Interview with Nancy Josephson from Angel Band

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Nancy Josephson, angel band
Nancy Josephson from Angel Band

Interview by Scott Preston

Angel Band makes big noise. Loud noise. Boisterous, sad, sweet, goofy, glorious and angelic. Any which way you look at it this stuff gets your attention. Whether it’s the crazy tight three part harmony, the killer backup playing, the stories, the passion or the compassion, it gets your attention. The songs on this album are mostly self-penned, weaving vivid images, powerful lyrics, musical integrity and “chops” to write home about. The core of the band is held by the three singers: Nancy Josephson, Jen Schonwald and Kathleen Weber. All are experienced on lead and backup vocals. The love of the sound that three female voices make together is at the center of this group. The chord rules the day. Both mystical and elemental when the three hit “it” the hair on the back of your neck’s gonna stand up. (from angelband.net)

Cincy Groove: How did the three of you end up getting together?

Nancy Josephson: This particular lineup has been together for about a year and a half. Angel Band started about 3 years ago. As things shifted in the lineup, the group got stronger and stronger until finally we have this group. I found Jen through a friend of ours Gene Shay, who is a local folk radio icon who has a show on Folk Alley and has been in Philadelphia for forever. He suggested Jen and she came on board 2 1/2 years ago. Kathleen joined up about 1 1/2 years ago. Kathleen came to our attention when Jen was doing a studio session somewhere and the engineer suggested her. We were auditioning a ton of people and we were feeling really bad. It was almost like Spinal Tap, where the drummer kept exploding, that kind of happened with us trying to find that 3rd singer. Kathleen was the last singer we auditioned.

Cincy Groove: Is the new cd ready?

Nancy Josephson: The new cd has just been released on May 27th. It is really good, it was produced by Lloyd Maines. It was an unbelievable experience working with him. He has produced groups like the Dixie Chicks and is a great musician. He plays pedal steel guitar and mandolin all over our cd. We are all really proud of it.

Cincy Groove: How long did it take to record the new cd?

Nancy Josephson: Well we worked on it in July and August of last year. The actual recording part pf the process took about 10 days. We were really ready to get things going, by the time we got all the tunes picked out we already knew the timing of the tracks. We had everything really, really tight. Of course Lloyd comes in and changes just about everything (laughing). That being said he really tightened up arrangements and made it all sound really good.

Cincy Groove: I know the three ladies in Angel Band do the singing, who else performs with The Angel Band?

Nancy Josephson: We have David (Bromberg) who plays guitar, pedal steel and dobro, Bobby Tangrea plays mandolin, guitar and fiddle, we have a fiddle player named Nate Grower, Bob Taylor plays bass. We also had some extra added attractions, we had this guy Bukka Allen playing accordion , which was the coolest thing ever. We also have this kid Johnny Lippincott sit in from time to time.

Cincy Groove: Did you record the cd right there in Delaware?

Nancy Josephson: We did right up the street at Target Studios. We have been working with this engineer Mark Moss since we started. We really have an amazing group of people working with us.

Cincy Groove: Where did you come up with the name Angel Band?

Nancy Josephson: Angel Band is an old traditional song that has been in the folk world for a very long time. Everybody in the folk world has recorded it.

Cincy Groove: Who do you consider some of your influences?

Nancy Josephson: I think the three of us have a pretty wide array of interests. Everything from early rock and roll and folk to gospel and bluegrass. Jen for instance has a very deep roots in traditional folk and celtic music. I would say Kathleen has more of a gospel and blues orientation. My interests are kind of a combination of Jen and Kathleen’s.

Cincy Groove: Some people I have interviewed have told me that they don’t even visit their own website, but I have noticed that you are fairly active on your websites message board.

Nancy Josephson: I am, I don’t want to do this in a vacuum. I want to be able to connect in an authentic way to people who are listening to our music. They are taking the time to connect with us, and I think its my responsibility to return the favor.

Cincy Groove: What is the name of the new cd?

Nancy Josephson: Its called “With Roots and Wings”. Its a line from on of the songs on the cd. There is this whole thing about what you give your kids, you give them strong roots, but at the same time they need room to grow, you also give me wings.

 

Upcoming Angel Band tour dates:
for complete show details visit www.angelband.net
* – Indicates performance with the David Bromberg Quartet
June 6, 2008 Stone Church New Market, NH
June 7, 2008 Regatta Bar Cambridge, MA
June 11, 2008 Angel Band * Riverbend Festival Chattanooga, TN
June 20, 2008 Brennan Coffee House Jersey City, NJ
June 21, 2008 Angel Band * Southern Shore Music Fest Millville, NJ
June 27, 2008 WXPN Free at Noon Concert Series Philadelphia, PA
July 6, 2008 Little Theater New Haven, CT
July 12, 2008 XPonential Music Fest Camden, NJ
July 18, 2008 Angel Band* Nevada County Fairgrounds Grass Valley, CA
July 28, 2008 Angel Band* Woodsongs Radio Concert Lexington, KY
August 1, 2008 Angel Band* Aladdin Theater Portland, OR
August 2, 2008 Angel Band* Robert Hawkins Amphitheater Reno, NV
August 9, 2008 Angel Band* Villages at Copper Mountain Copper Mountain, CO