with three distinct voices. Voices rich, clear and full, add
celebrated producer Lloyd Maines, include a pitch perfect
band, then blend an assortment of meaningful and inspired
tunes. The result is, if I dare play with the obvious,
Meet the Angel Band.
The driving vocal force of the outfit is
Nancy Josephson, Jen Schonwald and Kathleen Weber. These
women are versatile, passionate, and blessed with collective
harmony and individual style. Their music is a fusion, a
creative melding, of country, folk and Americana. They have
just released their debut album. It’s out on Appleseed
It’s impressive. Very.
Hailing from Wilmington, Delaware, the women
have what many in music crave; they possess the almost
indefinable it. They bring feel and passion
to the crowded country music market, and they do it with
style, energy and commitment.
For a relatively new musical venture -- the
girls have only been performing for two years -- their
voices are harmony pure and their distinctive presence plays
out well on With Roots And Wings. The 13 tracks
travel easily on a path of fine musicianship, courtesy of
six-piece backing band Chum. The tapestries of mandolin,
steel, Dobro, fiddle, add wholesome weight to the
introspective and image-driven shades on show here.
From the opening “Hey Papa Legba”, a shortish
tune (1:17) with a Haitian Vodou link, onto the instilled
charm of Chip Taylor’s musical coup for Merilee Rush, the
somber Angel Of The Morning, to all album points, the music,
the voices and the playing is, well, divine.
The lyrics of “I’ll Sing This Song For You”
(Nancy Josephson), with its female take on relationship
sacrifice, where Nancy sings the do’s she’ll deliver to keep
love alive. It’s an interesting and almost dated
perspective. A vibrant tune, sure, but the notion of giving
up your life to be someone’s wife/partner/lover is brave in
these times of demanded equality.
“I will wait backstage for you
I’ll stay off the front page for you
I’ll cut off all my hair for you
Let you choose what I’m gonna wear for you
I’ll even sing the blues for you
I’ll sell all my shoes for you…”
Hmm…now, that’s love.
A deeper and more factual reality of love
comes bare in the telling “We Are Shepherds”. “We’re not
soldiers in any army,” say the lyrics, “allowing bombs or
bullets strafe, we are mothers armed with a mission, to keep
our charges safe.” The tune is a thoughtful piece, timely
and reflective, as it honours family bonds, and importantly,
in these turbulent global times, the weight mothers carry –
often alone and often silently.
Other standouts from these musical bluebloods
include the sadness of cold love that only lingers because
of the kids, as played on “Place Of Grace”. There’s the
sparse, bare and bluesy “Drown In The Fountain Of Good,” and
personal favorite “Moon Over Montgomery,” where Kathleen
Weber vocalises, plaintively, on the woes of a lone woman
fighting to survive her blue-collar outcome.
“North of town where life runs fast
The children play in the city trash
Broken glass laying in the street
It’s a dangerous place for little feet…
Way ‘cross town on the same avenue
She cleans homes of the well-to-do
She takes the bus and walks the rest of the way
It’s just five miles but it’s a world away.”
For those who like their music clean, real
and pure, this is for you…the Angel Band…heavenly.