The highest caliber of artistry is often intertwined with the deepest sincerity. As is the case with rising star Angel Snow, whose music is the truest and most honest reflection of her life. Her story plays out in self-penned songs, where detail by detail she lets the listener in on her innermost thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes sorrowful, often hopeful, and always looking toward faith, Snow’s music is nothing if not sincere. Combine this honesty with sweeping folk melodies and bluesy guitar riffs, and the result is the captivating landscape of sound found on her new self-titled album.
Fate and faithful perseverance have brought Snow to the present, as she prepares to release her second full-length set. With a major boost from acclaimed star Alison Krauss, Snow’s lifelong dreams are coming to fruition. Krauss and Union Station recorded three songs written by Snow for the deluxe edition of the band’s latest album.
“When I met Alison I knew that something was about to happen in my life,” Snow recalls. “The stars aligned in one afternoon, and I met her at the home of a mutual friend. I gave her a CD and she asked me to come to her house the next day. She made me realize that better things were in store for me. It was more than I could have ever hoped for.
“She felt like her brother Viktor and I would have cool creative chemistry. She was right on, because a week later Vik and I wrote the song ‘Lie Awake’ on our first meeting. And that song ended up on the new Alison Krauss and Union Station record.”
Snow was the lyricist that instrumentalist Viktor Krass had long been searching for—he had written the music for “Lie Awake” more than ten years prior. She recalls, “When I heard Vik play that first riff of ‘Lie Awake’ on the guitar, I had a vision of an old white house in a field in the middle of nowhere. A family lived there and the mother was trying very hard to find a way to escape her abusive husband. And she is always lying awake at night trying to figure out how to leave. It’s an empathy story. I’m moved by stories like that. I know that very lonely feeling when you lie awake at night and you can hear the clock ticking.”
Much like the music of her greatest influences, Snow’s songs veer between imagined stories like this one and real-life experiences, always showing incredible sympathy for the suffering and downtrodden. Among her favorite songwriters are Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, Trent Reznor, and Elliot Smith.
In the two years since meeting Viktor, a renowned musician in his own right, they have written dozens of songs and started work on Snow’s sophomore album. With Viktor Krauss as producer, they recruited stellar session players including drummer Matt Chamberlain.
The album has eight new songs as well as a few updated tracks originally found on her well-received debut, Fortune Tellers.
One of the new Snow/Viktor Krauss co-writes is proving to be an early fan favorite. “‘These Days’ was probably the fourth or fifth song Vik and I wrote together,” explains Snow. “It’s about making decisions based on what your heart tells you, and being true to yourself. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’”
Around the time of the song’s writing, Snow was deeply affected by the passing of her aunt. Her strong family ties are rooted in her childhood in tiny Chickamauga, Ga., where her two older brothers were major influences. Fans may be surprised to find out that Angel Snow is her given name, chosen by her brothers who were five and three at the time. The lofty moniker proved fitting, and she was living up to it at an early age.
Snow started singing in the church choir at age six and was soon stealing the spotlight with solo performances. She wrote her first song at age nine, but it would be several years later before she realized that music was her life’s calling. After earning a college degree in psychology, followed by a stint in acting school, she headed west, where so many others have found inspiration among the soaring mountains and natural wonders.
“I was 22 when I moved out west,” says Snow. “It was the first time I’d ever done anything completely on my own. I made the decision to venture out on a Greyhound bus. I look back on it now and it was tough, but I wanted to see this country that I’d never seen before. Working in the parks in Yellowstone and Yosemite, camping and taking in the land and mountains, it was a defining time in my life. That’s where a lot of the songwriting started, because I played guitar every day. I was always playing music with different people that I met and ‘California’ was written about that.”
“California” and the other songs on her debut Fortune Tellers exemplify Snow’s most heartfelt solo-writing. “Coals and Water” is another much-loved track from that album that has been recorded with new instrumentation for the upcoming release. Snow remembers penning the song while living in Philadelphia. “I was sleeping on a friend’s sofa that was so short that my feet hung off. But I didn’t care—it was freedom to me. I didn’t have anything except my suitcase. I was trying to follow my faith, and it was hard not knowing what the next step was going to be. I was going through the changes that you go through when you realize God is real. A year before, I remember having the feeling that there was nothing else out there.”
Her long voyage of faith has lead her to the present, where opportunity appears limitless. “It’s an amazing feeling,” she says of her success thus far. “It’s indescribable. It’s been a hard road, and a lot of hard work, but it’s all been worth it. It’s been a hell of a journey.”