Star Quality

Solid Footing
Solid Footing

Austin, Texas, November 1997.

I’m in town for a week on business and to attend the final two shows of Wilco’s “Being There” tour at Liberty Lunch – or maybe it was the other way around. I dropped in for dinner one night at Threadgill’s – a former filling station that had been converted into an iconic roadhouse specializing in gravy-smothered Southern dishes and live music – and where Janis Joplin got her start back in the day.

On this particular evening, the big voice emanating from the stage belonged to a diminutive Filipina from Chicago named Anna Lynn Fermin, who was in town promoting her first album. Armed with an acoustic guitar, undeniable charm, a passel of catchy country-rock gems, and a voice Patsy Cline would kill for, Anna stole the spotlight in a venue accustomed to having major talents in abundance on any given night. Spill your beer on a patron at Threadgill’s, and it’s likely to be someone you have in your iPod.

It wasn’t until I chatted her up after the show that I discovered the lovely and unassuming person Anna happens to be. On a side note: When I mentioned I was in town for the Wilco shows, she revealed that Wilco’s Bob Egan had contributed steel guitar on her own record. (Wilco and Anna Fermin are both Chicagoans). And so a loose bond was formed.

Today, 17 years and 8 albums later, our friendship has developed into one I hold quite dear. I’ve enjoyed watching – mostly from a distance – as her career and music have evolved, while she has become a huge supporter of my visual art. I’m quite thrilled to report that I’ll be flying to Chicago this holiday weekend to shoot images of Anna and her band, Trigger Gospel, along with some local color – “Anna’s Chicago” – to be used as album art for an upcoming release. It’s an honor and opportunity I can’t pass up. I’m hoping my images do Anna and her music justice.

For more on Anna’s world, follow this link to

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