Bobby Angel


Gunpowder My Gunpowder
Ode to my home river

To be honest I was miffed:

How could cartographers leave the Gunpowder out?

As penned on the banks of the river

My response was to right this song. Yes, the Susquehanna River is the Chesapeake Bay’s largest tributary, and the Potomac River is bigger too and also drains the Shenandoah Valley. But to look at a map of the drainages of the Chesapeake Bay and to leave the Gunpowder out downright irked me on too many levels to count. But what is a hydrologist to do? And who do I complain to? My philosophy: Never complain and never explain, and rather get down to the business at hand. And specifically, that means telling the story of a pretty special river that sadly people don’t know exists, or sorely misunderstand. The opening line to the song came to me while hiking the river trail just above Jerusalem Mills. I refined the lyrics in the following days in the loft overlooking a brook that feeds the river. But it wasn’t until returning to Florida that I finally put the final touches on the song, and in particularly the last two lines.

Where does this song rank in the Maryland song canon? Behind the Star Spangled Banner and Maryland My Maryland, I’m having trouble coming up with a third. That being the case, I’ll rank it 2nd since Maryland My Maryland is a knock off of Oh Tanenbaum.

Rising to the occassion
And why its easier said than done

When it comes to singing or writing a song …

It’s all about seizing the moment.

That doesn’t mean it ever goes down like planned. It never does. That’s what being an artist is all about. Sure, you have a concept in mind. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work … or at least come together like you thought it might. But let’s also be honest: The only regret is knowing that you decided not to do something instead of going out and doing your best. The truth is that we’re never as prepared as we like, but that’s also where the fun comes in. I have a hunch that fits in somewhere in the Tony Doctrine.

Songs – Deluxe Editions

Stay tuned in to hear the backstory after the song

Full Length Albums

The same LP sound produced as a YouTube playlist

Song Lyrics

Follow along with the lyrics as you listen to the song

Interviews About The Songs

Every song has a backstory

Website Tour

Join singer/songwriter Bobby Angel …

On a self-guided tour of his website.

Bobby Angel tours his website

The major take-home point is this: The website is super easy to navigate. My albums, songs, interview, campfire concerts, demos and more are easy to find. Better yet, you can even buy a Bobby Angel T-Shirt. The thing about Bobby Angel, I’m about as good a webmaster as I am a singer songwriter. Or in other words, I’m learning. What I love about the website? It made me think long and hard about how to structure it and the message I wanted to get across. Most of all I wanted it a tool where Angelheads could both find what they needed (songs, albums, interviews) — better known as “discoverability” — but also get lost. Early on and often, the website helped inform my art. Case in point is that whenever I write a song I follow up within the week with an interview on the song. The other great thing about the website: It gives me a reason to be a finisher. Without a place to put a song, to memorialize it for all time, it’s easy to use that for an excuse of never getting it done. Not for Bobby Angel! Yes, many first drafts never see the light of day. But if I make it to the second draft, the third, seventh, thirteenth, whatever it takes, are close behind, it soon thereafter finding a spot on my website.

I‘ve always said: If nobody else uses my website other than me, it’s a success. But Big Confession, too: Thank God for all you Angelheads out there!

P.S. Don’t forget to visit my store (T-Shirts next day delivery).

Titanic dethroned!
Bobby Angel talks "The Lusitania"

Behind every great song …

Is the after-song interview.

Bobby angel explains why in this in-depth interview.

No song delves deeper into my heart than the Lusitania. Why? Maybe because my grandfather could have easily served in the war. He didn’t. But he was almost of the age that he could have if he were only born a year or two before. To me, the song also challenges the myth of the Titanic. It also begs the question, will Celine Dion and I ever collaborate. All I can say is that it would be a great, maybe the greatest, highlight of my career. Celine – if you’re listening – I already have the campfire venue picked out. Or alternatively, we could meet up in Las Vegas too at one of your shows. I’m good either way.

Pen and Paper

Pen in hand and a blank page is how all songs start

Pre Typewriter
Ode to a simpler time

I remembered when I first learned

To use a typewriter.

Performed to Dylan’s It’s Alright Ma

I was in twelfth grade. Cumbersome at first, and plodding. I didn’t much see the point. And then it clicked — and I was off to the races typing lightspeeds faster than I could write. The irony was in 10th grade, just two years before, my brother typed my American History paper (Topic: Should Eisenhower have crossed the Elbe River Faster?) for me. That makes me laugh because to this day my brother types with two fingers. It’s painful to watch, whereas I mastered using all eight fingers and both thumbs.

Fast forward three decades later I have to remind myself to even pick up a pen. And how quaint even now a typewriter seems in retrospect. Increasingly, I’m too lazy to even thumb out an email, let alone a text with ample impossible to interpret autocorrects — and even resorting to just audio transcribing into my phone to respond to texts and emails. What is the world coming to! Oh, and how the mighty have fallen. If my 18 year old self could see me now, I really wonder what he would say. Instead of reading books and handwriting long letters to distant friends, here I am lost in my thoughts of how things used to be. I’m not saying the typewriter was a slippery slope, but what I am saying is that this song stayed handwritten. It never got typed out or saved into a computer as a Word file.

The topic? My then boss was turning fifty, 2 years younger than I am now. At the time, he seemed so much older, but maybe that’s because everything is relative. What’s that saying: “Better late than never?” Final note: I couldn’t make the big event, but not wanting to be left out or contribute in someway, I wrote this song — and here’s the funny part: I recorded it on a cassette tape. No joke. I wonder if Ron still has that tape now, and if so, and probably the more impossible feat — If he has a tape recorder to play it on?

Last song of 1st album
Draft song sheet for New Pangaea

I remember writing this song.

It came to me in a rush.

Click here to listen to the song

I wrote it, I sang it and I quickly moved on. It was the final song of my first album, twenty years in the making. It also re-inspired my song-writing chops. Every other song on the first album were from the deep archive of farewell songs I’d written over the years. It paved the way for most of my second album – The Green Album – being newly written songs. At the time of this post, I am going through a little bit of a song-writing lull. But after completing three albums of original songs and interviews, maybe I needed a break. Time off is always well spent

Demo versions

Practice makes perfect

Marsha Marsha Marsha

This song has a special place …

In my heart.

I finally worked out the chords in this session

The reason? For one, I think it’s upbeat. And it also tells a good story. Most of all is that is the first farewell song that I performed live at a party. In the run-up to singing the song, it’s also how I got my stage name Bobby Angel. Other details: At the end of the song I discuss a little history behind the song and how after twenty years I managed to remember and reconstruct the way I sang it on that fateful night. I’m not proud. But I did need the practice. But the end of the session I was wide awake and alert. In total I rehearsed about five songs. It’s all about getting your reps in.