Farewell Angelina Having No Troubles Keeping the Party Going With Ashley Gearing
Farewell Angelina's transition between members was seamless because it had to be. The group of four women are studio and stage veterans looking at a busy 2019, so there wasn't time to train a newbie. With Ashley Gearing, they didn't have to.
Honestly, Gearing might be training Farewell Angelina. Talking to Taste of Country, the 2017 RISERS promise that the new live show is familiar, but more spontaneous. "It's like champagne popping, on repeat," Nicole Witt says, describing Gearing's new energy.
"Does that mean I'm annoying?" Gearing, a longtime solo artist with Curb Nashville, shoots back. They all laugh. She and Witt go back the furthest, having written together as early as 2008.
"We never know what Ashley is going to say or do, in a really great way," Lisa Torres says later.
“Our first show," Witt picks up, "two or three songs come out of the audience that we don’t know and she starts playing and we’re like ‘Oh, do you know that song?’ She’s like, 'No.'"
"Next think I know," Torres continues, "I'm singing 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' a cappella."
Consider this micro-conversation an introduction to this talented group of singers, songwriters and instrumentalists. After becoming RISERS through a fan-voted poll, the group spent the summer touring across the country before Torres shared that she was pregnant. 2018 was a year of writing and recording their just-released Women & Wine EP, a seven-song project funded by fans on Kickstarter. They also became regular tour buddies with the Bacon Brothers, a duo that includes actor-turned-musician (or maybe the opposite, as they'll tell you) Kevin Bacon. He wrote "I Feel You," a rhythmic, collaborative love ballad that closes the EP.
Before she left in August, former FA member Lauren Lucas helped write their single "Women & Wine," one of two "all-skates" on a project that asked each individual singer to pick a song and a sound and run with it. So there's "More Problems" (Gearing), "Vintage" (Witt), "Ghosts" (Andrea Young) and "Forever Be My Always," a song Torres says was inspired by her love for husband.
Tight harmonies support four unique lead vocalists, but the songwriting is where Farewell Angelina show the most growth on this new EP. One senses they wrote what was sincere and honest first, instead of what outsiders encouraged or what they felt might work best on the radio. It's all part of this new definition of "making it" that the country music community is slowly coming to accept. Gearing sums it up best when she says it's about no longer measuring yourself against someone else's expectations.
"I think that right now, the answer for us is (we're making it) because we're all happy, we all feel like we have family and friends that we have a healthy life," Gearing says. "We're doing what we love. We're making money doing it and we're also able to go home to people who love us for who we are even if we weren’t doing it."
There's no doubt that a group that comes to interviews packing their own merlot will drink to that.
Listen to Farewell Angelina Perform "Women & Wine":
Watch Farewell Angelina's RISER Performance of "House of the Rising Son" :