|Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase||Angela Easterling|
Angela Easterling was raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the daughter of a Baptist minister. Much of her childhood was spent on the farm that has been in her family since 1791. While country roots run deep for this Taylors, South Carolina native, it wasn’t until she moved to Los Angeles, that the country calling in her soul became a siren’s song. A performer all her life, Angela had begun playing guitar and writing songs while studying at Emerson College in Boston. More and more her music returned to the place her heart called home. As Angela began honing her writing and playing live, other artists began to spark her imagination, artists like Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, the Carter Family and Johnny Cash.
All those honky-tonk Saturdays and gospel-drenched Sundays have paid off for Angela, who has embraced her heritage in a big way on her debut album, Earning Her Wings. Working “bit by bit” over a period of two years at various SoCal studios, Angela had amassed a lot of material. In 2006, she took all the pieces to James O’Connell, drummer and producer of L.A. roots-rock band West Coast Grand and owner of Silverlake’s Monkeyden Studios. Together, they waded through her tracks, recording new songs and remixing old ones. “This record represents such a slice of my life for the last few years!” she says. “The songs and the recordings are a visceral piece of me. All my friends (who just happen to be stellar musicians) helped me make this album. It was a real family affair and I think you can hear that in the final product”.
Tracks include River Jordan; about the music that’s “in my blood”. Angela wrote The Accordion with Shawn Davis, but the story is true: “My dad really did trade a truck for an old accordion! That’s so country I had to sing about it.” The 1940’s-era When I Wake Up, is the only non-original on the album. Angela had cherished the song for years but only recently discovered that it was written by distant relative (and prolific gospel song writer) Marion Easterling. “He had songs recorded by the Kingsmen, the Gaithers, Johnny Cash and Ralph Stanley. I’m so proud to share his name and sing his song.”
Angela’s unique sound and soulful writing caught the attention of DJ Doc Holiday and later, Chris Morris, who soon began airing her songs on the “Watusi Rodeo” alt-country show on radio station Indie 103.1. Even with no label backing her, songs such as “River Jordan” and “Earning Her Wings” still resonated with Watusi listeners. After making a few live appearances on the “Rodeo”, Angela went on to perform on the same bill as Lucinda Williams, Deana Carter, Victoria Williams, Dave Alvin, John Doe and Michelle Shocked. Angela has had radio play and appeared live across America, opening for such legendary artists as Ray Price, Radney Foster, Suzy Bogguss and the Oak Ridge Boys. Several of her songs were picked up by the Animal Planet reality series “Horse Power”. In addition, Earning Her Wings was named the top pick of the year by Smart Choice Music, a popular source of Americana music in Europe and the U.K.
Having established a recognizable name in the vibrant West Coast country music scene, Angela says she hopes to bring her music to an even wider audience. She has recently returned to the Carolinas, but plans on spending most of 2007 on the road, with shows booked from Atlanta to Montreal. As a special honor, Angela appeared this fall at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the birth of country music in Bristol TN/VA. “I want to be a part of the musical traditions of the artists that came before me, but filter them through my voice and my experiences as a young woman. I want to uplift people. Music has the ability to do that and that is my ultimate goal."
Angela's MP3s at Amazon.com
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