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Angel Band

With Roots and Wings

(Appleseed; US: 27 May 2008; UK: Available as import)

The Angel Band sounds more earthy than ethereal. The three women who possess relatively low voices, which give the dozen original tunes (and one cover) a solid texture. You can feel the flesh and blood pulsate through the country and bluegrass music as they harmonize. Each word is carefully annunciated. They convey a confident earnestness in their expressions, whether they are singing about a mother’s love in a world of war or the struggle to make a living in a troubled city. Nancy Josephson leads the trio, which is backed by a solid quartet called Chum. The quartet features Josephson’s husband, the instrumental virtuoso David Bromberg and mandolin player Bobby Tangrea. Tangrea also wrote and co-wrote much of the material with Josephson. While there is something granola about the politically correct, left-liberal lyrics, the singers and players do a good job of universalizing the aesthetic experience by concentrating on the performance more than preaching a message.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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Angel Band - Live at the Philadelphia Folk Festival
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