There was never any question as to what kind of songs Angelina Lemucchi would end up writing. As a child, the 33-year-old singer remembers, “I’d sit in the back of my grandparents’ house listening to Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn.” Growing up with a pastor as a father during a strict religious upbringing, she wasn’t allowed to buy CDs other than gospel or Christian music until she was 17. But she’d always find a way to sneak in some country western crooning, which she says still makes her feel “warm and at home.” Tugging at her ears from an early age, it’s easy to see why that same kind of country storytelling and twanging swagger would make their way onto the debut, self-titled album from Lemucchi’s latest band, Hurricane Roses. Sometimes gently ambling with brooding ballads and other times romping with unmitigated rock swiftness, the six-piece transforms Lemucchi’s cache of personal lyrics—deeply cathartic in nature—into rumbling toe-tappers. This week at Moe’s Alley, on Saturday, Feb. 5, Lemucchi and Co. will celebrate the release of an eight-track CD that she describes is infused with the themes of “discovery, loss and change.”
The song “Good Girl,” Lemucchi explains, sums up the record’s reflection of her adult attempt to break out of a stifling lifestyle imposed upon her by her parents. Still, while she admits that she pens tunes “laced with a lot of darkness,” the frontwoman wants the proverbial show to go on. “I try not to be too Elliott Smith,” she begins, “and though there’s a little bit of sadness in my vocals, there’s also hope.” With Ethan Sanchez (bass), Jon Havens (acoustic guitar, backup vocals), Dave Cohen (electric guitar, vocals), Mike Arnoldi (electric guitar) and Jesse Sotelo (drums) at her side invigorating her songs with upbeat instrumentals, Lemucchi has morphed her private journal into country songwriting. It’s no easy thing, but it’s proved rewarding. “It’s a little scary,” Lemucchi says of opening up the pages of her life, “but when random people tell you ‘Thank you for writing that,’ it’s a good taste of why it’s good to be vulnerable.” | linda koffman
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10. 479-1854.