Band of the Day

2012.10.08

Angel Snow

A Nashville songwriter creates beautifully melancholy Americana
Back to solid ground I'll tell you what I found just tell me that I will find you there. Just tell me I will find you there.
lyrics from As You Are

The highest caliber of artistry is often intertwined with the deepest sincerity. As is the case with rising star Angel Snow, whose music is the truest and most honest reflection of her life. Her story plays out in self-penned songs, where detail by detail she lets the listener in on her innermost thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

Sometimes sorrowful, often hopeful, and always looking toward faith, Snow’s music is nothing if not sincere. Combine this honesty with sweeping folk melodies and bluesy guitar riffs, and the result is the captivating landscape of sound found on her new self-titled album.

Fate and faithful perseverance have brought Snow to the present, as she prepares to release her second full-length set. With a major boost from acclaimed star Alison Krauss, Snow’s lifelong dreams are coming to fruition. Krauss and Union Station recorded three songs written by Snow for the deluxe edition of the band’s latest album.

The first thing most bios and profiles mention about Angel Snow was how she was discovered in Nashville by country titan Alison Krauss, penning a few songs for Krauss' most recent album and teaming up with her brother Viktor to record an album. Sure this is an interesting story, but it overshadows the most important part about Angel Snow … she writes incredible songs. You get the feeling that Krauss or not, the world would be hearing from this woman. Originally from Chickamauga, GA but now based in Nashville, Snow writes powerfully melancholy songs and sings in a voice that is at once timeless and contemporary, well-suited for country music but in no way restricted to that world. Her new self-titled album, co-written with instrumentalist Viktor Krauss, is filled with delicate beauties, songs with sparse arrangements that sound rooted in windswept American ghost towns, but also places further from country territory like Elliott Smith's Portland, OR and Thom Yorke's England.

Some of Snow's best moments sound downright meditative, calm and spiritual. “You Won't Cry” is nothing short of enchanting as Snow sings in a plaintive blues chant over quickly picked, repeating guitar and swatches of pedal steel that wouldn't sound out of place in one of Brian Eno's ambient soundscapes. Album highlight “Lie Awake” incorporates many of those same ethereal, mystical aspects, but does it in a much more traditional pop format. As you might imagine, it absolutely slays. Beginning with a melancholy, loping guitar riff that Viktor Krauss reportedly wrote ten years ago, waiting for the right lyricist, Snow's voice flows in calm and measured, painting the story of an abused wife lying awake at night. When Krauss and Snow burst into the chorus the energy level only rises slightly, but still it crackles with hair raising energy as Snow sings “how do I lie awake now / when I know i've got to be moving on?”

The arrangements throughout the album are clear examples of less is more, with tracks like “Loose Ends” developing into skeletal grooves that elicit head bobbing so subtly that you don't even know you're doing it, but couldn't stop if you did. Or they keep the rhythms almost imperceptible, letting the mystical guitar, vocal and piano melodies swirl a mini storm of sound on tracks like “Windows Open.”

At the end of the day, Snow is one of those rare artists that pulls primarily from one music tradition –country and folk– but keeps her eyes open to all worlds outside, even if it's not immediately obvious, and creates something all her own.