For her next gig, South Carolina-based Angela Easterling has booked a pair of library dates in western Pa.
Easterling is an engaging singer/songwriter of distinction. Lane readers can confirm that notion by visiting her website and learning more about her two Pittsburgh area stops next week.
"There's an educational component (in these shows)," Easterling advised over the phone recently.
Not only will those in attendance hear selections from her evolving body of work, Easterling will pause to discuss musical influences which are delightfully varied.
"I was never really into country music, but I've had listeners express to me; 'Oh, you play country music!' And I respond by saying, 'What are you talking about?'" she laughed.
Easterling is building an impressive resume of solid independent releases, including 2011's stellar "Beguiler" recorded with a full band and featuring a dozen diverse tracks.
She cites 1950s Judy Garland and 1970s Emmylou Harris for providing inspiration. "I've always enjoyed Emmylou's recordings. If that makes me a country music singer, so be it," Easterling confided.
Next Tuesday (May 8), Easterling arrives at the Brentwood (Pa.) Library and performs between 7-8 p.m. The following evening, she's scheduled for the Western Allegheny Community Library, located on Steubenville Pike, in Oak Dale, a relatively short trek from the Ohio Valley.
Her Oak Dale appearance begins at 6:30. Both library shows are free.
One of Beguiler's tracks which grabbed our attention is Easterling's haunting "Johnstown, Pennsylvania," an ode to the 1889 tragic flood which wiped out a majority of that city's downtown area and claimed in excess of 2,000 lives.
"We heard a roar like a mighty train/the waters surged, the dam did break," she relates. "Houses and trees tossed in its wake, headed for Johnstown, Pennsylvania/In one brief hour that dreadful day, 2,200 swept away/And a city street was their watery grave in Johnstown, Pennsylvania."
Easterling's formidable composing skills show up with regularity, whether on her politically incorrect via cynical take on government, adeptly showcased on "Group Self Deception" to the injustices of our early heritage on "Manifest Destiny."
Easterling and her crack backing band, the Beguilers, lighten the mood with the sprite "Happy Song." Guitarist Brandon Turner later shares vocals on love's indifferences reflected on "Never Got That Far."
Turner turns in a array of tasty licks throughout with percussionist Jeff Hook completing a solid package.
Directions to Easterling's library two gigs are available on her website. She's on the road for some extensive 2012 play dates, including a handful of festival performances.
DID WE mention Easterling's latest record is a heartfelt project, titled, "Mon secret," a recently released 10-track album of songs performed exclusively in the French language.
Easterling and co-writer Marianne Bessy are responsible for creating the project. Bessy is an assistant professor of French at Furman University and a native of Rennes in Brittany.
"The record has sort of taken on a life of its own," Easterling explained. "I guess there's been fairly strong word of mouth. I never would have thought I would have an original song in French. What I found was that singing in French brought out a different, softer quality in my voice and the French language seemed to merge quite well with my music. It inspired me to want to do more."
Expect Easterling to perform a song or two from 'Mon secret' at next week's two library dates.
Both Easterling discs were produced by top of the line technician Will Kimbrough who contributes guitar, mandolin, banjo and resonator on several tracks.....
Satellite radio subscribers are likely familiar with Easterling's work. She's on the playlist for Sirius/XM's Outlaw Country channel....Angela's music has been featured in Southwestern Bell commercials. Several of her songs were used in the series "Horsepower" on the Animal Planet network....
Gibson may be reached at rgibson@ timesleaderonline.com