Johnny Ashby will be putting out a new single , with a b side, leading up to his EP release and both tracks should have listeners excited to hear more from Ashby.
“A Life Ahead” is performed by Ashby on acoustic guitar live at Boulevard Recording in Hollywood California. With only Ashby front and center it brings a larger focus to the content of the song which basically is Ashby urging someone, and possibly even his audience, to keep going and pushing forward through life even when it gets tough and dark. “Who said you couldn’t be someone/who said it couldn’t be done?” asks Ashby of someone who is facing a troubling mind and by the time the chorus rolls around and Ashby sings “I want to take you higher/you said you wanna give up/but baby there’s a life ahead” listeners will fully take in and believe his words. It never comes across as preachy as Ashby walks the fine line between an affirmative life song and sounding corny and clichéd with ease. It’s the earnest tone and delivery in Ashby’s vocal performance showing vulnerability in himself, paired with the stripped down instrumentals that really make this track special.
Meanwhile “Flowers in July” which comes out July 6th is reminiscent of something the well known and loved band Travis could have released. It’s smooth and polished and has a haunting quality to it from the melody to the melancholy tone in Ashby’s voice to the beautifully visual lyrics. “I strive to stay alive/When summer starts to die/bring me those flowers from July,” Ashby sings wearing his emotions on his sleeve. It is this vulnerable approach to songwriting that really sets Ashby apart from other current musicians. The instrumentation is gentle, and some light “ooh’s” in the background serve as subtle backdrop to the story that Ashby is telling, playing its part but never taking away from Ashby’s voice or the lyrics. It’s a complete throwback to the early 2000s yet still fits in todays modern music scene and frankly it’s one of the best songs of 2016.
When July 6th comes make sure to pick up a copy of Ashby’s new work, because it is simply fantastic.