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Star Anna turns up the rock

Alt-country band Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs continue to deliver raw and gritty rock 'n' roll to their growing Northwest following. The group, based out of Ellensburg, Wash., but relocating in Seattle, will perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant in Ashland. The show will be the band's final stop on its summer tour before returning to Washington, where it plans to perform at the 2010 Bumbershoot and Hootenanny For A Healthy Gulf, busk at a Mariner's game and record its third studio album.

Star Anna Constantia Krogstie Bamford, better known as Star Anna, 24, sings Americana-laced rock 'n' roll with her band — guitarist Justin Davis, drummer Travis Yost, bassist Keith Ash and recent addition, Hammond player Ty Bailie.

Anna's music wasn't always as rock 'n' roll as it is now. Her debut album, "Crooked Path," released in 2008, is tame and mellow, exhibiting an Americana, bluegrass vibe, says Anna. Her second album, "The Only Thing That Matters," released one year later, demonstrates the band's progression towards rock 'n' roll.

"It ("The Only Thing That Matters") was independently recorded with more rock and a live-band feel," says Anna.

Nevertheless, the band's sound will always be tinged with Anna's rural upbringing. The vocalist says she has been writing songs for as long as she has been playing guitar (eight years). Her lyrics reflect rural imagery and draw from personal relationships and family experiences.

"Every song has a place and a meaning for me," she says.

Davis, who Anna calls her "musical soul mate," has provided many of the chord progressions for her new pieces, to be featured on their third, yet-to-be-named album.

"We want to keep it (the upcoming album) as live as possible and keep the attention on not just the words and singing but on each individual instrument and what it adds to the music," says Anna.

The young vocalist says she uses Tom Petty's album "Wildflowers" as the ruler with which to measure all of her records.

" 'Wildflowers' is my No. 1, ideal, best record all the way around, so I always have that in the back of my mind," she says.

Besides Anna and The Dogs, the Portland-based band Brothers Young will present traditional folk and down-home bluegrass at Alex's. The band features brothers Dillon, Dustin and Michael Young, along with Levi Cecil, Travis Girton and Trevino L. Brings Plenty.

Cover for the show at Alex's is $5. For more information, see www.staranna.com or www.myspace.com/brothersyoung or call 541-482-8818.

Star Anna's new album, 'The Only Thing That Matters,' features Americana-laced rock 'n' roll. - Photo courtesy of Think Press