, I'm not living in the real world today. It bores me. Today I dwell in my realm of fantasy. Before I start my next paragraph, I’m going to pour two cups of coffee. One for myself and one for my imaginary guest: the wonderful Wisconsin songstress Anna Vogelzang. I’m out of creamer. I hope she doesn’t mind.
After we swap stories about Portsmouth, NH, a place I consider my weekend home and where she recorded the album Paper Boats, she begins to play me “Die Trying,” the first track of her most recent EP Secret Cedar Room. She sits on my couch, gently plucking the strings of her banjo. Her voice resonates beautifully through my apartment as a steady stream of her heart pours out through her throat as she laments “What if this is not my best? What If I could do better?” Her songs are an unspoiled intermingling of heartache, nature, innocence and metaphor. All these things invoke powerful imagery from her lyrics. “There's a secret cedar room locked inside my ribs. It houses all the guilt packed away in cardboard boxes,” she sings on "Wishbone." I know she’d probably be upset, but I want to unlock her ribs with a skeleton key right now. But I think that would be too "Pan’s Labyrinth" of me. She should keep singing.
We sip on our coffee as I show her my acoustic guitar. She asks me to play “Heart Beats Faster” with her. I say of course. It’s my daydream, so my fingers have no problem plucking away the intro to my favorite track on the EP. As we get lost in song, I can’t help myself from rattling off compliments in my head about her singing and songwriting. Her vocals seem to cut through the air like a lighthouse’s beam shining through thick night fog. Her voice seamlessly represents the type of person Anna is; resilient, assertive and revealing. At least that’s who she is in my daydream as our mugs steam away while we stay perfectly in tune for hours on end.
And seeing as it’s my daydream, we fall asleep watching "The Empire Strikes Back." The End.
It’s easy to recommend Anna Vogelzang to anyone looking for talented and charming folk-pop. Give her a listen or pick up her albums at her Bandcamp site. Or check out her tour dates on her website. You should also donate to her Kickstarter page to help her get her next full-length released. I’ll see you around, Anna. Next time, we can watch "Double Dare" and play Nintendo.