Angela Perley is a night owl, “4:30 is when my body’s natural sleep cycle begins … My creative time begins as soon as the sun goes down. I don’t know what it is… but there’s something special about it. It’s dark outside, and it’s quiet.” Naming her first solo album 4:30, one might think the album is a quiet, soothing affair, yet the Columbus, Ohio native can rock out with the best of them.
She nods to her heroes, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but makes the rockin’ numbers her own through a combination of guts, guitars, and her glistening voice. Knowing when to rock and when to hold back, she’s learned the lessons of her elders, but imbues them with her own sense of style.
The mournful slide guitar of ‘He Rides High’ tells one story, while ‘Don’t Look Back Mary’ charts a different path, string driven and replete with lyrical details, “She’s got her mother’s eyes, sweet alibis.” Best of all, Angela knows how to deliver a hook. A self-taught guitarist, she also knows her way around a lyric like on ‘Local Heroes’ where she sets a scene filled with sadness, “Nothing’s ever as you want it, love it comes and dissipates.”
She sends a nod to Dylan on ‘4:30’, “I bet some cats are runnin’ down 4th Street, tangled up in the blue.” ‘Lost and Found’ has the kind of organ fills Al Kooper was famous for delivering. It’s no surprise considering that during her days at Ohio University she would her nights researching old folk songs, using the Library of Congress website to listen to old classics. Yet, in every case while the music may nod to generations that come before, the delivery is pure Perley circa 2019.
Angela Perley knows how to rock, yet she also knows when to hold back. She has learned from the masters taking their lessons to heart, but nothing about 4:30 is formulaic. Ten years on from her initial recordings she is her own woman. 4:30 is the work of a mature artist who deserves to be heard.