Angela Perley makes music for roadtrips across the American heartland. Rooted in cosmic alt-country, roadhouse rock & roll, witchy-woman psychedelia, and amplified Americana, it’s a vintage sound for the modern world, glued together by a singer/songwriter who’s played everything from dive bars to arenas.
With Turn Me Loose, she leans into the rootsy textures that have always underscored her music. Laced with pedal steel, Telecaster twang, and Gibson grit, the album embraces the grey areas between genre and generation, with Perley breathing new life into her 1960s and ’70s influences. Recorded in her native Ohio, Turn Me Loose finds Perley building a dreamy world of her own, writing sharply-detailed songs filled with small towns, big cities, and foggy nights pierced by her car’s high-beams.
“Plug me in, turn me loose,” she sings during the album’s opening track, which unfolds like a mission statement from a road warrior who’s hungry to hit the highway again. Turn Me Loose hits cruising speed with “Star Dreamer,” whose chorus of sha la la la’s nods to the kaleidoscopic swoon of the British Invasion, then reaches a gallop with “Ripple,” a country-western track that trades Perley’s midwestern roots for southern stomp. “Here For You” is a personal pep talk — a love song to oneself, peppered with greasy, Rolling Stones-worthy guitar — while “Praying For Daylight” and “Wreck Me” conjure up images of Texas dancehalls at closing time, when the dust from the floorboards turn slow circles in the stage lights. Together, these songs turn Turn Me Loose into a soundtrack for the road less traveled, with Perley behind the wheel.
Before she shared shows with heavyweights like Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams, Perley launched her career as the frontwoman of Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons. The group debuted with 2014’s Hey Kid — an underground hit not only in America, but also overseas, where the album peaked at Number 6 on the EuroAmericana chart — and returned with 2016’s Homemade Vision, whose lead single “Electric Flame” became an FM radio hit. Perley continued the momentum with 4:30, her debut as a solo artist. Produced by pedal steel guitarist Brandon Bankes, Turn Me Loose marks the continuation of that acclaimed solo career, featuring contributions from her Howlin’ Moons bandmate, Chris Connor, as well as a new band of road-worn roots-rockers.
Praised by No Depression for “laying down an interesting mix of folk, Americana, and ’60s-tinged psychedelic rock that floats seamlessly between Bob Dylan and Procol Harum, sometimes within the same song,” Angela Perley has spent a decade building her audience the old-school way. She’s a tireless traveler chasing down her own horizon, steadily graduating from local gigs in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to national shows alongside bands like Caamp. She’s a modern-day gypsy in platform boots. A tireless songwriter bringing the gap between personal insight and universal sentiment. And with her newest album, she’s at the top of her game, turning the highs and lows of an adulthood logged on the road into an album built for speed.
Turn her loose, indeed.
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