aimee suzanne kruse-ross | farewell angelina | jan. 2019
Nashville's Farewell Angelina is a multi-talented, all-female country group that has earned soaring praise from a variety of music platforms across the nation. Their fusion of blended harmonies over doubled violins and guitars has the group labeled as one of country music's hottest rising acts. Rolling Stone says, "Wickedly smart songwriting delivered with a healthy dash of sass ... deft playing ... into one sonic knockout punch."
On a wintery-cold day in Nashville, Farewell Angelina's Nicole Witt fielded questions via phone ahead of the band's January performance at the Ashwaubenon PAC.
So, the band name, Farewell Angelina is an homage to the Bob Dylan song of the same name, famously recorded by Joan Baez. Can you tell us how the band came to choose this as its name?
Yes, well we're all songwriters and we all love great lyrics and one of our members, Andrea Young, wrote many different song titles down on a piece of paper and we all kind of looked at them. We all love Bob Dylan because he's a great songwriter and a great lyricist. This song made sense for us and seemed to fit us. We felt it was a really interesting band name as well as a beautiful title, and it really fit us, it just clicked. It's also very difficult to get four women on one page for a band name so this was it!
It's refreshing to know that you ladies are longtime friends, each of you having solo careers in Nashville before teaming up. Can you tell us when or how the decision to work together came about?
We've all been friends for a long time, writing songs, playing late night jams, and two of us were solo artists on Curb Records. Lisa had done her own thing as well and was pretty successful at that. But we came together when we were sitting around my kitchen table and we started singing together and it was instant. It was so easy and I think it was just meant to be.
Your highly anticipated EP, “Women and Wine,” is set for release in January of 2019. What can you tell us about the upcoming recording?
That EP comes out January 25 and we're very excited about it! Ashley Gearing is the newest member of our band and this is the first time that we've had an opportunity to record with her. We've been writing this EP for the past year and we carefully selected these songs that made the final cut. They were the songs that we were most excited about and were the songs that our fans reacted to the most during our live concerts. They are also the songs that sit together the best in this project.
We're also excited about our bonus track, “I Feel You.” The song was written by our friend Kevin Bacon, the actor. We had a chance to open for Kevin and his brother, Michael, two years in a row and through that, they became our friends. We heard them sing this song last year on stage and we thought, 'My gosh, what a beautiful song!' So we approached Kevin about it, and he came back with, 'I would be honored for you to cut this.' So it's really special to us and we had an official debut in New York City at the Schimmel Center and Michael joined us that night and played cello. It's something we're really proud of as we co-produced it, so it really means a lot to us.
Your tour kicks off in early January in New York City, how excited are you to take these songs on the road and what can audiences expect when you come to town?
Oh my gosh, we're so excited to take these songs on the road, yes! What can the audience expect? Well, they can expect a high-energy band, they can expect a lot of singing with two of us playing guitar and two playing violin. But we love to tell the stories behind the songs and we love touring. This is our favorite thing to do, to be with an audience every night and we love creating moments. You can listen to a song on Spotify, on iTunes or on an EP over and over, but you cannot redo a concert or event and have the same quality experience because we're all together for this one night. Every single concert is different and the audience loves to participate and get involved.
The band really seems to be embracing social media and connecting with your fans, including “Wednesday Wine Buzz.” Can you tell us a little bit about that?
We love people and have friends all over the country now and we wanted to do something around our EP that wasn't necessarily music. Down the road there may be some music during the Buzz, but for now we wanted to introduce our band and create a rolling party and felt that this might be a way to show our personalities a little. It's been a lot of fun and we have a whole series planned so stay tuned!
Talking a bit more about you, specifically, music runs in your family; both your father and grandparents were performers. Can you tell us a little bit about them and their influence on your career?
I never got to meet my grandparents. They both passed when my dad was quite young so he ended up being raised by his brothers and sisters. The way that I met my grandfather was through my fiddle. He played that fiddle and was a bluegrass musician in Missouri in the 1940s, and while I play his fiddle, I feel that I have that connection with him.
Now my dad, as a little boy, was a great dancer. He got to be on the first televised country music show in Springfield, Missouri, and after that, he spent two years on the 'Ozark Jubilee Show.' He never played instruments but he had sung his whole life so I think his greatest influence on me is in the way of his personality with my character and my heart. He got to meet a lot of the old country greats, Porter Wagner, Brenda Lee and a bunch of other folks, so he created his musical legacy in that way.
You've penned songs that have been recorded by other artists including those recorded by George Strait, Terri Clark, Lee Brice and Diamond Rio. Do you enjoy writing a song and seeing it take shape by another artist or are you more inclined to enjoy taking something you've written across the finish line yourself?
Oh gosh, that's a hard one to answer because I just love it all! When I moved to Nashville, I became a songwriter and I spent nine years doing nothing but that. I was signed to three different publishing companies and spent nine years watching other artists cut my songs. That is so thrilling, you just never know how a song is going to end up after writing a song, in your tiny little music room in your house, and then to hear George Strait sing it on the stage, that is just so exciting to me to watch another artist take your song and put their print, their voice on it. But equally exciting is also our band, getting to write songs for us and seeing them come alive on the stage.
Catch Farewell Angelina January 19, 2019, as they take to the Ashwaubenon PAC stage in support of their new EP release “Women and Wine” or check out their website at FarewellAngelinaMusic.com.
For more information visit AshwaubenonPAC.org.