Angela Easterling – Witness
Took a while for this to gain speed in my ears but “Little Boy Blues,” is a charmer. The big fish on the hook. It could’ve used a little more showmanship growl to really kick but for the most part, South Carolina’s Angela Easterling (vocals/harmony/acoustic guitar) has a good Bonnie Raitt-style grip on this.
She doesn’t persist with the Raitt formula which is wise. Instead, she has more of a homegrown country dynamic that trickles down through her repertoire. “Keep Your Head Down, Johnny,” is more Nanci Griffith than Bonnie & it’s done up quite well. It’s fun music, clever & performed with excitement through every instrument.
Angela avoids country-pop trappings & relies on the roots of country music in her 44-minute Witness (Drops Oct 28–De L’est Music DLM). Her voice has a country-commercial appeal of 60s Americana singers who ventured into the pop charts with success. Her songs regardless of their nature are composed with a flair for mainstream consumption without carrying along the baggage of any flavor-of-the-month tunes often issued by country radio regulars.
Easterling brings along her calm, casual, fancy & magnetic melodies with no tunefulness calories. Angela’s sole cover is Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee” & it exemplifies the reason Angela is not a flash in the pan roots artist. Her cover is genuinely performed. There are no radical stabs here, but several songs do address important pertinent issues.
Commercially, “Have You Seen My Friend?” is a good choice. Carefully delivered to avoid sweetness & cliché. Angela does a fine job creating a pop-country song with the warm essence of her voice.
Highlights – “Little Boy Blues,” “Keep Your Head Down, Johnny,” “Deportee,” “Have You Seen My Friend?” “Halfway Down” & “Hero.”
Musicians – Don McGraw (bass), Jeff Hook (drums/percussion), Scott Stinson (drums/percussion), Ted Lucktenberg (mandolin/cello), David Rice (fiddle), Fayssoux Starling McLean (harmony vocals) & Ian Guthrie (harmony vocals).
The CD includes an 8-page color stitched lyric insert with the 12 songs produced by Brandon Turner (acoustic & electric guitars/lap steel/resonator guitar/bass/upright bass/piano/organ/banjo/harmony vocals).
Color image courtesy of Angela Easterling. Great cover image by Sandlin Gaither.
CD available & samples @ https://angelaeasterling.bandcamp.com/album/witness & https://www.angelaeasterling.com/
3 thoughts on “REVIEW: Angela Easterling “Witness””
I couldn’t be more proud of you!!! I know the guys at #6. I’m like, Angela Easterling? I know that name! 💕 Congratulations!