Looking Out on the World

Angela Easterling builds on the success of last year’s Witness

South Carolina’s Angela Easterling writes songs based on her day-to-day life.
Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Based in Upstate South Carolina, Angela Easterling began her recording career with the aptly titled 2007 album Earning Her Wings. Her fifth album, 2015’s Common Law Wife, soared to the top spot on the Roots Music Report’s Americana/country album chart. Easterling has earned high-profile spots onstage at the Americana Festival in Nashville and at the CMA Music Festival; she has toured extensively across the South and Mid Atlantic U.S., with dates as far away as Southern California.

As a songwriter, she has earned recognition as a three-time finalist in the Kerrville New Folk competitions (2009, 2010, and 2015) and the Wildflower Performing Songwriter competition (2012 and 2015). Her most recent album is 2022’s Witness; like many of her projects, that record benefits from successful creative collaboration with guitarist Brandon Turner, who also happens to be her life partner. American Songwriter Magazine listed Witness among its top 24 albums for 2022.

Even though her recording career has yet to reach the 20-year mark, Easterling has been immersed in music since childhood. “I was really creative as a kid,” she says. “I used to make up songs about my life: was always walking around singing.” A born performer, Easterling got involved with community theater when she was 11 years old. But that was just part of her creative involvement. “I played in the school band, I sang in the choir, and I went to the Fine Arts Center, a special high school in Greenville [South Carolina],” she says.

But it was in her college years when things began to coalesce for Easterling. “I always loved reading and books,” she explains. Seeking to combine all of her passions, she took up guitar. “When I got my first guitar, I had written a song within a week, [but] I was still trying to figure out how to play it,” she admits with a laugh. “But all of that came together: a love of being creative, a love of writing, of literature, of storytelling and performing.” Today, she says she can’t even imagine any other kind of life.

With a family to raise, these days Easterling and Turner have scaled back their extensive touring schedule. “We’re mostly regional artists now,” she says. “We see a lot of familiar faces at many of our shows, and that’s a good thing.” She’s grateful for the life she leads. “We have the opportunity to be working musicians and be home with our kids,” she says.

Easterling’s life offstage informs the songs she writes. She says that her latest album Witness is about “looking out on the world around me and also drawing from my day-to-day life. I’m a mom of three little ones.” She and Turner live on a farm that has been in her family for many generations. “That inspires me as well,” she says. Her lyrics are both personal and relatable. “I always want to write something so that someone else can appreciate and understand or empathize,” she says. “That’s where the storytelling comes in: you can get the idea across without preaching. Because as an artist, that’s what I really want most of all: that connection.”

Angela Easterling plays Oskar Blues Brewery (342 Mountain Industrial Dr., Brevard) on Sunday, March 3, 2pm. For more info, see angelaeasterling.com and oskarblues.com.

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