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Dirt Road Angels reaching for the stars

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 06:00 am

FIVE ANGELS – Dirt Road Angels are five women whose songs range from empowering stories to outright feminism.
FIVE ANGELS – Dirt Road Angels are five women whose songs range from empowering stories to outright feminism.
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Dirt Road Angels
Saturday, April 19 at 9:30 p.m.
LB’s Pub and Grill
23 Akins Dr.
Cover: $10 at door

They are the real women of country music, an awesome girl group called Dirt Road Angels.

They love getting their shine on whether it’s a barefoot blue jeans night or sophisticated stiletto gig and they’re performing at LB’s Pub on Saturday, April 19.

These five Alberta sweethearts are Shawna Lynne, Danita Lynn, Shila Marie, Dahlia Wakefield and Karen Claypool.

Just their moniker – Dirt Road Angels – speaks volumes about who they are.

“It symbolizes our roots. Most of us grew up in farming communities. We’re dirt road angels reaching for the stars,” notes Wakefield.

At a time when we’ve seen lots of stereotypical long-legged gals hop on the back of a truck with a cold beer, Dirt Road Angels is different. This twangy fivesome has taken the reins of country and is steering things in a new direction.

Together they produced a self-titled 15-song compilation CD that was showcased at the Canadian Country Music Awards in September 2013. The tunes on the CD feature each as a solo artist within a three-song set. It was an instant hit and topped out their sales.

“It was a great way to introduce ourselves as a band as well as solo artists,” Wakefield says.

More than friends, the fivesome are kindred spirits.

“We have a mutual respect and admiration for each other. We all have a role in the group and everyone does their part,” explains Wakefield.

“If necessary, there’s a willingness to kick each other in the butt, but we still maintain respect for each other. That’s where women are strong and we can have a grand old time.”

Country music is all about storytelling and these artists aren’t afraid to tell their stories. Many of the songs are empowering. Often they are complex stories about being a woman with all the joys, heartbreaks and inspired nuances.

Sometimes the songs are downright feminist. At a time in music history when songs objectify women as sexual objects, Dirt Road Angels’ music teaches women what it means to be a woman.

One of the band’s strengths are the balanced harmonies sung in different registers.

Proud of her three-and-a-half octave range, Wakefield is equally delighted to talk about her bandmates’ accomplishments.

“Shawna has a sweet, soft classic country sound, but she can do country growls with the best. In her single Kick Down the Door, she growls like a mamma bear.”

“Danita has a beautiful, deep rich velvety voice. She knows her craft and blends really well in any song. But she also likes to rock out. She’s the rocker of the group.”

“Shyla has the sweet, little innocent voice. She’s an excellent harmonizer and she has a very good range and can go super low to super high.”

“Karen likes to belt everything out. She has a lot of power, but sometimes has to pull back in sweet mixed tones. She’s starting to come into her own.”

Lately Dirt Road Angels has focused on writing as a group and there are plans for a five-track country rock EP release this year under producer Rob Hewes.

This is one badass group paving the way for the next generation of female country singers.

“I haven’t seen another five-piece female band perform. Usually you see bands in threes. Our harmonies are great. We love to put on a good show, and we want it to be a show that is remembered.”


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