|Photo by: Provided|
Athens is a place of endearing qualities: there’s the rustic Mother Nature circling the town and running through its veins; there’s the charming folk, both local and students, who brighten the streets with their smiles and insight; and there’s the music that fills the ears of those who long for its compelling essence.
Angela Perley, front woman of the Howlin’ Moons, is one of those people who, after attending college in Athens, embraced and carried all that she appreciated about the town with her to Columbus.
“I’ve always been a writer and into theatre and all that stuff. I’ve been playing music since I was young--trained on piano and violin--but I didn’t really start writing songs until I came to Athens. I was really inspired by all the kinds of old-time music that was going on around here… that community vibe of all the bands and the music and the small network, it was more like a little close nit family of musicians,” Perley reminisces.
This Thursday night, Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons take the Casa Cantina stage to show us just what she’s made of her time away. The change of scenery from Columbus to Athens is one she’s looking forward to.
“It’s a whole different vibe playing in Athens than Columbus," Perley said. "In Columbus there’s a lot more diversity of people, like age groups, and if you’re playing a show the people there are attentive and listening. But in the Athens music scene, the shows and the people who go to shows living in the moment are very active. There’s always a full moon in Athens. That’s why I like it."
Having only been together for a little less than a year, the band has certainly mustered up an admirable individuality. With influences such as Woody Pines and Loretta Lynn, they’ve created classic Americana tunes that could have been played within the swinging doors of a saloon or on your grandfather’s old antique radio. It’s not really a sound one would expect coming from the depths of a city like Columbus, but that’s what makes it that much more charismatic.
Not only is the music itself that of a twangy old-time feel, but Angela Perley’s sweet Southern high-timbre voice also sings about things of an old-fashioned nature.
“I do a lot themes of the moon and death and life, and a lot of country, and trains. I’m just really interested in all that kinds of stuff. I grew up on the outside of Columbus in a town called Hilliard and they had a train track by my house and I’ve always been fascinated by trains and country farm lands. I got pretty close to that and dug deeper into that whole thing,” Perley said. “I’ve always been obsessed with the moon since I was young so they’re always kind of naturally weaved into songs.”
Besides the show at Casa, another thing to look forward to from Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons is the upcoming release of their EP series on 1305 Artists, a label and production agency based in Columbus.
“We’ve been working on it for a while now. I write a lot of songs and it’s hard to pick which ones to use for a first record,” she said. “We recorded about 20 songs and have been breaking them up. As that happens, we keep revising them and we just got a new drummer so things are always changing but it’s a good skeleton to go off of. We’re hoping to have it done in April.”
The premiere of this process is due before the band’s first out-of-state tour, when its members will be heading down South to an area destined to welcome their country ambiance with open ears and hearts. The idea of leaving the state of Ohio and venturing into the unknown of the southern states is exciting for the band, and rightly so.
“I can imagine it will be interesting, especially being the only girl with all guys in a van,” Perley said, laughing. “It's definitely work and tiring, but it’ll be fun. It’s kind of romantic in a way to get to travel and you’re kinda on a vacation to see different venues.”
Before Angela Perley is squeezed into a van with smelly boys for a week, she’ll be taking the stage at Casa with her good friends Duke Junior and the Smokey Boots Thursday night. So throw on those dancin’ boots and kick up those heels for a lively night of some good ol’ Athens country twang.
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