Savannah Morning News

Article in Savannah Morning News, November 5, 2009 by Emily Goldman

Americana roots musician Angela Easterling thinks music can create a shared experience.

Easterling, who will perform at 7:30 p.m. during this month’s First Friday for Folk Music, experienced how people can relate through music after creating her sophomore album’s title track “Blacktop Road.”

She wrote the song out of frustration, as her family tried to come up with a way to save the land that had been theirs since 1791. As she shared the song with people, Easterling learned her family was not alone in their struggle.

When she performed “Blacktop Road” in Savannah for the same series back in April, she was surprised to see a man in the audience singing along.

“I know he had never heard it before, but he was out there just singing along,” Easterling said. “It’s really personal but it seems to be something a lot of people have been able to connect with.”

Those people and other fans have helped the album – released in July – stay in the top 40 for national air play on the Americana charts for the last seven weeks.

The intensely personal album also includes “Stars Over the Prairie,” a song written by her great-grandfather.

“When you tell your story, it makes you realize you are not alone and it makes you feel justified,” Easterling said. “I feel blessed to share these stories with audiences and have them appreciate it.”

Growing up, Easterling was active in musical theater and thought she would end up on Broadway. But while in college, an Indigo Girls concert changed her mind.

“I just thought, I want to do that,” Easterling said after seeing the acoustic duo perform their original music.

The concert inspired her to learn to play the guitar and to write her own music.

“Even before I listened to that kind of music, I always had a roots vibe in what I was doing,” Easterling said.

That vibe is still evident, even in her new Franco-Americana project – an American roots album sung in French.

“Writing in another language and singing in another language just opens you up that much more,” Easterling said. “There are so many different ways that you can express yourself that might not be available in English.”

Easterling studied French in Europe while in college and is working with a professor of French literature.

“I couldn’t imagine my music in any other language, but for some reason, French really seems to work,” Easterling said. “Maybe its my inner French girl just dying to get out.”


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