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Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons

Hey Kid – 2014 (Vital Music)

Reviewed by Dustin Blumhagen

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CDs by Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons

For most, Angela Perley will be an unfamiliar name. Part of the reason for this is because she is adamantly refusing to adopt the pop sound that seems to be the go-to sound of Nashville's female acts. Instead, she has made a conscious choice to remain an artist who plays by her own rules. On her latest release (the first full length after four EPs), "Hey Kid," Angela Perley and her band, The Howlin' Moons, play country music influenced by fiery rock and roll.

Those whose entire listening habits come from mainstream country radio may find comparisons to Miranda Lambert appropriate. But "Hey Kid" is much deeper than that. There are hints of garage rock that are reminiscent of Shovels & Rope, rockabilly ragers in the vein of Wanda Jackson and haunted harmonies like the lovely Lindi Ortega. When it comes right down to it, Angela Perley is very much her own artist.

The album kicks off with the whispered vocals of "Athens," which builds into a guitar heavy song about leaving. The bouncing blues rock of "Hurricane" brings to mind The Black Keys, designed perfectly for crowd clap alongs and stomping boots.

When the Ohio native allows her beautiful twang to take center stage, she truly shines. The music weaves itself throughout a variety of sub genres on the outer limits of roots music, but her haunting voice deftly weaves everything together, preventing "Hey Kid" from becoming a schizophrenic mess. The group moves comfortably from a sultry sway ("Howlin' at the Moon") to southern rock ("Milk in the Fridge"), keeping the album interesting and the listener eager to hear what comes next.

This is a great introduction to Angela Perley and the Howlin' Moons. It is a fun listen, which is refreshing when female artists on mainstream country radio seem less interesting every day.