Angela Easterling was raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the daughter of a Baptist minister. Much of her childhood was spent on the farm that has been in her family since 1791.
While country roots run deep for Angela, a native of Taylors, South Carolina, it wasn’t until she moved to Los Angeles, that the country calling in her soul became a siren’s song. A performer all her life, Angela had begun playing guitar and writing songs while studying at Emerson College in Boston. More and more her music returned to the place her heart called home. “As a kid, the only music I ever heard was the music in church, old-time gospel. It had such an impact on me.” As Angela began honing her writing and playing live, other artists began to spark her imagination, artists like Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, the Carter Family and Johnny Cash.
All those honky-tonk Saturdays and gospel-drenched Sundays have paid off for Angela, who has embraced her heritage in a big way on her debut album, Earning Her Wings. With a voice that Music Connection magazine called “haunting and ethereal”, Angela is a dynamic spitfire of a performer, with a knack for tapping you on the head while tugging at your heart.
Working “bit by bit” over a period of two years at various SoCal studios, Angela had amassed a lot of material. In 2006, she took all the pieces to James O’Connell, drummer and producer of L.A. roots-rock band West Coast Grand and owner of Silverlake’s Monkey Den Studios. Together, they waded through her tracks, recording new songs and remixing old ones. “This record represents such a slice of my life for the last few years!” she says. “The songs and the recordings are a visceral piece of me. All my friends (who just happen to be stellar musicians) helped me make this album. It was a real family affair and I think you can hear that in the final product”.
Tracks include “River Jordan”; about the music that’s “in my blood”. Angela wrote “The Accordion” with Shawn Davis, but the story is true: “My dad really did trade a truck for an old accordion! That’s so country I had to sing about it.” “Feel Like Drinking” features an outstanding pedal steel performance by Chris Laurence, who plays the same guitar featured on many classic Nashville recordings, including those of Loretta Lynn. The 1940’s-era “When I Wake Up”, is the only non-original on the album. Angela had cherished the song for years but only recently discovered that it was written by distant relative (and prolific gospel song writer) Marion Easterling. “He had songs recorded by the Kingsmen, the Gaithers, Johnny Cash and Ralph Stanley. I’m so proud to share his name and sing his song.”
Angela’s unique sound and soulful writing caught the attention of DJ Doc Holiday and later, Chris Morris, who soon began airing her songs on the “Watusi Rodeo” alt-country show on radio station Indie 103.1. Even with no label backing her, songs such as “River Jordan” and “Earning Her Wings” still resonated with Watusi listeners. After making a few live appearances on the “Rodeo”, Angela went on to perform on the same bill as Lucinda Williams, Deana Carter, Victoria Williams, Dave Alvin, John Doe and Michelle Shocked. Angela has had radio play and appeared live across America. Last year, several of her songs were picked up by the Animal Planet reality series “Horse Power”; and she opened up for Radney Foster at a sold-out show in Hollywood. In addition, "Earning Her Wings" was named the top album of the year by Smart Choice Music, a popular source of Americana music in Europe and the U.K.
Having established a recognizable name in the vibrant West Coast country music scene, Angela says she hopes to bring her music to an even wider audience. She has recently returned to the Carolinas, but plans on spending most of 2007 on the road, with shows booked from Georgia to Maine. Her tour includes opening for such artists as country music legend, Ray Price, Suzy Bogguss and the Oak Ridge Boys. As a special honor, Angela appeared this fall at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the birth of country music in Bristol TN/VA. “I want to be a part of the musical traditions of the artists that came before me, but filter them through my voice and my experiences as a young woman. I want to uplift people. Music has the ability to do that and that is my ultimate goal."