“Angela Easterling is one of those great singer-songwriters who can create a full story in just a few lines. 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. Regardless of the musical approach, she's still a songwriter at heart; she makes creating melodic, heart-breaking songs sound deceptively easy.”
“Socially conscious tunes with a voice like Emmylou Harris.”
“Angela is really great and her record (Common Law Wife) is a joy.”
"Angela Easterling & Brandon Turner are the shining example of what Americana music is. It is inspiring. Great songs. Great singing. Great guitar playing. Everything is so tasty. They have got it."
“Easterling captivates listeners with insightful, often funny, lyrics about present-day life.”
“Common Law Wife is an album rich in reasoned clarity and insightful observance of the world in which we currently live. A majestic and atmospheric collection of her most intimate songwriting, the album showcases Angela’s skills as a master storyteller and lyricist, delving into very personal and sometimes melancholy subject matter, swathed in melodic hues and moods ranging from the bright to the very, very dark. An incredible stylist, with a tremendous voice and character in the way she delivers her music.... These individual songs are gems that reveal more and more beauty as you approach them from different angles, but their combined effect is greater. Her haunting singing voice, which twinges and aches throughout, infuses the tales with emotion that is at once unnerving and soothing. You don’t need to take my word for it; you should seek out this album and hear for yourself what a special and uncommonly good singer-songwriter Ms Angela Easterling is.”
“Angela (has) appeared with Lucinda Williams, and you can hear a songwriting lineage between them too, rich rural imagery paired with clear, bone-deep emotion.”
“One of the great pleasures of this job is coming across unknown or little-known gems and sharing them with readers. Angela Easterling is one such find. She is a rising star in the Americana-singer/songwriter world. Her voice rings clear and strong, and her songs tell stories as deeply rooted and real as the South Carolina farm she lives on that’s been in her family since 1791.”
“‘Common Law Wife’ is a wonderfully cohesive, brilliantly crafted and beautifully sung record that draws on traditional country, Americana and folk music to deliver a host of timeless songs. If Angela Easterling was celebrated before, then this record is sure to help the cause.”
“Angela Easterling’s striking new album is the one that may in fact bring her the notice that’s eluded her for so long. Easterling coaxes a tenderness from her topics that comes across in bittersweet ballads like “Aching Heart” and “The Flame” and joyfully expressive rambles such as “Throwing Strikes”, “Common Law Wife”, “Table Rock”, and “I’m Alright”, the latter being the final song of the set and the one that seems to assure the world that being a common-law wife can indeed be a source of satisfaction. Ultimately, the same can be said for what it offers her audience as well.”
““Common Law Wife” is a delight from beginning to end and could be the record that helps raise Easterling’s profile considerably....This one’s a winner, y’all"”
“Slipping into the spot vacated by Nanci Griffith, South Carolinian Angela Easterling provides her perspective on modern country music, motherhood, the state of her nation, lost love, hometown shut downs and matrimony.... Easterling throws nothing but strikes on her fifth release.. Like Griffith, Easterling can flat out sing, and whether the song is reflective and hopeful or carrying significant historical heft ("Isaac Woodard's Eyes") she delivers a full-bodied performance. Songs inspired by family and Pete Seeger ("Hammer"), faith and Springsteen-like nostalgia connect with the universals of our daily survival. "Arkansas Murder Ballad" is a pretty terrific modern day tale of desperation and death: no ham and jam stand here, once Earl is dispatched. Lively country music with lyrical substance - no beers, no tailgating, no gals in shorts - and memorable melodies and arrangements make "Common Law Wife" an album well-worth the search.”
"Common Law Wife" is Angela's best album yet, with every track sounding as good (or better) than folks like Miranda Lambert or Kacey Musgraves. She's that good. My personal favorite tracks are "Throwing Strikes," about baseball and cotton mills, and "Hammer". I cannot recommend this one any stronger. This girl is on the way to the very top with a bullet.
“Angela Easterling's autobiographical song (Common Law Wife) is full of charm, humor, and love.”
“Angela Easterling knows about telling story and creating character through word and melody: all twelve of the songs on Common Law Wife are originals... the South Carolina native tells stories which reach from the jaunty, celebratory title track to a murder ballad that’s certainly in the tradition of such songs but seen from a bit of different point in the story. There’s also a piece about letting go of an old love which offers fresh and poetic imagery, a meditation on generations past and present and yet to come, a story of baseball, mill towns, and the small town south, a tale from the Civil Rights Era, and the opening track, Hammer, which among other things is a powerful yet understated thought about the strength of songs. Easterling knows how to fashion these varied songs while keeping her own steady point of view and identity; she knows how to sing them too. If you have not heard Angela Easterling yet, you should: she’ll give you a lot to think about.”
“'Little Lights" is a reflection on impending motherhood that sows her skills as a lyricist. She captures the ambivalence of a first-time mother. "Throwing Strikes is a sharp-edged country rocker that employs baseball terminology to describe the loss of industry in a small town. She delivers the song in a tone that mixes sorrow and defiance."”
"Easterling, can be political, personal or simultaneously both, serving up humor as well as grim horror. The gorgeous opening track, “Hammer,” was inspired by Pete Seeger and her grandfather, who built the house she lives in on a farm that her family has owned since 1791. Written in a Bruce Springsteen/Steve Earle vein, “Throwing Strikes” ends in emotional release reminiscent of a scene in Depression-Era Bonnie and Clyde. Her voice can be angelic when a song’s story line isn’t at all. Intense “Arkansas Murder Ballad” calls to mind Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’ “Caleb Meyer.” Easterling’s earlier “The Picture” may be the most devastating song I’ve ever heard on race relations. Someone should recommend Easterling’s CDs to Mr. Earle the Elder.
“Angela Easterling’s voice reminds me of Emmylou Harris. It has that same range and purity. Her songs reflect the authentic Southern life with a contemporary twist...."Common Law Wife" is a beautiful album which captures the heart and soul of authentic country and folk music. It belongs in the collection of any lover of Americana and roots music.”
"Angela's new album is one of the best I've heard this year...."
“4 Stars. Angela Easterling sets scenes and conveys emotions in a manner most convincing, be they light-hearted or downright unsettling. The South Carolina-based singer/songwriter does so by way of uncomplicated melodies, frequently graced with pleasing two-part harmonies. That latter trait shows up early on the haunting leadoff track, “Hammer”. Angst meets athletics for the Springsteen-ish protagonist of “Throwing Strikes” and we meet a 21st century Donna Fargo on the upbeat, throwback title track. Darker moments await on “Isaac Woodard’s Eyes” and “Arkansas Murder Ballad”.”
“4 1/2 out of 5 Stars. In this critic's opinion, Angela Easterling is a huge talent....perhaps she shouldn't settle yet for not being a star. This new album is very strong...Fans of Amy Speace and Gretchen Peters should give this a listen and then buy it!”
“Angela Easterling offers diary pages for the characters that flesh out Common Law Wife. She tells the tale of a returning soldier with “Isaac Woodard's Eyes”, where the uniform that fought for freedom finds blindness in the justice at home, and tells the tale of shortened life story with “Arkansas Murder Ballad”. Angela gives motherhood thanks for being a muse, as Common Law Wife explores the complexities, struggles and joys of her experiences. Angela strikes “Hammer” with a confident swing in the rhythms that course under the ghosts in its story, strums a Classic Country to fit into the old pair of jeans she finds in the drawer in “Table Rock”, and watches “The Flame” slowly rise in a lost love’s new relationship.”
"Common Law Wife" is a rootsy album that showcases Easterling's sweet voice and a stellar band....(She) peppers "Throwing Strikes with metaphors to expose rust belt decay, where once-prosperous mills are shuttered. It could fit neatly on a Springsteen CD....The musicianship is outstanding.
“Easterling has quickly become a sought after talent thanks to her honesty and authenticity, capturing a true, salt of the earth aesthetic with her gorgeous pipes and commitment to carefully crafted lyrics. The beautiful harmonies between Easterling and her longtime partner and musical collaborator, Brandon Turner, are perfectly, delicately balanced and contrast the harmony she speaks of in the song—finding peace and beauty in the hard work done side by side with ones neighbors. The lonesome, yearning quality of the song, drawn out by rich instrumentation, mirrors the simple, pastoral landscape of the video, with Easterling and her partner’s presence helping to evoke the emphasis placed on bloodline, commitment to a land to which you and your forebears rightfully belong.”
“Easterling is an Americana artist who, despite often hitting beautiful lilting notes with her voice, is prone to singing about hard times as many of the best folk-inspired artists are. A perfect example is the album’s striking opening cut, “Hammer” with its working man ethos and a lyric that includes the line, “With a hammer in my hand till the setting sun.” “Throwing Strikes” is similarly-themed as it chronicles the downfall of a mill town and one of its residents, albeit set to a bouncier country melody. Other highlights include “Arkansas Murder Ballad,” one more hard times tale in “Lay My Head” and the twangy and winsome title cut which owes a bit of a debt to Buck Owens.”
“Easterling has a bright, clear voice with traditional country inflections, well complemented by Turner’s vocal harmony. Her country-rooted songs are often about personal life experiences, family and that most noble of signature Southern attributes: family connection to the land and hard work over the course of generations.”
“Is it really that much of a jump from Etta Jones or Hedy West to Easterling? No matter what it is, she's writing about what she knows as autobiographically as Joni Mitchell would, she's just doing it from the folk rock side of the ledger with a country twang. The funny thing about Americana is that it aims for the heart rather than the chart which explains how tasty stuff like this flies under the radar but gets well known. This is the rocked up sound of the exurbs as Wal-Mart eats another one off the landscape. Check it out.”
"Easterling is the star. Her ability to shift so easily between upbeat rockers and bleak folk ballads is a feat of varied song craft. There’s nothing common about it"
"Ear ecstasy.... She could be singing about rotten fish laying in the sun on an old wooden pier and it would sound sexy. The production and level of musicality on this recording is just superb."
"Innocence and clarity so fresh as to be dangerous."
"This singer-songwriter's latest, Beguiler ranks as her best effort to date. Some of her original songs have an epic scope while others are tiny, elegantly illuminated vignettes. Her disarmingly non-histrionic soprano heighten's her performances emotional impact while Brandon Turner's guitar provides some extra dollops of electric energy to the mix."
"(Mon secret) combines romanticism with rootsy musical textures to create something special."
"This Upstate darling has gone European. Easterling’s latest album, Mon Secret, was recorded entirely in French. Now before you raise your eyebrows, rest assured: this Americana songbird has not lost her way home. Au contraire, the Parisian panache only adds to her folksy grit and charm by injecting a romantic zest. It’s as if the secrecy of her lyrics emboldens her; Easterling’s vocals exude confidence and maturity. She’s still rocking cowgirl chic, but now her tunes possess a certain je ne sais quoi."
““What's an honest girl doing singing about all these lies? Telling the truth about them, of course, in a voice that is strong and clear, backed by The Beguilers. Will Kimbrough, who produced the record, has taken this very strong cast of players and found just the right combination of instruments for each song, resulting in the impression that each song is recorded just as it should be, nothing missing and nothing extra."”
"Easterling takes Beguiler into deep water as she sings about infidelity, morality and urban sprawl, and she won’t write a breakup song without wheedling out the most complex aspects. McGuinn describes Easterling’s sound as “tradition meets youthful exuberance,” but it’s more than just tradition; snappy youth is why Beguiler sparkles. But wizened lyrical depth is what could make it last.
"Easterling’s new Will Kimbrough-produced Beguiler introduces her snappy new band the Beguilers with a — well, beguiling set of catchy, country-rocking songs that stick in your mind."
““Angela Easterling has a golden glowing voice and she writes observant songs about contemporary life. She can weave urban sprawl and cultural shifts into songs as gingerly as love and relationships. She’s taken her very promising career to a new level with her new album Beguiler.””
"Beguiler is a diverse and spirited re-imagination of the classic country-rock of the early 1970s, the best of which effortlessly blends folk, pop, country, and rock behind the singularly beautiful, lilting vocals and ever-sharpening songwriting prowess of a budding talent."
"Easterling's smart tunes and spunky delivery put her in a category with Americana songbirds such as Tift Merritt and Shelby Lynne."
““This is a special act to hit town. Her recent album, Beguiler has a unique blend of grassy-folk and just enough pop to keep ya singing along. Her voice is angelic and her band truly enhances this along with each song’s story. Don’t miss this one, folks.””
"Easterling – accompanied by her backing band, The Beguilers – played to a packed house, delivering a fantastic performance. The result was pure musical magic. It wasn’t a show as much as it was an event with some special guests adding to the electric on-stage atmosphere. The Beguilers are always top-notch musicians, but their collective talent seemed to reach extraordinary heights Saturday"
"Angela Easterling is on the road with a new CD–Beguiler, produced by Nashville superstar Will Kimbrough, also features the handy work of Brandon Turner. She’s been hitting the circuit several years now, known for her intense performance of “Helpless” at the 2009 Americana Music Festival. I know you’re feeling a little Americana void in your life right now, here’s some medicine."
"This is Easterling’s first recording with her band, “The Beguilers,” and it’s clear listening to the sample track “Two Clouds” that she’s taking full advantage of the new musical resources she’s been given. The song starts off with guitarist Brandon Turner exhibiting some Steve Cropper style, Blues Brothers-esque ascending notes alongside a soaring organ line, then Easterling’s commanding voice and drummer Jeff Hook’s driving beat propel the song into what becomes a country-tinged summer romp of a track."
"Angela Easterling has the fire in her belly. With songs inspired by Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones and A.P. Carter's bones, power, corruption, sex, lies, videotape, French microphones, epic floods and plain old human heartache, Angela is creating literate, modern Southern music for the ages."
“Angela Easterling is a bright shining star on the country/folk/alt.music horizon! Her gift is so special. I loved listening to her new "Black Top Road" CD! Brought me back to the time the Byrds recorded "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" - tradition meets youthful exuberance!”
"Best Political Country Song" - Angela Easterling - "The Picture"- Daniel Gewertz, Boston Herald, Best of 2009 Music
“Dynamite honky-tonk singer Angela Easterling brings a tough traditionalist sound to ballads and ravers alike on her fine new CD Black Top Road.”
"If Steve Earle was reborn as a girl, he’d very likely be Angela Easterling. And Blacktop Road is her Guitar Town . She comes surging out of the chute like a spurred bronco, full of sideways kicks, bucking with all the compressed energy of a coiled steel spring."
“Angela Easterling is a quietly plaintive singer who rewards attentive listening. Her Blacktop Road is out-and-out "alt. country," A lot of the songs here sound like they've been around for years—that's a compliment—including the sweetly yearning cover of "Helpless."”
"BlackTop Road" bears all the hallmarks of a smart songwriter with a sharp eye for both the past and future.
“Easterling's mix of "gee-whiz" stage presence and solid songwriting and singing was one of the most rewarding, surprising sets of the weekend.”
“Angela Easterling isn't just one of the finest singer-songwriters in the Upstate, she's also one of the best in the entire Americana field. "BlackTop Road" features everything from Steve Earle-like angst to Gillian Welch-type introspection.”
“BlackTop Road is soaked in an intelligence and far-reaching historical sense that makes you suspect its origins couldn’t be entirely human, or at least that all of these songs and performances couldn’t have emanated from one young woman.”
“Angela Easterling's BlackTop Road is one attractive album. Smartly produced by Will Kimbrough, the set holds originals plus a lovely take on Neil Young's "Helpless". The album's sound is folk-rock, strongly executed throughout.”
“A pretty voice and poignant songwriter surrounds herself with A-list players and puts out a great alt-country album." Free Times Favorite CD's of 2009 (January 7, 2010)”
“The clarity and consistency of the narrative voice make (you) feel like you’re learning quite a bit about Angela Easterling. Above all else, the thing you’ll learn is that, regardless of what may come her way, she’ll be fine. There’s no stopping a talent of this magnitude."”
“A heartfelt album of personal experience, adding youth to tradition. An intelligent and Introspective writer.”
"Angela Easterling – Black Top Road - Roots/Rock sweetheart with a folk sense of cultural activism" TwangNation Best CD's of 2009
“...Sparkling, honey-hewn voice, etched with traces of sorrow and hopefulness in equal measure. Produced the estimable Will Kimbrough, the CD is pure, mountain-air acoustic country music. Think Emmylou Harris, Alison Krause or even Gillian Welch. Very sweet stuff indeed. Highly recommended”
“There's an old head on young shoulders in her writing and she shows that underneath there's a burning ambition to not be good, but to be great…there's a personal honesty and splash of life that jumps out at you.”
“This is a road trip worth taking...”
“If you want an excellent example of what Americana that 5 layer dip of genres has to offer you need to put on Easterling’s Blacktop Road. She delivers in her earnestly melancholic voice and her expanded tastes and sensibilities that sound right at home in a honkytonk or a NY supper club.”
“I produced Angela Easterling's record, but all I had to do is show up for class and play along. She is a powerful, focused artist who has done her homework: rock n roll, country, bluegrass, literature and French pop."”
"Highly recommended release from one of our favourite artists." - Smart Choice Music, UK (July 14, 2009)
“The "back to roots" attitude that Easterling brings to her fine new project transcends any casual lipservice. The album has one foot firmly planted in traditional southern music, the other in the modern interpretations of Americana.Recommended.””
“If “Earning Her Wings” announced Easterling’s arrival, “BlackTop Road” shows that she’s here to stay. Easterling handles soul-searching topics fearlessly and gracefully, weaving stories that entrance as much by her warm, inviting voice as by her heartfelt lyrics.”
“For all braying about social messages in contemporary country music they are like crayon scribbling compared to finely crafted song like this. (re: "The Picture")”
“Angela has just about the prettiest voice to come out of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While she claims Emmylou Harris as an influence (and wears it quite well), there’s also a spark of youth in her voice more reminiscent of someone with a rock background, like Jenny Lewis.”
“Easterling can also knock out an Appalachian rocker that sounds like early Steve Earle, such as the title track from her album BlackTopRoad”
“Easterling is a songwriter who makes listeners feel, think and see.The world can be ugly, but somehow her voice can make anything softer, easier to manage. Harsh stories have beauty.”
"This is country Roots rediscovered and played the way it was always meant to be played."
"Enjoyable from beginning to end. Angela has her finger (and voice) on the pulse of the style."
"Easterling has created an enchanting brand of neo-traditionalist country that mixes hard-edged honky tonk with fetching ballads. Her voice is a gorgeous instrument."
"She’s a quality, standout artist. Her music just jumps out of the speakers."
"Angela's one of my personal new favorites. Her debut album is amazing from the opening track to the last."