For the last couple of years, we have been living on my family's farm, that dates back to 1791, in a house mostly built by my grandfather, where he lived for 40 or so years, and in fact, where he died. All around me, I see the work of his hands. This house, the barns, the fences, this land, his life's work. Until very recently, we got our water from the well he dug. He was a farmer. It is very interesting for me to live with these constant reminders of him all around me. He would never want to call attention to himself, and yet, his memory lives on. It is hard to slack off and sit on the couch eating chips when you live in a house built by Harold Hammett. Trust me, I've tried. I see his presence - not like a ghost or a spirit or anything supernatural - but more of a solid thing, the strength of these walls, brick and wood; I see him and I know, it is time to get to work. Early last year, I had been thinking about this, about him, and about the others who worked and lived on this land before me, some of them my ancestors, some of them Cherokee, some of them slaves. Here I am, the beneficiary of so much. Their voices call to me to make something of it. I have tried and I have mostly failed. But I will keep trying. My Grandpa always said, “The only thing that can stop you, would be for you to quit.” :) I had been thinking about all of these things and had the beginning of a song, just part of the first verse and the melody. It was January 28 and I woke up to the news that someone I admired very much, Pete Seeger, had died the day before. I spent some time that day reading remembrances of those who were lucky enough to know him a lot or a little. The two that meant the most to me were this one, by Jonathan Byrd: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/pete-seeger And one by Arlo Guthrie, recalling how, after a show they performed together, when Guthrie was ready to kick back with a drink, the 92-year-old Seeger encouraged him to come along with him to join the Occupy protest. “I've got two new canes!” he said. How could Guthrie resist such an entreaty? How could I? I saw a thread of connection there in the song I had been working on and the inspiration I got from Pete Seeger. It is the spirit that calls, not to draw attention to itself, but to call us all to do something. It doesn't call us with speeches and posturing, it calls with action and it leads by example. I finished the song, “Hammer”, that day. I was not trying to write specifically about any one person, per se, more about that singular voice. I am still trying to answer its call. Hammer This land is haunted. This land has ghosts. I can hear them when the night winds blow. The unnamed who lived and died here left their bones beneath its soil. This land is haunted, this land has ghosts. This land's a mirror of our heart The way we build it up and tear it all apart It birthed us like a mother, and we use it from the start This land's a mirror of our heart. When the harvest comes in When it's time for reaping, I will be there to celebrate the fruits of labor And when the winter sets down While the world is sleeping I will be there to remind you there is still work to be done. With a hammer in my hand til setting sun. This land's my father, It is my son. I sing the elder's stories to the young. So they may find the breath of life in of battles lost and won. This land's my father. It is my son. When the Spring awakens, And the snow becomes the rain I will be there to sow the seed with all my neighbors. And in the heat of summer, In all it's beauty and it's pain You will find me, toiling underneath the blessed sun. A hammer in my hand til day is done A hammer in my hand… To listen to the song, click here: http://www.reverbnation.com/angelaeasterling/song/22677191-hammer-new Copyright 2014 Angela Easterling
I wanted to take a moment to drop a note wishing you a warm, wonderful and joyous Holiday Season and all the best in 2014! I am looking forward to the New Year, but it will be hard to top 2013, in which I welcomed my first baby and played more shows than ever before; and toured to TN, NC, PA, NJ, CT, MA, VT, OH & MI! Being a Mommy is definitely the best and sweetest gift I have ever received, but it is followed closely by the blessing of playing music for a living and getting to share it with all of you. Thanks so much to all of you who continue to come to my shows, buy CD's, and share my music with your friends. You make it possible for me to do what I love. This will be an extra special holiday for me as it is my baby's 1st Christmas! He is so amazed by the lighst and music and of course, Santa! As I look to the New Year, I am continuing to write songs for my next project and happy to report that I am at least 3/4 of the way there! We hope to record a new album in 2014!
2012 Hi everyone! I got some great news last week that I was named a Top 10 Finalist in the prestigious Wildflower! Festival Performing Songwriter Contest and will get to perform at the festival in TX this May.
The first week of April I was the featured artist on the international radio show Country Fried Rock. You can stream this great interview plus selections of my music and the artists that have inspired me. Here is the link: http://countryfriedrock.org/1214-angela-easterling/ Outtakes from this interview discussing my mistakes in French, love of baseball and more are posted here: http://soundcloud.com/countryfriedrock/sets/country-fried-rock-episode-1
Check out this video of Brandon & me playing a new song, "Winter's Lie", that I wrote a couple of weeks ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7ouFpiFK9w0
(De L’Est Music)
***1/2 There appear to be any number or Angela Easterlings making an appearance on this slickly-produced third offering. Yet, despite the slight schizophrenia, her vocals manage to beguile regardless of the variety of songwriting styles and/or support employed. If she sounds like anyone, it’s that of a very young woman who seems unable to decide whether she’s country or pop – but is something in-between. Think Suzie Bogguss at a younger age, with an innocence and clarity so fresh as to be dangerous. There’s nothing deceptive about her, as the definition of ‘beguile’ might have it. It’s as honest as one might expect from a new talent from Greenville, SC. Yet this is not her first recording and, again produced by veteran player Will Kimbrough (who produced her last, Blacktop Road)), but it is her first with a band of her own. Guitarist Brandon Turner and drummer Jeff Hook follow her every lead while guest artists like bassist Byron House (Robert Plant’s Band of Joy) and fiddler/pedal steel magician, Fats Kaplin don’t hurt. She spins out with elements of folk, rock, pop, country and even gospel across these dozen compositions, most of them self-penned with the exception of Brandon Turner’s “The Fish & The Bird” and the gospel traditional, “Anchored In Love”. There are any number of highlights to be uncovered here. The light, airy, mandolin-driven “Happy Song” (which, until you get to know her range, is almost way too happy) features Easterling at her most Julie Andrews while the perky “Two Clouds” allows her to rear her head as a rocker, providing her hometown-proud band an opportunity to, by comparison, kick out a semblance of jams. The truly beguiling “Anchored In Love” (and its delicate reprise) finds her voice in its most comfortable setting and, aided by the support vocals of Fayssoux Starling McLean (Emmylou Harris) and Brandon Turner, this begs more of the same. The strongest track is, however, “Maria, My Friend” – which tells a sad tale of lost friendship and proves a lovely vehicle for Easterling’s surprising vocal range, with sparse guitar/mandolin/accordion backdrop. The oft-recognized songwriter has worked ‘deception’ into many of the songs on Beguiler and no less so on quirky “Manifest Destiny”, a historic perspective with personal roots, embracing the White Man’s Burden complete with “Cherokee-like” percussion and Kaplin’s rootsy fiddle. History returns with the forlorn “Johnstown, Pennsylvania” – a personalized account of flooding from the late 1800’s, as Turner and Kaplin set the stage with memorable effects from their instruments. She and guitarist Turner hand unleash a lovely duet with “Never Got That Far” – in which two lovers just can’t say ‘goodbye’. With this chemistry, why would they? The soft-spoken “Pocket” offers another tangent, albeit a gentle, tasty one as brushes and soft-picked, almost jazz guitar proves that Easterling can easily include this smooth setting in her repertoire as well. All in all, a whole lot of record covering a great deal of musical ground in under 50-minutes. As a result, it’s difficult to put a finger on where Easterling’s planning on going next, but the detours taken here do a fine job of leaving the decision squarely up to her. She’s certainly got the voice to pull it off.
Eric Thom, Maverick Magazine
Woohoo, looks like the August duo tour is booked - fingers crossed! (except still hoping for Boston date Aug. 18!)
Aug. 4: Ashland Coffee & Tea Richmond, VA Aug. 5 Smithfield Concert Series, Smithfield, VA Aug 6 Loudoun County VA Library Aug. 7 hold for Lovettsville, VA Library Aug. 8 Music on the Steps Fredericksburg, VA. ...Aug. 9 Purple Fiddle Thomas WV Aug. 10: FOOTMAD Folk Music Society Concert Charleston, WV Aug. 11: Huntington WV House Concert/Block Party Aug. 12: hold for Nazareth PA Arts Center Aug. 13 Vynecrest Winery Breinigsville, PA Aug. 14 Johnstown PA Bandshell Aug. 15 (Monday) open - long driving day- not going to try to book anything. Aug. 16 : Cafe Nine New Haven, CT Aug. 17: day in Boston -Red Sox game @ Fenway Aug. 18: hoping for Boston or NH gig! Aug. 19: Dreamaway Lodge Becket, MA Aug. 20: Ukranian Cultural Center Whippany NJ Aug. 21: afternoon concert @ church in NJ details TBA
I'm really excited to be going to Nashville next month to record a new CD! Will Kimbrough is back in the producer's seat, but this time, I'm bringing along my amazing SC band, the Beguilers: Brandon Turner on lead guitar and Jeff Hook on the drums. We've got some great new songs and the combination of players cannot be beat. Byron House, currently touring with Robert Plant, Buddy Miller & Patty Griffin in Band of Joy will be joining us on the bass. Plus lots of special surprise guests.
All this wonderment does not come cheap and I've been saving every penny I make from my touring over the last 2 years to pay for it. I'm an indie artist and entirely self--funded. I'm just about there, but need a little boost to help cover our living expenses in Nashville.
To raise some money, I have a great gift. For a donation of $15, I will send a personalized Holiday card to whoever you want to receive it. Inside the card will be gift cards to download BOTH of my albums, BlackTop Road and Earning Her Wings for free!! This makes a great gift and a nice way to share my music with your friends. Or get my albums for yourself if you don't have them already! At only $15, it is cheaper than downloading both my albums on Amazon or Itunes, plus you get the added bonus of the personalized card and the chance to support my new CD. The downloads can be played on any ipod or Mp3 player and also burned onto a CD.
I have 115 of these gifts available. Just think, if I sell all of them, that is over $1700, which would be a HUGE help in our budget. The cards will be sent out the first week in December. You can buy just one or as many as you want. I'm happy to send them to multiple addresses in one order. I really hope I can sell them all!
Let me know if you're interested and feel free to forward this email!!
All the best,
September 2010: This summer has been HOT and busy! Brandon and I had a great tour to the Mid-Atlantic states in July with wonderful, supportive crowds and lots of fun experiences. The coolest was the Johnstown Bandshell and getting to sing my song "Johsntown, PA"I in the town that inspired it. Here's a link to a local news story about our show there: http://www.fox8tv.com/News/NewsDetails.asp?NewsID=3707 I'm going to post some new articles from the tour in my press section. & pix in the gallery so be sure to check them out. I also headed off to Nashville to meet with Will Kimbrough and make plans for recording my new CD, which we'll be doing in December. I'm very excited about it! I also finished booking my October tour: SC, MD, NJ, CT, VT, MA, PA, VA, here I come! Check my calendar for all info on my upcoming dates. To view more pix, calendar & press, visit http://www.angelaeasterling.com On a very sad note, we received some terrible news last month. Todd Verdin, who played bass with me all last year, passed away in early August. Todd was a smart, sweet and talented young man. He was one of the funniest guys I've ever known and kept us all in stitches. He played some great gigs with me, including my Americana showcase. We will miss him greatly. Please keep his parents, brother and sister in your thoughts and prayers. He was one of a kind.
Here's a video of us playing at the Americana Convention in September. '09 You can really hear Todd's bass good on this track. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGCmKl0r63Y Todd was not just a band member, he was my friend. I hope his spirit is at peace.
Somewhere in my boxes of old local music is a copy of a record that Greenville native Angela Easterling recorded when she was barely out of her teens and playing in coffeehouses. One can almost hear her wince when reminded of that initial effort during a recent phone call.
“Nobody tells you then that if you record something it will still be around years later,” Easterling says. “That was my first attempt at recording and it was mostly just me and another guitarist, very acoustic and very simple. I’m not sure I even have a copy of it any more.”
Easterling has come a long way from those humble beginnings. After attending college in Boston, she headed west.
“Emerson College had an internship program in Los Angeles, so I spent a year there during school and went back after graduation,” Easterling says. “The weather’s perfect and it’s like a bigger version of Atlanta to me, just really spread out.”
It was the musical connections she made there that shaped her first proper album, Earning Her Wings.
“I made a lot of great friends, and there was a good alt-country scene out there that I got into,” Easterling says. “That’s part of why that album has such an old country sound to it.”
That classic country sound had writers comparing her to everyone from Lucinda Williams to Loretta Lynn, but Easterling draws inspiration from more diverse sources, something that she says will be better reflected on her upcoming disc Black Top Road.
“It’s funny, but even though I recorded the new album in Nashville, it is much less country sounding,” she says. “These newer songs are more complex as far as subject matter, too.” Easterling used noted guitar-slinger and Todd Snider sideman Will Kimbrough to produce the new material, and she says he added more than just experience to the process.
“Will is so creative he can do anything, play anything, and he just brings an open mind and amazing ability,” Easterling says. “He also brought in people like Fats Kaplin, Al Perkins, [ex-Wilco drummer] Ken Coomer and [John Prine sideman] David Gates to play on the songs, so they sound great.”
Easterling says her aim with the new material is to become an artist like her own inspirations: Emmylou Harris and Neil Young.
“Emmylou does all these different songs, from the Carter Family to the Beatles to Merle Haggard, but it all consistently sounds like her,” Easterling says. “Neil Young, he’s a major influence on this album, I think. It’s definitely a more singer-songwriter album.”
The title track is a reference to her family’s farm in Greer, which is threatened with the pace of nearby development and growth. In her family since 1791, the Hammett Farm does indeed now have a blacktop road running in front of it, but Easterling and the rest of her extended family are fighting to keep further development away from the property, which is still a working farm business.
In preparation for the upcoming album release, Easterling has assembled a full touring band of Upstate area musicians including hotshot guitarist Brandon Turner, who also plays regularly with Spartanburg’s Fayssoux McLean (who, coincidentally, was an early associate of Harris’).
“I’ve been touring solo a lot the past few years, just because it makes more sense financially,” Easterling says. “I’m getting a few more gigs regionally now, and with the new album it seemed like it was time to put a group together for some of them. I just played my first shows with the band last week, including an outdoors festival set. Brandon started taking solos and I just let him go off, because the more he solos the better I look.” This week’s house concert will be a solo performance, but watch your calendars for a full band set by Easterling in June at the Rhythm on the River concert series in Cayce.
I just joined Twitter...sadly they don't give me enough room for my whole name, so I'm AngelEasterling...We are going to press on the new CD today, very excited.
Come and follow me! LOL... http://twitter.com/AngelEasterling