By: Vincent Harris, Oct. 16, 2019
Angela Easterling is one of those great singer-songwriters who can create a full story in just a few lines. And if you need an example, just check out the title track of her 2015 album, Common Law Wife, in which she lays out her real-life situation succinctly enough: “I was raised in church each Sunday, got a fine college degree/ You’d think I’d learned my lesson about those birds and those bees/ Well, imagine my surprise then, when the stork came to my door/ I thought he was at the wrong house with that old cart-pushing horse.” Verses like that show how adept at her craft Easterling is, and she’s created music that’s just as well-written as her lyrics. Over four albums and various singles, Easterling has been able to mix that bittersweet incisiveness as a lyricist with both bouncy rock ‘n’ roll grooves, easy-rolling alt-country, and Appalachian-tinged folk ballads. Her newest single, “Halfway Down,” feels like the beginning of a new chapter for Easterling; it finds her settling into an acoustic-electric folk-rock groove, with more polished production than she’s had before. The single brings to mind artists like Lucinda Williams or Kim Richey in its quiet, unassuming strength, but Easterling’s voice is a lot closer to the cool yearning of Rosanne Cash than Williams’ salt-and-vinegar yowl or Richey’s more plainspoken delivery. It will be interesting to see if Easterling continues down this path on her next full-length album, but regardless of the musical approach, she’s still a songwriter at heart; she makes creating melodic, heart-breaking songs sound deceptively easy.