Ash in Pensacola
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Ash in Pensacola

Band Folk Pop

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Columbia’s own Ash in Pensacola will take the stage Feb. 22, 2006 at the Beat Kitchen, along with three other bands to celebrate and promote the independent release of their first full-length album, “When We First Met…” Kenneth Pritchard, lead man behind the band, describes the band as a “low decibel” variation of Chamber Pop and Folk Rock. While words quite usually fail to bring a band’s sound into focus, especially when it’s as rich as Ash in Pensacola’s, Pritchard tells me he dislikes when bands respond to the question with a lofty, “oh man, you can’t classify it!” All bands have a certain classification, he explains.

The band officially formed on Dec. 3, 2004 (Pritchard’s birthday), when they played their first show as “Ash in Pensacola.” Their unique name was born out of a long conversation about art, over beer and cigarettes, at the California Clipper. The ashtray that happened to be in front of Pritchard and his friend Dan was curiously shaped like Florida. They realized the area they were ashing upon would be Pensacola, a town just east of the Alabama border. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Pritchard recruited friend Melinda Maneck for the band after he discovered her perfect pitch while driving around with her, singing songs in the car.

While he was a member of the New Music Ensemble, he started playing with Seth Gruenwald. “At one point I had a solo section and he walked a baseline underneath it on the cello and it sounded so good,” says Pritchard, who soon started playing with Gruenwald on a regular basis. They experimented with using an electric bass for their songs, but it just didn’t have the same sound Pritchard was looking for. As a result, their unique cello accompaniment was born.

Matt Roan joined the band after being called into play with them for their second show. Pritchard just asked him to play the drums as quietly as possible. Because the show worked out so well, Pritchard asked him to become a full time member of the band.

While Pritchard is finishing up his education at Columbia, the rest of Ash in Pensacola has finished school. Maneck now works as a librarian, Roan manages a Puma store downtown and also DJs in his spare time, and Gruenwald recently moved to Providence, RI. Pritchard said he isn’t too concerned the distance will have too much of an impact on their success as a band. In the days of digital technology and high speed Internet, he’s able to send Gruenwald new tracks over the Internet and receive new additions that Gruenwald writes.

Before Gruenwald moved, they were able to finish recording “When We First Met…” by implementing very creative efforts to get the album done. Pritchard was able to use a barter system and build a bike for a friend in order to gain access to studio recording time. It was hard for Pritchard to determine the final state of the songs for “When We First Met…” He says, “I have 16 versions of every single one of them on my computer.” When confronted with the infinite possibilities of editing, he found himself constantly asking, “What should we change? What is this band?” He explains that ultimately, “I’m gonna do it the way I want: the Billy Corgan Method.”

The Beat Kitchen is located at 2700 W. Belmont Ave., just west of Damen Ave. Also playing with Ash in Pensacola are Pete Cautious, The Gun Shy, and the Scalpels. Ash in Pensacola will take the stage at 9 p.m on Feb. 22. Entry is limited to 18 and over with an entrance fee of $7. CDs will be available for sale.

Find this article at:
http://www.colum.edu/students/reservoir/studentlife/february2006/13-20/ashinpensacola0206.htm

- Reservior Magazine


Discography

When We First Met - LP
Gut Rehab-LP

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Bio

AiP has made a complete 180 degree turn in the short span of just two records. With the new album, "Gut Rehab", the band has added bass player J. Cole Blodgett to the group and turned up the volume on all the rest of the instruments. The cello, once used primarily for bass lines is now wielded like a two-handed broadsword in some type of bloody medieval battle. This is prominent in new tunes like "Smile" and "Travel" which no longer seem to focus on the ethereal as it uses infectious hooks describing day-to-day tribulations that the common man incurs. Still hailing from Chicago, the band is solidifying the new Chicago rock sound.