Raised between two potato fields on Prince Edward Island, Ashley Condon is the grandchild of Bill Leblanc, a Canadian country pioneer who once spent the night in jail with Hank Snow. Like pecan pie – sweet and nutty – Ashley has won audiences over with her larger-than-life stage presence and down-to-earth charm. Growing up on everything from old-time country to folk, blues and southern rock, her music resonates. Her folk-country sound has been likened to artists Anne Murray and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The success of her 2007 EP I've Got This Feeling garnered the attention of Ontario native and ECMA-nominated producer and musician Joel Hunt (Teresa Ennis, Old Man Leudecke). The two joined creative forces for Ashley's debut, full-length album Come In From The Cold, released on June 15, 2010. The record features award-winning instrumentalist Dale Murray (Cuff The Duke) on pedal steel and electric guitar and Jeff Bird (Cowboy Junkies) on mandolin, bass and harmonica. Since its release in 2010, Come In From The Cold has been nominated for a 2011 Canadian Folk Music Award, a 2011 East Coast Music Award and has earned the rising star two 2012 Music PEI Awards for “New Artist Of The Year” and the “Lynn Grishko Memorial Bursary”.
With over fifteen years of stage experience, and a degree in Theatre Studies from the joint Theatre Studies program at U of T and Sheridan College, she has honed her natural ability to take a piece of music and bring it alive. Her songs and humorous stories make for a live show that appeals to all. It’s not uncommon for her to have a whole room full of people singing and laughing along with her performance; a testament to her strength as both a songwriter and entertainer.
Ashley recently returned home to her PEI roots after almost a decade away. She has shared stages with folk icons Lennie Gallant, Tannis Slimmon, David Francey, Dave Bidini, James Gordon, Jude Vadala (The Bird Sisters), Katherine Wheatley, Del Barber, Rose Cousins, Meaghan Blanchard, John Connolly, Chas Guay, Kim Wempe, Charlie A'Court, Ryan MacGrath, Ria Mae, Ian Sherwood, Old Man Leudecke, and Kev Corbett. This past summer, Ashley played over 50 shows at the Mack Theatre in PEI as a featured artist in the 2011 Charlottetown Festival’s hit show “Come All Ye”. Work on her highly anticipated sophomore album is in the works with an expected release date of winter 2013.
“The title of Ashley Condon’s debut recording ‘Come In From The Cold’ couldn’t be more apt. Rich earthy tones wrapped lovingly around a voice as fresh and pure as a forest stream cannot help but melt the coldest heart.”
– Glenn Meisner, CBC Atlantic Airwaves
“Ashley Condon brings to the music industry a sweet down-to-earth tone that truly captivates the listener and brings to light a joyfulness of acoustic singer-songwriter styles”
– Maverick Magazine UK
“She is like a Jann Arden kind of performer who can have you laughing one moment and weeping the next.”
– Laurence F., Director/Actor/Producer
Ashley Condon: Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Joel e Hunt: Dobro, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, harmonies
"I've Got this Feeling" EP - released October 2007
"Come In From The Cold" - release date June 15 2010
The Neighbours Ain't Home
Baby Brown Eyes
A New Heart
You Got Me By The Heart
Rising Star Ashley Condon Hits N.B. For Shows
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Rising Star Ashley Condon Hits N.B. For Shows Thu, Feb 9, 2012. One of the new leading lights on t...Rising Star Ashley Condon Hits N.B. For Shows
Thu, Feb 9, 2012.
One of the new leading lights on the East Coast scene comes from Montague, where she was recently honoured with two Music PEI awards. Ashley Condon is playing a series of shows this week in New Brunswick, and it's a good chance to get acquainted with this singer-songwriter. Condon was the winner of the Best New Artist prize, as well as the Lynn Grishko Memorial Award, which recognizes a female performer making great strides in their career.
You can hear those strides on her debut, called Come In From The Cold. Condon does a mix of self-composed folk, country and roots material, all in a laid-back mode, an easy pace which lets her considerable vocal talents shine through. Largely acoustic, or at least mellow, the disc has a feel that places it in the parlour, and sometimes on the front porch. It's easy to imagine her sitting around with a couple of players, making music to touch the hearts of everyone in the room. Even on the suggestive, romantic The Neighbours Ain't Home, the message is sent out softly, but of course there's always lots of power in the subtle approach.
There's lots of love on the disc, whether its for a partner, parent or child. You Got Me By The Heart is a strong one, interlocking guitars, bass and mandolin the backdrop for a simple scene, a loved one coming in from the cold, and the desire to bring some warmth their way. Gone, which closes the album, is old-time folk music, and aside from the use of the word rewind, could have come from a hundred years ago, and Condon summons up a voice full of remorse in this tale of an unfaithful lover.
The emotional high-point of the disc is called Everything, a sparsely-accompanied song sung to a mother who has passed away way too young. The child thinks she hears or sees her mother all around her, her eyes sparkling in the stars, her voice whispering in her ear. It has one of the most touching lyrics I've heard in awhile: "Then you disappeared/into everything/the rain and spring/the sea and the soil and the summer wind/I'll remember you 'cause your love shines through/in everything."
Original ideas, wonderful vocals and beautiful musicianship... this sweet down to earth toned album has exceeded all expectations...
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Ashley Condon brings to the music industry a sweet down-to-earth tone that truly captivates the list...Ashley Condon brings to the music industry a sweet down-to-earth tone that truly captivates the listener and brings to light a joyfulness of acoustic singer-songwriter styles. I like music like this, when you can hear the thought process, listen to the original idea and see how it reaches out with music that is just simply made from the heart. A New Heart has to be one of my favourite tracks, with its sweet harmonies and sing-along chorus and bountiful guitars! Reaching out to the audiences of folk, acoustic country, blues and southern rock, the variety on this album is a real charmer. Featuring award-winning instrumentalist Dale Murray on pedal steel and electric guitar and Jeff Bird of the Cowboy Junkies on mandolin, bass and harmonica, it even has wonderful musicianship to offer. Everything is a song about her mother’s spirit and her questions when someone goes missing in life. It’s a beautiful song and with her warm lavender scented vocals, that drift in and out of grainy and full bodied, to harmonic and compelling, the listener is left in a contemplative mind. The Neighbours Ain’t Home is a country toned song, quirky and vibrant about an unabashed passion. Something Sacred has a rockier tone about it, while Heavy Rain has a driving sound that starts out dark and mysterious and soon moves to a passionate and atmospheric song. Heavy Rain has been played at least ten times already and I will just keep listening—it’s the most moving song on the album and unlike anything I’ve heard in a while. LB
Two to watch: Chastity and Ashley Condon
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What is the deal with the overflowing musical talent on this Island, really? Is there some sort of ...What is the deal with the overflowing musical talent on this Island, really?
Is there some sort of causal connection between the starch of our potatoes and the development of strong musical genes?
I think someone needs to commission a study on this at UPEI.
For now, let’s look at this week’s two particular subjects of evidence to zero in on: Ashley Condon and Chastity Fizzard.
Both of these gifted Island female singer-songwriters held CD launches this past Saturday evening — Condon out at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown and Chastity at The Guild in Charlottetown.
And while it is rare for me to review two shows in one night, it was just one of those occasions where I had to make it work, somehow, simply because there was just no way to choose. (Even if it meant driving to Georgetown for Condon’s first half, and smart-car-hightailing it back to Charlottetown for Chastity’s second half of her launch.)
Unfortunately, the massive amount of events taking place last weekend kept what should have been a good crowd from coming out for Condon’s launch.
But that small number who did attend surely felt, as I did, privileged to be within the lucky few.
Flanked by her three-piece backing band, the 28-year-old Murray Harbour North native (who developed her performance career in Toronto and now resides in Halifax) began with the first track on her new album — a meditative soulful folk ballad called Already Come.
Amid tiptoeing chordal strolling on the Dobro by multi-instrumentalist and ECMA award-winning producer of the record, Joel Hunt, the song set a sweet and peaceful opening mood to the show, showcasing both Condon’s wholesome and graceful voice and a kind of pure-and-direct form of songwriting that seems signature to her style.
Rheo Rochon, on stand-up double bass, and Peter Riu, on piano and Hammond organ, added tasteful, fibrous texture as Hunt’s backing vocals, along with playing the Dobro, guitar, fiddle and mandolin throughout the show, superbly rounded out the sound.
What is notable right from the get-go, though, at a Condon performance is the feeling that you’ve been invited into her kitchen for a show. You feel welcomed and warmed. Immediately she tells you all kinds of hilarious and often self-deprecating stories about what’s going on in her life. Then she sings to you about these things. All that’s missing is the cooking-you-dinner part.
And, in this sense, there could be no more fitting title for her first full-length CD than Come in From the Cold.
Condon also performed at Montague’s Relay for Life concert the night before, in honour of her mother Betty, who lost her battle with cancer eight years ago.
A woman who was loved by the community as a strong, always-giving, and always-entertaining soul, it is clear that this spirit also lives on in her daughter as that strength is evidently giving rise to a gifted performer.
To hear the song Everything, written for her mother, and the 10 other well-crafted beauties on her debut, you can buy your own copy at www.ashleycondon.com.
"Come In From The Cold" cannot help but melt the coldest heart
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"The title of Ashley Condon’s debut recording ‘Come In From The Cold’ couldn’t be more apt. Rich ear..."The title of Ashley Condon’s debut recording ‘Come In From The Cold’ couldn’t be more apt. Rich earthy tones wrapped lovingly around a voice as fresh and pure as a forest stream cannot help but melt the coldest heart."
A New Heart
The Neighbours Ain't Home
Baby Brown Eyes
You Got Me By The Heart
When I'm With You
I'm A Going Home, Amen
Going To The Country
Why Won't You Leave
The Last Time
We've Got Love
All My Life
The Light (K. Kane)
If I Needed You (T. Van Zandt)
Ketchup Loves Potatoes (Stompin' Tom)
Closer To Fine (Indigo Girls)
Song For The Mira (A. MacGillivray)
Can You Hear Me Now (Emmylou Harris)
Coat Of Many Colours (D. Parton)
That's The Way The World Goes Round' (J. Prine)
Unwed Fathers (J. Prine)
Hallelelujah (L. Cohen)
1x45 minute sets
1x75 minute sets
2x40 minute sets