This disc owes much of its genesis to Angela Easterling's return to her South Carolina family home after some years traveling and time in southern California. Another portion of the disc is due to the assemblage of musicians and the expertise and experience that producer Will Kimbrough assembled in Nashville for the disc. The musicians are a who's who of that city's, known for their excellence and ability: David Jacques on upright bass, Ken Coomer on drums and percussion, Fats Kaplan on violin and pedal steel, Mr. Kimbrough of course on guitars, organ, etc, and numerous other folk to copious to mention.
The main force of the disc comes from the songwriting and the presentation of the songs. Easterling wrote/co-wrote, all but two of the songs, one is written by her great grandfather, Stars Over The Prairie, and the other is the Neil Young classic, Helpless (with which she does a great job).
BlackTop Road portrays through Easterling's family's history the far less than stellar treatment of families and their property in America, as well as the modern woman's frustrations with the inequality of treatment on many levels. It is her presentation of the songs, which take center stage here, and both she and Will Kimbrough do all in their ability to present them in a straight-forward manner so that all the listener has to do is enjoy and pay attention. The songs are thoughtful and well-crafted stories that concern the living of life, and the trials and tribulations that ensue in doing that. This is a disc that will resonate with a deep intensity with many listeners on a variety of different levels. Angela Easterling is someone to keep a sharp eye on for follow-up material.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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