Article in King Of Prussia Courier (PA)
Angela Easterling brings country-roots to MilkBoy
Preview By Joe McAllister
What goes around comes around. That which was square is now cool or cutting edge. It's the inevitable cycle of things. Take "Made in America," for instance-as in music.Singer-songwriter Angela Easterling brings her brand of Americana country-roots songs to the MilkBoy in Ardmore this Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m. with local performers Jeff Dernlan and Carsie Blanton. Haven't heard of this sweet-voiced singer/songwriter? The Internet is abuzz with accolades.
SmartChoiceMusic.com named her debut album Earning Her Wings as the top Americana Album of the Year. What is Americana, and who is Angela Easterling?
Americana is the hot musical genre right now. It has its own chart in Rolling Stone Magazine. The New York Times calls it "the coolest music scene today." Americana is Dwight Yoakam, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Hank Williams, Joe Ely, Buddy Miller, Sunny Sweeney, Emmylou Harris, John Fogarty, Levon Helm, Steve Earle, Alison Krause and Robert Plant all wrapped up in one. It's folk/rock with a twang.
Easterling doesn't buy into the hype. She didn't choose Americana; Americana chose her. "In writing my own songs, I felt the country stuff coming out of me. People would say,' You're a country singer,'" recalls Easterling, of Greenville, S.C. "I love the roots of Americana music and how it relates to us. It talks of regular experiences in ordinary lives."
Although Easterling grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and returned home there a year ago, she's no country bumpkin. She studied musical theater at Emerson College in Boston. When she wrote in college, instead of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cash and Carter flowed from her pen. She cut her teeth performing at the legendary Club Passim on Harvard Square, then migrated west to Emerson's L.A. campus.
Five years in Los Angeles brought her shoulder-to-shoulder with such alt country heroes as Lucinda Williams, Deana Carter, Dave Alvin and Michelle Shocked. It seemed everybody out there played Americana, even John Doe of the notorious punk band X.
Her career highlights include opening for Suzy Boggus and Ray Price and playing at different festivals. Americana is all about playing festivals. "It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time," says Easterling, who mixes neo-traditionalist country music with honky-tonk. "Playing at festivals is definitely a highlight: the people, the artists-all the different music."
Festivals aside, the intimate setting of MilkBoy suits Easterling just fine. One of her most effusive fans is MilkBoy co-owner and local producer Tommy Joyner. "The audience can expect an evening of soulful country-influenced songs written from the heart," says Joyner. "She's a quality, standout artist. Her music just jumps out of the speakers."
As for Easterling, she's looking forward to a night of storytelling, in lyrics and in song introductions. "I like to talk about where the songs came from and about the writing process," she says. "People seem to like that."
Easterling will perform acoustically without her band and feature such fan favorites as the upbeat "Feel Like Drinkin," the Hank Williams-inspired "Toy," and "Truck Drivin' Man"-a female's perspective on East versus West Coast men.
As for her Broadway aspirations? "Right now, I'm pursuing my own style of writing. Maybe someday when I'm old.…"
Meanwhile, she'll continue to put her new twist on old country. "The older stuff still rings true to me. It has a lot of integrity."
To find out more about Angela Easterling and sample her music, visit www.angelaeasterling.com.