Annie Rosen grew up on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This area was rich with the culture of immigrants from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Eastern Europe. Her own family had emigrated from Slovenia and both of her parents played the accordion. Annie and her five siblings grew up in the culturally rich South Side of Milwaukee and were exposed to all kinds of music including Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Latin, and contemporary American music. Annie always loved to sing and joined a Serbian dance group as a teen.
Coming of age in the 1960’s and 70’s, she was exposed to the emergence of rock and roll and the folk revival. One of her sister Louise’s best friends was Penny Fox, and Penny and her husband Dave were mainstays in the Milwaukee Folk Music Society. It was during this period that Annie was exposed to traditional blues guitar playing and singing. She soon was recognized as a standout singer and formed a trio that performed jug band, vaudevillian blues, and old timey music. She played some stand up bass and would throw in some Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan.
Her musical partnership with husband Jonny dates back to 1983. They were part of the electric quartet, “Center Street Blues Band”, and performed extensively as a duo throughout Wisconsin. When visiting Jonny’s father Sam, he would always play his old 78 rpm records spanning from Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy to Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday which was a great source of musical inspiration.
Today Annie is recognized as a premier interpreter of the great female blues and jazz artists of the 1920’s-40’s as well as adept at multiple musical genres. When asked what inspires her musically she said, “it’s all about the raw emotion and rhythm”.