These long-tressed Long Island folk-rock ladies call their touring vehicle Vanna White. It’s a van, see, and it’s white. So: Vanna White. This is indicative of where Antigone Rising are at lyrically on From the Ground Up, the quintet’s sold-at-Starbucks acoustic disc. In “Hello,” which opens Ground (when coffee is brewed, the beans become what are known as grounds), frontwoman Cassidy sings, “Hello, it’s good to see you, my friends”; in “Open Hearts and Doors,” she wants to “trade the sadness on your face with me there in its place.”
The grain in Cassidy’s full-bodied voice signifies self-conscious Janis Joplin pith: You picture her there at Vanna’s battered wheel, midnight oil nearly spent, determined to make it to Kalamazoo; sleep has overtaken her bandmates, and she keeps half-dialing the old flame whose poisoned embrace has only been made more tantalizing by the road. So she plays “You’re the Reason,” which sounds like Heart if they’d only recorded songs for the Singles soundtrack, and hears herself sing, “You lift me up when I have fallen,” and doesn’t consider her ex, or the road, or the 647 humans who wrote that line before she did. She only thinks of Vanna, and her overdue oil change.