It might be her winsome vocals, high and clear, that first draw you to Angela Autumn’s music. Her voice levitates above the music, dancing to the melody with feet barely hitting the ground. It might be the charm of the bluegrass-folk music that is threaded through her songs. It might be the lyrics, with a depth and breadth that can be breathtaking at times, with turns of phrase that will make listeners sit up and take notice. Whatever brings a listener into Autumn’s music, it’s all of these things that keep them listening. Her new album, “Frontiers Woman” (out now), mines the emotional roller coaster of life and tells stories from an empowered female perspective. Accompanied by an often-droning guitar, a homespun sensibility is the center of Autumn’s lyrical craft; her music freely wanders the backroads of American music.
Vents Magazine sat down with Angela to talk about “Frontiers Woman,” how musical cross-pollination is a hallmark of her tunes, and how she hopes her new album is a gateway to traditional music for listeners.
Vents: Your new album, “Frontiers Woman,” is really special and caught my attention right away. Can you talk to us more about this collection of songs? How did you come to put this album together?
Angela: Thank you! The collection of songs feels very timeless for me. Travelling, feeling lost, finding love, and grief informed all of the writing for this record. The title “Frontiers Woman” means someone who is forging her own path. The album began in East Nashville with some bluegrass musicians I had met, and the first three songs of the record were recorded then. Later, we tracked the last four tracks, which have a definitive rock/indie vibe. Finally, Tommy Carnes (mixing engineer/co-producer) helped unify these sounds.
Vents: We absolutely fell in love with the song “Sowin’ Seeds” — it’s so catchy and a great listen. What was the inspiration behind it? What prompted you to write it?
Angela: I am constantly writing, so I had this line in my head: “Wake me up and drown me, all in your smile.” It’s about total infatuation with a person, which morphs into a more mature perspective. Realizing that we all need to work on our own “building,” and sometimes relationships just don’t work out the way we plan.
Vents: Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Angela: I have so many ideas. Looking for a videographer who can help me create the vision.
Vents: How was the recording and writing process for that song?
Angela: I had the song for a couple of years, and brought it to Kate Haldrup’s studio. We laid down the vocals and my guitar, and then mandolin, electric guitar, and banjo. The most exciting part was deciding to add drums to the song. I am so happy with how they add to the vibe.
Vents: Your lyrics are top-notch, and you are a real wordsmith. Do you have a favorite lyric line or two in this song? What about those words really works for you or speaks to you?
Angela: My favorite line of “Sowin’ Seeds” is: “Carrying a picture of my mama, all in her prime, sitting with my daddy they were dining on a dime.” I really enjoy imagining the life that my parents lived, and giving that a second life in my songs. Also, I love to carry photos of my mom and just look at how beautiful she was back then (and still is).
Vents: What do you hope listeners get from hearing the song?
Angela: First, I hope that they become interested in me as an artist and storyteller. Conversely, if they aren’t already into bluegrass music, I hope this song can be a gateway to traditional music for them.
Vents: Your sound mixes up country, bluegrass, folk, and tops it off with a modern sensibility, so the music sounds classic and fairly traditional but also really fresh at the same time. Some of it’s really rollicking, some of it’s really dreamy and bittersweet or even melancholy. How did you settle upon the “Angela Autumn” sound? And how would you describe your sound, using one sentence?
Angela: Appalachian-infused cowgirl folk. I am a big cross-pollinator when it comes to my style. Each song has its own vibe, which is one of many multi-faceted emotions that I’ve experienced which make their way into my work.
Vents: When you are able to head back out on the road, what song are you most looking forward to playing live and why?
Angela: I’m most excited to play “Old Time Lovers,” especially with a fiddle player.
Vents: Who are your biggest musical influences? Why do you love them? What are your three favorite albums of all time?
Angela: I love Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings so much, for obvious reasons. Even within the confines of the traditionally-skewed music they play, they are immensely creative. I often forget how much they have influenced me in every single way. Favorite albums? “Crosby, Stills, & Nash,” by CSN, “Honest Life” by Courtney Marie Andrews, and “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake.
Vents: What else is happening next in Angela Autumn’s world?
Angela: I have some upcoming shows in Nashville. You can find these show dates on my website: www.angelaautumn.com.
Artist website: https://www.angelaautumn.com/