Angela Josephine‘s “River Rising” is a mystical, mesmerizing folk tune. It’s not a folk-pop tune; this is an earthy, organic song that seems drawn out of the titular body of water or the depths of a forest. Josephine relies much more on mood, atmosphere, and impeccable arrangements than huge melodies–the result is a carefully constructed tune that is hard to stop listening to.
Mandolin is the base of this tune, but subterranean cello, loping bass, subtle percussion, and occasional dramatic violin create the sonic landscape. Josephine’s voice is the last layer on top, a low, confident voice bearing religious imagery and effortless gravitas. The tune re-tells the Biblical narrative of Rahab, a prostitute who ended up in the lineage of Christ due to her actions saving Israelite spies. (It’s really quite a wild tale.)
The coda speeds up the walking-speed tune a bit, increasing the urgency of the piece. But overall, this is a song that moves at its own measured pace, creating the vibes it wants to create and not being hurried or harried by other genre expectations. It’s an unusually compelling tune.