Locals: Effee at Ace of Cups

Andy Downing

Singer, songwriter and keyboardist Fran Litterski has a tendency to overthink things, often allowing songs to develop for weeks or even months at a time, obsessing over every detail until a track is just so.

Or at least that's usually the case.

So imagine the musician's surprise when “I Wish,” a track Litterski penned for her still-new solo project, Effee, arrived in a rush one evening in near-complete form. Unlike other songs, Litterski resisted letting her anxieties take hold, which is particularly striking considering the song was written, in part, about her anxieties.

“I was feeling drained and I hadn't been able to write anything all day, so I pulled up [a piece of music composed by husband and collaborator Kurt Keaner]. I had this sentence written down in my notebook: ‘A little glimmer of hope and then a punch in the gut,' and that became the first line,” said Litterski, who will be performing her fourth concert as Effee when she joins her band at Ace of Cups on Thursday, March 15. “[Anxiety] was something I had never really tried to write about, but it just clicked. The whole thing came out in 20 minutes, which never happens.”

Litterski said the handful of songs she's written for Effee have been more personal in nature, ranging from breakup tunes that date back a decade (“Lying”) to the more recent outpouring that gave way to “I Wish,” which necessitated presenting them outside of her still active bands, including Kid Runner and Fields & Planes.

“I got in that comfortable area of creating and having other people bring it to life, where I'm contributing one piece to this whole puzzle,” Litterski said. “When I got off the Magic Man tour [playing keyboard], I was like, ‘I think I'm ready to just write and release my own stuff.' … I have so many songs I've written, and I think I was just tired of having them sit in my notebook and on my computer.”

Early on, the songs Litterski composed for Effee emerged as polished nuggets of tightly composed electro-pop. In the months since, she's allowed the music to grow a bit wilder and a bit weirder as she's drifted further from this comfort zone in an effort to find her voice outside of the band environment.

“I've gotten in this thing where it's like, ‘No, that's not Effee. That's not Effee. Oh, that could be Effee,'” said Litterski, who incorporates piano and guitar into her electro-tinged songs. “I don't think I was playing it safe with the first couple releases, but I was definitely doing more of a tied-up kind of song structure. I feel like I started in this pop-style songwriting and now I'm moving into this weirder area, which is something I'm excited about. It feels right.”

Correction: In an earlier version, the story mistakenly indicated Kid Runner opened for Magic Man.

Ace of Cups

7 p.m. Thursday, March 15

2619 N. High St., Old North


ALSO PLAYING: Chris Jobe, Sarob