Angel Band | With Roots & Wings

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Country: Americana Country: Bluegrass Moods: Type: Acoustic
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With Roots & Wings

by Angel Band

Three women vocalists alternate lead vocals and unite in soaring harmonies on mostly original country/bluegrass/gospel/folk-oriented material, both exuberant and thoughtful, with an ace acoustic band featuring David Bromberg.
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hey Papa Legba
1:17 album only
2. I'll Sing This Song for You
3:17 album only
3. Place of Grace
4:07 album only
4. Drown in the Fountain of Good
5:17 album only
5. Cold Lonesome Down in Blackbird Creek
4:10 album only
6. Hold Me Angel
2:48 album only
7. Moon Over Montgomery
4:10 album only
8. I'm Coming Home to You
3:30 album only
9. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
3:38 album only
10. Patron Saint of Opportunity
3:21 album only
11. We are Shepherds
4:11 album only
12. Angel of the Morning
3:41 album only
13. Jump Back in the Ditch
3:28 album only


Album Notes
About "With Roots & Wings":
“I love Angel Band’s harmonies, wonderfully strong voices, and beautiful songs!” – Linda Ronstadt

With music rooted in country, bluegrass and gospel, the three women in Angel Band spread their vocal wings and soar on "With Roots & Wings," their first CD for Appleseed after two self-released recordings.

Their flight is breathtaking – founder/leader Nancy Josephson, Jen Schonwald and Kathleen Weber all possess wonderfully individual lead and harmony voices that combine in “boisterous, sad, sweet, goofy, glorious and angelic noise,” as they describe it. Their love of the sound three female voices make together is at the center of the group. The chord rules the day; both elemental and mystical, when all three voices hit “it,” the hair on the back of your neck will rise. The trio’s superb backing quartet (“Chum”), which includes Nancy’s husband, Grammy-nominated virtuoso roots guitarist/multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg, provides equally uplifting accompaniment on a dozen alternately lively and moving original songs (by Josephson and Chum fiddler/guitarist Bobby Tangrea, separately and in collaboration) and a lovely version of Chip Taylor’s country-pop ballad “Angel of the Morning,” previously a hit for both Merilee Rush and Juice Newton. The rich mixture of voices, guitars, fiddle, mandolin, and other instruments was supplemented and produced by legendary Texas pedal steel guitarist Lloyd Maines, who’s previously supervised Dixie Chicks, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Jerry Jeff Walker recordings, among many others; he’s also the father of the Chicks’ Natalie Maines.

The two-year-old Angel Band, formed out of a series of weekly jam sessions in the Brombergs’ adopted hometown of Wilmington, Del., has been performing mostly as the opening act and backing vocalists for Bromberg in the last few years as he’s emerged from a 20-year performing and touring hiatus. Their singing and high-spirited, sassy, brassy onstage presentation have delighted audiences at Merlefest, Bonaroo, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and many other venues, and they astounded Linda Ronstadt when they sang with her on several occasions.

On "With Roots & Wings," after a close-harmony Haitian Vodou (voodoo) incantation to open the door between the earthly and spirit worlds (“Hey Papa Legba”), the Angels stake their claim in Americana territory with the spirited, fiddle-led Cajun two-step “I’ll Sing This Song for You,” Josephson’s first-ever composition, which lists the sacrifices she’d make for her man (“I’d even sell my shoes for you”). Equally boisterous are “I’m Coming Home to You” (“I’m putting on my lipstick in the rearview mirror/Truck drivers honkin’ ’cause I’m taking up two lanes”) and the album’s propulsive closer, “Jump Back in the Ditch,” an infectious chant with Texas singer-songwriter Terri Hendrix guesting on handclaps.

“We Are Shepherds” is a protective hymn with lyrics by Josephson in response to President Bush’s troop “surge” – “I wanted to write a piece that wasn’t a strident kicking and screaming administration bash, but a deeper, more elemental gut-deep cry of commitment about what my ultimate job as a mother is,” she says. Other standouts: “Place of Grace,” sung by Schonwald, about a couple staying together for the sake of their children; “Drown in the Fountain of Good,” a slow gospel blues eerily ornamented with a plaintive chorus of “Let it rain,” Bromberg’s mournful National steel guitar, and Maines’ distorted pedal steel; “Moon Over Montgomery,” a sad portrait of the working class, with echoes of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery”; and “Cold Lonesome Down in Blackbird Creek,” a very blue bluegrass lament sung by Weber.

With the Spring 2008 release of "With Roots & Wings," Angel Band will continue to tour as David’s show openers, but will also play an increasing number of concerts on their own, with David serving as a Chum member as often as his own schedule permits. You must see Angel Band perform live – as splendidly varied and satisfying as this CD is, the on-stage humor, energy and visual appeal of these rowdy modern cowgirls is a divine bonus.

About Angel Band:
It’s less startling to discover that Angel Band founder and leader Nancy Josephson is a student, practitioner, and chronicler of Haitian Vodou (voodoo) if you consider that she’s been involved in two resurrections and a creation in the past few years.

The creation was Angel Band, which coalesced from a series of jam sessions led by Nancy’s husband, the renowned roots musician and vocalist David Bromberg, after the couple had been lured to Wilmington, Del., in 2002 to serve as the town’s “artists-in-residence.” Bromberg had virtually retired from recording and toured only occasionally in the preceding 20+ years, burned out by the tour-record-tour cycle of his solo career in the ’70s; he spent the ’80s and ’90s in Chicago learning how to make violins. When David and Nancy moved to Wilmington, he initiated regular weekly blues and bluegrass jam session nights at the 4W5 Club as a low-key return to making music. While David picked at the club with local musicians, Nancy stayed home to work on her mixed media sculptures until David persuaded her to drop in at on bluegrass night. A family of musicians she met and sang with that night became her first line-up of Angel Band.

Josephson was no musical rookie. Born in New York City, “I don’t ever remember not singing,” she says, and was “thumping” on an acoustic guitar at six. With musical influences ranging from The Monkees and The Supremes to bluegrass and country, she sang her way through school, forming garage bands and girl groups “with anyone who was cool.” She eventually learned to play stand-up bass and helped form the all-girl bluegrass group, the Buffalo Gals, in upstate New York, staying with them from 1972 to 1976. Her next stop was California, to live with Bromberg, whom she’d met in 1970. For the next several years, she performed with a number of well-known bluegrass and “new grass” performers, including Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick (of the Good Ol’ Persons), and even The David Bromberg Big Band. “I had a knack of getting fired from every incarnation of David’s band due to my unique inability to take direction from my partner, who was also my boss,” she confesses.

After David and Nancy moved to Chicago in 1980, David studied violin making while Nancy started singing commercial jingles and, with some of her fellow jingle-singers, formed The Annettes, with Nancy the sole white, Jewish female in the otherwise African-American women’s choir. After a couple of years, during which Nancy also toured with Arlo Guthrie, the choir disbanded and Nancy switched her attention to visual arts and to raising two young children.

Here’s where those resurrections started happening. The Brombergs moved to Wilmington, David opened a violin retail and repair shop, and both “retired” musicians started to play music again. Nancy and early Angel Band configurations recorded two self-released CDs of country/bluegrass-flavored songs written by others, with Chum (Bromberg on guitars, Bobby Tangrea on mandolin and guitar, Bob Taylor on bass, and Jeff Wisor as fiddle; Nate Grower currently tours as the group’s fiddler) settling in as their backing band on 2004’s Beautiful Noise. David casually started cutting solo acoustic blues tracks at the local Grand Opera House venue and studio. Those recordings, produced by Nancy, became "Try Me One More Time" (Appleseed), a hugely praised Grammy finalist for “Best Traditional Folk Recording of 2007.” (Nancy had previously co-produced "Beautiful Noise" with Chum soundman and honorary member Marc Moss; Nancy co-produced three tracks on "With Roots & Wings" with Lloyd Maines, and Moss served as engineer.) So the violin maker and the sculptress returned to their lives in music.

With David’s appetite for touring rewhetted, the current Angel Band line-up, together for the last year and a half, became his opening act and backing singers, with a great new CD and an expanding schedule of upcoming shows on their own:

There’s our Vodou princess, Nancy, who sings high harmonies and lead vocals. She not only authored a recent book, Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti (Schiffer, 2007) but has blossomed as a songwriter, with full or shared writing credits on ten of the songs on "With Roots & Wings." As she modestly told Sing Out! magazine last summer, “Way stupider people than me have written really good songs, so I figured, ‘Why not?’”

Jen Schonwald, who sings low harmonies as well as lead vocals, was raised in a musical family in which her parents and step-father sang traditional folk songs, and she’s been performing since the age of 12. Jen spent six years in the Philadelphia-based Full Frontal Folk group as vocalist and guitarist and also sang on recordings by singer-guitarist Pat Wictor. She co-wrote the spunky “Patron Saint of Opportunity” with Nancy on the new Angel Band CD.

The newest and youngest Angel is Kathleen Weber (middle harmonies, lead vocals), who has performed for more than 20 years in numerous choirs and bands, including the Moravian Women’s Choir and, most recently, as a member of the reggae/rock Los Manatees in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.



to write a review

Jean-Claude D.

Can't stop singing these songs!
This recording is a joy! The only thing better is hearing the songs performed live. Buy the CD! Go to the show! Ah, Angel Band, I would drive all day for you, I'd spend all my pay for you, queue for tickets in the snow, wait for hours before the show, come to gigs with blistered feet, even for a far-off seat...


Angel Band With Roots and Wings
First heard the band at world fest 2008 grass valley,ca. awesome couldn't wait to own my own copy. my daughter is getting married in 2 weeks and we are going to have the D.J. play " I'll sing this song for you"
the angels have brilliant harmony we jump around the house singing your songs.
oohh and it doesn't hurt one bit that david bromberg is a small part of your wonderful effort. thank you for coming to our little town in the foothills of california.

Dolores K Lowe

Angel Band - With Roots and Wings
The only thing better than listening to the Angel Band's recordings is sitting in an accoustically perfect venue and letting envelope you with their rich vocal harmonies in person. Still, when I first played this CD, I got the same goose bumps that I did the first time I heard them in a little theatre over on the east coast of Florida. Angel band is music for the ears, the heart and the soul. This is a must have CD for anyone who enjoys female vocalists of the highest quality.

Ian Robins

with roots and wings
It took a couple of plays, now I can't stop playing the complete cd over and over, I'm certain to recommend it to every one I meet. Words as well written as these are complimented with such pure singing, which the Angel Band supply, Brilliant!!!

Karen Sherman

This CD is absolutely one of my all time favorites. I purchased it the very first time I saw you Angels in Reading, PA a few years ago. In fact, you even signed it for me. I've also seen you at Chaplin's, the Birchmere and most recently at the Big Noise festival in Wilmington. I have been a Bromberg fan for over 30 years and saw him numerous times. I just placed my order for "Bless My Sole" and will anxiously awaiting its arrival. Your vocals and harmonies are incredible. Thank you for forming Angel Band, and I look forward to seeing you perform soon.

John Aceto

with Roots and Wings
As expected...another wonderful recording. I was anticipating exactly what i got! Awesome music and fantastic vocals!

Carol Brockmon

With Roots and Wings
This album is full of strength, grace and warmth. It is musically a delight and touches very deep places. May there be many more albums to come!


Angel Band With roots and Wings
I like it very much. Angel band has their voices like ange. Everything rtouched by Daviud Bromberg is like gold and the cover version of Anbgele of the morning ( ols success by Merrilee Rush and by P.P. Arnold) is really fantastic.
Nancy Josephson ( David Bromberg wife) is a very good entertainer, she write good songs and sing very well indeed. What else we need ? Another David Bromberg album with his wife singing too..
Aldo Pedron from


With Roots and Wings
This CD is wonderful! It is the next best thing to hearing the band in person. There are songs for every mood. It's hard to resist clapping along even when driving!
The CD arrived in perfect condition by the date promised.