Angie Goeke – If I Were Honest
Houston-based singer Angie Goeke (vocals/ukulele) released independently on April 29th her 10-cut debut recorded in Nashville. The songs were produced by Mary Bragg (backing vocals) & follow Goeke’s song itinerary that includes the complexity of being human with a candid & nostalgic tilt.
She successfully fuses genres without getting cluttered. Classic Americana, folk music, tints of bluegrass, honky-tonk, jazz – all in a haunting narrative style. Songs delve into individuals & their multifaceted personalities, the religious, the introverted women & activism, all with a somewhat cinematic storytelling style.
The Austin, TX native said she needed to “identify & reconcile all the different parts of myself.” (Being a mother, an artist, a church-goer).
With If I Were Honest — Angie laid out some engaging music in her 41-minute program that begins with “So I Pray,” — an atmospheric melody & performance. Angie’s mellow gentle tone is surrounded by the deep tones of cello (Kaitlyn Raitz) & the fiddle, violin & viola of Ben Plotnick.
It’s a nicely arranged tune with no frills or showboating. That isn’t Angie’s forte. Her vocals are quite original (a cross between several different accomplished singers but never sounding like any of them). Her approach is creative, embellished by her sincere tone.
A quick-change artist since cut 2 shifts into a more Dixieland-inspired application. It has a well-nourished piano (Kira Small) on “Leftovers.” Here Angie’s in a more show tune/saloon mode. Effectively rendered. Quite good in this realm. With Bernadette Peters energy & a slight Barbra Streisand pop. She has the power in her vocals & sustains her notes with clarity.
There’s lots of entertainment in this showcase. Angie goes rockier on “Whiskey In a Teacup” & does a fine job with gratifying vocals. All well-recorded, the organ slides through with bright guitars that sneak in & around her vocals with teasing effectiveness. It’s almost like Eva Cassidy on steroids.
There are moments when Angie’s voice can be juvenile (the title cut) in tone but there’s no denying the power & color she exudes so expertly. As she gets deeper into the song her tonality shifts into authoritative notes & exposes a bluesy gloss. Sweet.
Two prominent tunes in a cohesive voice are “Farewell,” & “Starlight.” These are slow & filled with reminiscence. “Farewell,” has a lovely backing chorale. Not necessarily a lullaby but close.
Supporting musicians — Ben Garnett (guitars), Lex Price (bass), Bryan Owings (drums) & Kira Small (organ/piano).
Angie’s emphasis is on her melodic appeal, smart words vividly demonstrated & she’s filled her album with heartwarming tunes, reinforcing tunes & immersed them in everything that is essential to good songwriting & performance.
It’s a beautifully designed 6-panel CD package with lyrics. B&W photo — Ashtin Paige. CD @ https://angiegoeke.com/