The moon howls for Angela Perley


Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons will perform at Willie’s Locally Known on Friday, Nov. 18.

Aayat Ali

The gritty, soulful sounds of Ohio’s Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons makes their way through Lexington at Willie’s Locally Known on Friday, Nov. 18 in support of their sophomore album Homemade Vision.

Perley has been playing music since she was around nine or ten, fiddling around with various instruments.  It wasn’t until she picked up the guitar for the first time that her songwriting abilities came to fruition.

“When I was really young I started playing violin and piano,” Perley said. “In high school is when I first picked up the acoustic guitar and that’s when I started writing songs.”  

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Perley said that she got a lot of her music roots from 60s and 70s rock in college at Ohio University in Athens. After jumping around from a few bands in high school and into college, as well as doing solo performances, she met the people who would become the Howlin’ Moons her senior year of college.

The band now consists of Chris Connor on fuzzy, rigid electric guitar, Billy Zehnal on bass, a cycle of different drummers and Perley on lead vocals, guitar and sometimes musical saw. Grabbing inspiration from classics like Bob Dylan, to more modern musicians such as English alt-rock band Wolf Alice and Kentucky’s own Cage the Elephant, Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons have incorporated and morphed the idea of jangly, transcendental rock.

The band’s 2014 debut album Hey Kid was set in stone before its release. Perley and her bandmates had played the songs live several times before, so they had an idea of what they wanted it to sound like in the studio. Their new album, she said, was more hands on, collaborative and “open-ended.”  

 “The band had more to do with Homemade Vision,” Perley said. “They had more input and we were working more together and making the songs complete. Whereas before, the songs were there and we were playing them live for a while so we knew what we wanted (when we recorded them.)”

A spectrum of the psychedelic, dream rock influence is seen throughout the entire album, with songs such as “Green Eyes” that contains Connor’s warped, echoing and pounding guitar that demands to be heard. The album also holds a calmer side, with ballads like “Easy” that opens with the quiet sounds of crickets chirping and the strumming of a traveling guitar—the song is reminiscent of stargazing on a cool summer night.

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Since forming the band in 2008, Perley has released two albums with the Howlin’ Moons, won an Americana International Songwriting Award for the song “Athens” off the band’s debut album, and managed to make waves in the female musicianship scene. 

“I put a lot of women characters in my songs—I don’t know if it’s conscious—but I do think about that when I’m writing,” Perley said. “There’s a lot of female groups now… It’s still not the majority. I definitely keep that into account and use that a muse and as empowerment in the songs.”


What: Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, The Vatican

When: Friday, Nov. 18 at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Willie’s Locally Known – 286 Southland Dr.

Tickets: $5