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Ashley Davis’s latest album, When the Stars Went Out, is her most challenging and creative yet. The first album Davis composed in partnership with her touring band, it blends the skill and influences of renowned multi-instrumentalists Dave Curley, Colin Farrell, Will MacMorran, and Duncan Wickel. Ashley’s long-time producer Gawain Mathews led production with the band. Stylistically, the co-written album leans more towards the country music tradition of Davis’s childhood than any of her precious releases: “If you’re from a roots background,” Davis explains, “you start to crave that space, the quiet and the purity of it.”
The Ashley Davis Band also embraced the added challenge of recording virtually, under lockdown, which became an experiment in modern songwriting. With each track recorded from the artists’ homes, there was a natural volleying of creativity as the songs were built piecemeal from distant places. As the album grew, so did its virtual network: Davis and band are joined on tracks by Irish and American artists Heidi Talbot, Tim O’Brien, Tony Furtado, John Doyle, Mick McAuley, Shane Hennessy, and Grammy-award winner Shawn Colvin.
While the album’s roots style documents an expanding American folk music tradition, the details in individual lyrics carve out a personal space of emotive expression. In each stunning melody, Davis’s extraordinary lyricism unfolds, such as this line from “Here By My Side”: “The shifting of the sands now that scare you / are the tides bringing you home.”
When the Stars Went Out is an album of diverse personalities, linked cohesively by Davis’s poetic, powerful vocals. It is also a living, singing archive of the pandemic, of sharing creativity together while exploring those tender, pensive moments of isolation.
Ashley Davis is an American singer-songwriter that sings and writes in the Roots and Celtic music world. For this album she has teamed up with her band and many special guests. See Ashley's website for more on her background.