Arriving in good time we were treated to a short set by support act Sean McConnell. He has a fine voice and the songs reminded me very much of Ryan Adams, not vocally necessarily but in song structure and sound. Will be definitely checking out some of his stuff.
Resplendent in a red twenties flapper dress befitting the quirky venue and after a false start with a faulty PA we are soon treated to seventy minutes of the finest country music you will hear. Great songs about life, mothers, children, men, loss and dogs delivered in the classic female country voice.
With four albums now under her belt the setlist pulls from the last three. There is a natural leaning to her excellent album from last year ‘Sparrow’ and Ashley’s voice is not more beautiful than on the title track ‘Orphans’ (well it has the word sparrow in it).
Accompanied by just an acoustic guitar and grand piano, with the sound in the venue crystal clear I defy anyone to reproduce this on even the most expensive hifi. Its hair tingling stuff. Her voice moves effortlessly from delicate and fragile through to one of immense power and like one of her songs, mighty like a rose.
On a night of highlights ‘Blade’ is stunning as is ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ and the floor stomping ‘Weed instead of roses’ brings a smile to everyone’s face. Time for a fine version of the Parson’s classic ‘Hickory Wind’ before we are sent out into the West London wind.
This was the first of two sold out shows in Bush Hall for this Nashvillian and I’m sure she will be playing bigger rooms next time she is over here for which I can’t wait. Hey Ashley, if you’re reading this maybe play me a show in your backyard when I’m there in March.
Till next time keep on country rockin’ y’all.