By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 15, 2006 at 5:21 AM

Although she's not a native Milwaukeean, most of us Brew City music fans had come to feel like Kansas City-born Michelle Anthony was ours. So, although we wished her well, we couldn't help be feel a bit of loss when the talented singer -- whose star is clearly on the ascent -- left for Austin last year.

The move has worked out well for Anthony, who has just completed a new CD and is seeking a home for it. At the same time, she's found that Milwaukee hasn't ceased to be a major factor in her career, supplying musicians, support and more.

On the eve of her return to town for a gig at Shank Hall, we caught up with Anthony to find out what's happening in her now snow-free world.

OMC: How has the move worked out -- on a personal level and on a professional level?

MA: Personally, the move has been awesome. My physical and mental health are grateful for the sunshine and increased outdoor exercise! The weather here is awesome and I find (husband) Scott and I high-five-ing each other when we're standing outside in shorts in mid-January. I've always had great difficulty with cold weather -- my circulation sucks! -- and living in Milwaukee was a true test of my hardiness. In Austin, I sort of feel like I'm in heaven regarding the weather.

Professionally, things are coming along gradually. Scott and I gave ourselves a good deal of time to do the necessities like sell our house in Milwaukee, move our stuff, buy a new house, get jobs, learn the city and find a band. I moved here in May, Scott in July and our first show here wasn't until in November. We've been playing here and there since then.

We also started recording again. We're recording at a great studio here in town called Congress House studio. The owner of the studio, Mark Hallman, is a great guy and mix engineer. He has worked on some pretty great records (Ani DiFranco, Oasis, Carole King). Ned Stewart, who is in one of our favorite Austin bands (Grand Champeen) engineered the session. Two of the songs we recorded here in Austin will be on the upcoming album.

OMC: do you have a new band down there?

MA: The Chicago guys (Grant Dye and Gerald Dowd of Robbie Fulks band) played on the record and play our Midwest dates as well as some of our Austin shows. I also have a group of super-talented players that gig with us in Austin. John Chipman (drums) who is in The Resentments and Jon Dee Graham, Ron Flynt (bass) who was in 20/20, and Geoff Lasch (guitars), who is in the Golden Apples and Militant Babies, and also a Milwaukee transplant. I feel fortunate any time talented people spend time making my songs sound better.

OMC: Do you get back to Milwaukee much? are you still linked to the place?

MA: This will be my first trip back to Milwaukee since our Summerfest show. I will forever be a Milwaukeean. I'm not a native of Milwaukee; I moved there for college and stayed. Nonetheless, I played my first show in Milwaukee, booked shows in Milwaukee and had a network of close friends there. I established whatever it is I think I am in Milwaukee.

In a way, I'm kind of proud to be from Milwaukee and living in Austin --it's kind of eclectic, right, to be from Milwaukee? Even though I'm not a native of the city, I spent enough time in the music scene there to really feel very connected to the city, and natives are nice enough to me to treat me as one of their own.

As it turns out, there are a LOT of people here who have migrated from Wisconsin. Our good friend Dan Franke (of The Mighty Deerlick), moved to Austin shortly after we did. We've talked about all the double takes -- people here that remind us of somebody we know in Milwaukee -- little microcosms and parallel worlds going on. It's wild.

OMC: Are you looking forward to the gig here? will it be an emotional one for you?

MA: The show at Shank should be a fun one. I am good friends with both Dustworks and Gregory Borden. Gregory is doing a CD Release for this show. I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure it'll be emotional.

OMC: Tell us about the new record.

MA: The title of the new album is "frozenstarpalace." There are a total of 11 songs on the album. Nine of them were written or recorded in Milwaukee, one was written and recorded in Austin, and one is a re-record of an old song.

The tone of most the album is dark and wintery, which reflects the environment I was writing in at the time. For most of the writing process, I felt like I was somewhat at the mercy of the cold, dark, short days in Wisconsin. Only people who spend time in cold climates can appreciate this. The songs possess a sense of feeling held hostage by something as inanimate as winter and a longing for escape. Their album forgoes the country vibe present on "Stand Fall Repeat" for a darker, Americana pop vibe.

Barry Goldberg started working with me as producer in February 2004, where he met Scott and I for the first time. We did a demo with him, and churned a tune out in a day, which ended up becoming a song on the album. Barry has worked with a pretty diverse group of artists -- Fleetwood Mac, Dr. Dre, Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins -- and he was able to get me to sing in a way I hadn't been able to sing before.

Besides having a great ear, he was very patient with me, which is awesome, because patience is a virtue I have some trouble with. He is also a super inspirational guy, and a very kind person. I've recorded songs singing next to my own dirty laundry -- and have been fine with that as it has a certain kind of effect -- but Barry was lighting the fireplace, making these awesome grape leaf rolls, bringing out vegetarian spreads, getting my sinuses to clear and creating a comfortable environment for me.

In total, we spent about two or three weeks to record all the parts for the album. We had a lot of great people help make this album. Grant Tye, Gerald Dowd, Brian Wooldridge (Wooldridge Brothers), Ryan Stang (Dustworks), and melaniejane all played on the album.

Scott played on the album, co-wrote several of the songs, and acted as my preproduction editor for all the songs. Ric Probst recorded almost all the bed tracks at his studio in Milwaukee, Jay O'Rourke (Material Issue) recorded all Grant's guitar parts; he also sat through my really amateur -- and really poorly played -- unkeepable Theremin parts. I had to play the Theremin ... it was signed by Bob Moog!

There was a lot of ftp-ing, mailing, flying, driving going on and now ... finally, it's done. We'll be playing songs from the new album at the Shank show.

Michelle Anthony plays at Shank Hall on Friday, Feb. 17 with Gregory Borden and Dustworks. Show time is 10 p.m. and cover is $8.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.