Returning with her first full-length album in four years, indie-folk singer-songwriter and musician Angel Snow graces our ears and minds with Low, a moving and cathartic musical journey that focuses a lens on real-life experiences of uncertainty, anxiety and despair before transforming into gentle glimmers of hope and resurfacing on the other side. Angel's emotional, soothing and ethereal vocals beautifully complement her raw, introspective songwriting, instilling an inner calm and mindfulness in the listener as they navigate the ten stunning songs that comprise Low.
Named as "Nashville's next stealth pop weapon" by Music Row magazine, Angel Snow self-released her first two albums, Fortune Teller (2007) and Angel Snow (2012), joined with Nettwerk Music to release Magnetic (2016), and now releases Low through Tone Tree Music. Her songwriting credits include three contributions to Grammy-award winning singer Alison Krauss & Union Station's album, Paper Airplane (2011). After spending 15 years in Nashville, Angel recently moved back to her hometown near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
For Low, Angel worked with producer Charles Jacques for the bulk of the tracks. The remaining songs involved production from Ben Cramer ("Handed In My Halo"), Matthew Heath ("Who Am I"), and Hollow Hum ("Actor" and "Low (acoustic)").
On a grand scale, the elegance of the less-is-more production across Low allows each of its musical gems to brilliantly shine and embed its essence into your mind. Title track "Low" leads off the album with acoustic guitar, drums and claps and a gentle pace. The energy gradually builds, culminating in a powerful electric guitar solo that eventually yields to acoustic guitar, Angel's mesmerizing vocals and the whispery refrain of "we're in the same place again." On social media, Angel comments, "This song was inspired by how easily we can allow something or someone to take us to such a low point of despair that it feels impossible to get back up again. But, somehow we manage to find our way back to standing.. if it doesn't kill us."
The gentle-paced sonic landscape of "Get Me Out" beautifully weaves Angel's moving, echoing vocals into the mesmerizing "Get me out of here" refrain of the song. Angel reveals on her Instagram page that "Get Me Out" was "...inspired by the worldly anxieties that plague us; and the seemingly unreachable desire to get ourselves out."
"Here Comes the Flood" presents Angel's touching, melancholic piano-led take on the classic Peter Gabriel song from his 1977 solo debut album. Beautifully done!
"Handed In My Halo" was produced with Old Sea Brigade's Ben Cramer and is one of the most introspective and personal tracks on Low. The minimal acoustic arrangement allows Angel's honest and emotive vocals to truly shine. On social media, Angel comments, "This song is about learning what is really worth holding onto in this life. On a personal level, it’s about letting go of preconceived ideas of faith - or rather what I was taught about my beliefs growing up. I had experienced something like an existential crisis in my early 20’s and openly rejected my faith.. I sought out other belief systems, new age spirituality, astrology, the occult, etc. all this while discovering a personal relationship with Jesus, and not attaching anything else to that other than the relationship itself (as opposed to some kind of a religious ritual)." Angel adds, "More generally, the song is my interpretation of the human condition and what I feel our truest needs are."
The uplifting "Who Am I" is undoubtedly the most upbeat track on Low. Driven by hand-clapping, foot-tapping percussion and beautiful layers of vocals and harmony that build as the song progresses, "Who Am I" feels like bright and beaming sunshine.
"Unsteady Ground" is a definite highlight of Low. Steady acoustic fingerstyle guitar sets the initial pace of the track. The melodic chorus bursts in with layers of strong, pronounced vocals: "I know I'm hanging onto what I've found. I'm standing on unsteady ground." Angel comments on this track on social media: "Man it’s hard when you're in the midst of those unsettling and anxious times when it feels like there's no end to it all, but there always is eventually, right? And then it's just on to the next thing."
I've highlighted just a few of the songs on Low, but trust me when I say that the entire album is outstanding. To maximize the full listening experience, this is an album I'd recommend taking in sequentially from start to finish.
If you're in the Chattanooga area, Angel will be performing at The Woodshop Listening Room on Friday, August 27, 2021 with Ben Strawn. And for those interested in physical music formats, social media posts indicate that CD's and vinyl versions of Low may be on the way!