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Album Review: Dan Ashley “Out There” 

Dan Ashley’s new album Out There is an exciting and bold exploration of life in America. Mixed in with romantic and bright songs, Ashley explores topical issues throughout the album. This deep dive into the realities of our daily life is subtle and well thought out. Out There never feels like its preaching at you, it’s not trying to get you to believe in anything new. It does something more difficult, it inspires.

“Redbud Road” reminds us to look back on our memories fondly, this track is steeped in nostalgia. With lyrics that reference childhood pastimes and “summer haze” you’re immediately transported to some place warmer and brighter. “Redbud Road” evokes the beauty of places we know. A lyric that got me thinking of my own childhood was, “White lies, alibis/Friendships carved in stone.” Nostalgia can be found all over Out There but the song that actually elicits the warm feelings is “Redbud Road.” This track reminded me of the miraculousness of sense memory and how familiar places become pregnant with our histories.

Ashley’s message is clear from his opening track “River City” to closing track “Now and Then”, people have to come together. Union is more important for our future and our daily lives than anything else. Title track “Out There” supplements this message by commenting on how society is more likely to tear you apart than find common ground with you. “Out There” is the most upfront song on the album but its not out of place. It hit’s even deeper because it is balanced between carefree and romantic songs. Ashley’s musical style and artistry elevate these themes even further. Every song feels like a familiar favorite that never gets old. Out There feels like an evocative deep dive into the Americana.

DOWNLOAD LINK: https://songwhip.com/dan-ashley/out-there

Dan Ashley’s willfulness to touch subjects that are often divisive makes Out There a stand out album and work of art. Ashley keeps the personal universal by employing narrative songwriting. This provides listener’s with various scenarios of daily life that are relatable and intimate. Out There honors the joyous nature of music and coming together. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like I could hear how much passion and excitement was had in the process of recording an album. Ashley’s delight is palpable on songs like “Da Na Na Na Na” and “Feel The Heat”. I felt uplifted after I finished Out There and I couldn’t ignore the inherent freedom that exists in each track.

Dan Ashley’s new album Out There is a magical artistic experience. I felt a sudden desire for a spontaneous road trip while simultaneously being teleported back to every Fourth of July bbq I’ve ever been to. Ashley excels at discussing the harsh realities of our world with songs that don’t feel heavy. There’s nothing more exhilarating than discovering an album that seeks to make its listener’s have a good time. If you’ve been down and in need of a pick-me-up or if the Winter is getting the best of you, just listen to Out There, you will be healed.

 

Jennifer Munoz

 

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