For the spiritual minded listener, a key verse from Scripture may come to mind while listening to “Singing for Angels,” popular Americana husband and wife duo Annalyse and Ryan’s tender, lilting and lyrical waltz-like tribute to country/folk legend John Prine, who was one of the earliest of the famous among us to succumb to COVID-19 in April 2020.
With poetic simplicity in the verses and their trademark gorgeous harmonies in the chorus, they capture the spirit of Isaiah 61:3: “bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes/the oil of joy instead of mourning.” Their lovely equivalent – a resounding, hopeful lyric that will no doubt help many of us heal as we emerge into our new reality – is “There’s no room for sorrow in the memory of friends.” Thematically, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the song is that while the singers penned and sing it as a personal tribute to their musical hero, and include a line that slyly references Prine’s wisdom and metaphor filled “That’s the Way The World Goes ‘Round” from his 1978 album Bruised Orange, the song feels divinely inspired and thus impactfully universal.
Anyone who has lost a loved one to Covid or anything else, and believes in the endurance of the soul, will surely connect with the words Annalyse and Ryan repeat like a soothing, soul caressing mantra: “So pull up a chair, pour us a drink, you can tell stories till the end of the day/’Cause there ain’t no time or places to be when you’re singing with angels…” They follow each iteration of the chorus with angelic “la la”s that magnificently showcase their harmonic chemistry and sensitivity.
In less than three minutes, vibing with the passionate underscoring of five time Grammy winner Cindy Cashdollar’s soulful and melancholy steel guitarisma, they create an elegy for the ages, the Americana equivalent of The Righteous Brothers’ 70's classic “Rock & Roll Heaven.”
Listen to "Singing with Angels" here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4oiBJgLuwvUn5KDyXheqPK