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The Murder Ballads of Angela Perley

Anne Evans Anne Evans
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Don’t be fooled by Angela Perley’s youthfulness and honeyed disposition; she and her country-fried indie rock mean business. A native of Hilliard, she began her musical career while attending Ohio University. She played in Athens folk-rock bands Vintage Green and Scarlet and the Yellow Moons before moving back earlier this year to dive into the Columbus music scene.

With an all-star band featuring guitarist Chris Connor (The Muzzleloaders, John Mullins Band); keyboardist Nate Hollman (The Muzzleloaders, John Mullins Band, Screamin’ Peach); bassist Billy Zehnal (Playhouse, The World-Famous Weedeaters); and drummer Jesse Cooper (The Receiver), Angela feels immensely grateful to play with such skilled musicians. “The guys in my band understand what I’m doing and really connect to it,” she said. “They’re so talented that when I play a song they immediately know what to do.”

Angela wears vintage hoedown dresses and speaks lovingly about her custom-made Dobro. After staring at it for months in the window of an Athens music store she traded two guitars for it. “I just fell in love with it,” she said. “It’s my little piece of Athens.” Her music is deeply influenced by Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, but her lyrics are inspired by the phases of the moon, the change of seasons — and cold-blooded murder. Last month she won a songwriting contest in Marietta for her murder ballad “In Bisbee” about an Arizona cowboy who fancies the mayor’s wife and winds up in a shootout.

After writing nearly 80 songs in the past year, Angela has worked intently on honing her old timey sound. She likes recording at home all in one take, sometimes on her porch to get birds in the background or in her bathroom for extra reverb. For years she packaged her homemade recordings in decorated brown paper bags and handed them out for free. She’s currently recording her first full-length album with Vital Music Records in Grandview and hopes to release it by Thanksgiving. She frequently pops into open-mic nights at The Thirsty Ear and The Treehouse. “They’re a great way to experiment with new material,” she said. “I feel like I have a lot more work to do and want to keep moving forward.”

Angela Perley will perform on August 16 at The Goodale Park Music Series, on August 21 at Rumba Café with The Lewis Brothers, and on September 18 at Rumba Café for the Columbus Girls Singer-Songwriter Showcase.

Visit angelaperley.com and myspace.com/angelaperley for more information.

Alexandra Kelley writes about music for Columbus Underground and can be reached at alexandra477.com.

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