Interview: Farewell Angelina Are Equal Collaborators Through and Through
Don't expect Farewell Angelina's members to label themselves into one specific role within the group. From writing songs to playing and singing on each track to answering questions in an interview, the quartet is a collaborative effort that's split quite equally; that's apparent while listening to the group's five-track self-titled EP, and members Elizabeth Elkins, Lisa Torres, Nicole Witt and Andrea Young will tell you the same thing when you talk to them.
"We each have our strengths, and so we definitely foster that in each other and encourage people to shine when it's their strength. But there's no stifling," Torres tells The Boot as her fellow band members voice their agreement. "I feel like, with this band, we wanted four women who could all sing, who could all play, who could all perform, and do all of those thing well, and we didn't want to hold back in that regard."
Collectively, Elkins, Torres, Witt and Young have landed songs with George Strait, Lee Brice, Billy Currington and more, and they’ve lent their voices to tunes by Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins, Josh Thompson, Jana Kramer, Frankie Ballard and Jerrod Niemann, not to mention their work as solo artists and with other groups. These days, now that they're signed to Keith Stegall's Dreamlined Entertainment, Farewell Angelina "definitely takes up the most time," according to Torres, but as Elkins explains, "Everybody has [other] things that they do, and this is just something that we're all proud of and glad to be a part of."
After sharing "Hillbilly 401K" and "Shotgun Summer," Farewell Angelina released their Farewell Angelina EP on July 15. The project was produced by Stegall and Jen Ketner, and the women of Farewell Angelina not only wrote or co-wrote all five songs, they also selected the project's final five tracks and helped pick the other musicians who played on the record (usually jobs left to the producer).
"[Ketner has] a very meticulous ear, and she hears things in vocals that sometimes we don't even hear; she knows what she's looking for," notes Young. Of Stegall and the freedom he allowed them, she adds, "[W]hen someone with such a worldly, widespread resume is really willing to let you come in the door and collaborate ... all I can say is, it's great."
Listeners will get a Dixie Chicks-like vibe from Farewell Angelina -- not a tough comparison to draw, given that both are groups made up of strong, talented women -- most especially on "If It Ain't With You," their EP's second track. Witt says the quartet put "a lot of passion and emotion" into the tune, "and I think you can hear that in the recording."
"American Fathers," Farewell Angelina's fourth track, is particularly special to the group: All four women are first children and close to their dads. Elkins' father is a retired colonel, Torres' dad builds oil refineries, Witt's father worked for a trucking company, and Young's dad was a football player, boxer and construction worker -- "very American dads [with] very American jobs," Witt points out.
Farewell Angelina are now spending time on the road, both playing shows and on their radio tour, and while they haven't started officially thinking about their next album, they're always writing, and have begun adding some new material into their setlists.
"It's just important for us, I think as artists, to try to break new ground," Young says.
Adds Torres, "[It's also] important for us to keep creating. We never want to feel like we're stagnant."