Loft 266, Worcester, MA
August 24, 2016
As I’ve mentioned before, I often strike up conversations with people about local music. And during several of those conversations, with both fans and people within the music scene here in Massachusetts, I have been asked “Have (I) seen Ashley Jordan?” So, with a nod to the “where there’s smoke there must be fire” school of music journalism, I finally made a point to catch Ashley last night during her Wednesdays-in-August residency at Loft 266. And though I was only able to stay for her first set, I can confirm that there is, indeed, fire.
At just 23, Ashley has been performing for 10 years and is a recording studio veteran, as well, with four albums in the past six years. A quick glance at her bio shows a long list of awards dating back six years; she particularly seems to have swept most of the local country music award categories the last four years. If one of the next batch of young country stars comes from Massachusetts, it’s a good bet Ashley’s your gal.
Performing an acoustic set of mostly originals last night, Ashley showcased her broad range. When she sings quietly, I hear a bit of Clare Bowen in her voice – that’s “Scarlett” to fans of the TV show Nashville. Some of her mid-tempo, high-but-spunky/powerful bits recall Dolly Parton; when you hear it, you’ll know what I mean. And I’m not sure which blend of young pop-rockin’ country stars she reminds me of when she sings with strength, but her mellow-to-power vocal runs suggest she could be one of the special ones.
A couple of the originals that made an impact – there were more than two, but these were the only ones whose titles I jotted down – were “Angels,” which shows shows vocal range, and “He’s Crazy,” which features a range of vocal dynamics. (Both songs are featured on Ashley’s new album, He’s Crazy.)
A notable cover was Ashley’s rendition of “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree,” as it shows off a richer, soulful low end and some energetic howls that hint at the full extent of her vocal talents.
The one thing I was left wanting at the end of set was a chance to hear Ashley perform with a full band. An acoustic set is fine, but I can just imagine the songs with their full arrangements…
Tonight, Thursday, August 25th you can catch Ashley at the Hard Rock Cafe at Foxwoods (Mashantucket, CT). I’m sure that’ll be a heck of a show. And next Wednesday, August 31st, she finishes her August residency at Loft 266 in Worcester, MA. She also currently has two September gigs scheduled, both at Perfect Game in Worcester, MA – Friday, September 2nd and Friday, September 16th. You can keep abreast of Ashley’s live performance schedule via the “Tour” page on her website.