Bless My Sole
With two solid years of touring under their belt since their 2008 release, with Roots & Wings, the female vocal trio Angel Band has left no audience has been left unmoved by their all-out stage demeanor, signature rootsy, bluesy Americana songs, superb back-up band and the "dig in" vocals of leader and lyricist Nancy Josephson, Kathleen Weber, and Aly Paige. At first performing as opening act and backing singers for Josephson's husband, world-class roots musician David Bromberg at Merlefest, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and other high profile events, Angel Band has been stepping out and playing many a prestigious concert venue on their own (voted one of the Top 10 Favorite Bands at Bonnaroo. Produced by Nancy and Angel Band backing musician Marc Moss, their newest release, Bless My Sole, is co-produced by legendary musician/producer Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks, Jimmie Dale Gilmore). The trio's vocals on Bless My Sole soar through primarily acoustic accompaniment by the Angels' nimble backing band and stellar guests Bromberg and Maines, among others. The rousing CD opener, "Hope is on the Way," was inspired by Barack Obama's presidential run, taking on additional meaning after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where Nancy has strong artistic and personal ties. (A video of "Hope is on the Way" can be found on YouTube. The rootsy blues of "Same Boat" recounts the American immigration experience; we all want "the same things at the end of the day" and we are all "in the same boat now. "Bless My Sole captures two of Angel Band's in-concert audience favorites: The heartfelt, yearning "Boots of Guadalupe," an account of Nancy's - and many women's - true love and devotion to footwear, and a jawdropping voluptuous rendition of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down," led by Kathleen. Angel Band's boot-stomping attitude triggered "Long Gone Got Away Lucky," a defiant portrait of everyone's favorite cowgirl hero, Annie Oakley. There's also the raucous "(I Feel) Lucky," fronted by Aly, a fiddle-infused celebration of gambling's giddy, irresistible appeal. More somber notes are rung on the delicate "Fly Away Home," a song of mourning, and "Black Tar Sway," a Tom Waits-influenced account of the seduction of drug addiction. "Deeds We Have Done" was written as a rebuttal to John Milton's 17th Century epic poem, "Paradise Lost," confirming "the choice is ours, Amen. "Anyone who likes the "sigh-to-a-shout" vocal chops, lyrical grit and real deal instrumental abilities of the Dixie Chicks and Lucinda Williams (along with the soulful heart of Bonnie Raitt) will definitely be satisfied keeping Angel Band a favorite on their play list.