Ashley & Simpson
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Ashley & Simpson

Downers Grove, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Downers Grove, IL
Established on Jan, 2016
Duo Folk Indie


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Ashley & Simpson @ Starved Rock State Park

Oglesby, Illinois, United States

Oglesby, Illinois, United States

Ashley & Simpson @ Fuller House

Hinsdale, Illinois, United States

Hinsdale, Illinois, United States



"Ashley & Simpson feature in Hinsdale Living Magazine"

TUNED IN Indie folk duo Ashley and Simpson are finding their niche in the music world, much to the delight of acoustic music lovers everywhere. WORDS BY ROSIE CONWAY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN MCLEOD

When Jennifer Ashley and Joel Simpson formed the acoustic duo Ashley and Simpson, little did they know how well they’d harmonize. And we’re not just talking musically. Ashley acknowledges that she used to get so nervous performing on stage in front of people before she met Simpson. “I had never written music before, but Joel listened to some of my work and encouraged me to keep going,” Ashley says. They made a deal that she’d take a chance writing if he’d accompany her onstage. They’ve been playing together ever since.
Ashley, a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, has been playing piano her whole life, but didn’t envision herself as a career musician. “I was eight months pregnant when I was being sworn in as a lawyer,” laughs Ashley. “Since then, I have been focusing on raising my three children.” With Ashley’s children now in school full time, her creative pursuits can finally take center stage.
Ashley and Simpson performed for the first time at a Singer- Songwriter’s Showcase at Ballydoyle in Downers Grove. “People responded to us so strongly,” says Simpson. “That’s when we knew we had to pursue this.”
Their music, characterized as part of the Indie Folk Revival movement, recently started playing a monthly gig at Fuller’s House in Hinsdale. “Each time we play, more and more people come to see us,” says Ashley.
The duo plays cover songs, along with original works, in
a folksy, acoustic manner—Simpson harmonizing on guitar, banjo, or mandolin while Ashley sings. The response from audiences has been so positive, that each performance solidifies their passion to work together as artists who complement each other so well musically. Simpson, a music business graduate from Elmhurst College, has been teaching at Tobias Music in Downers Grove for eight years. He likes to push his students beyond their perceived capabilities because that’s where he believes he gets the best results. “I love to metaphorically stand people at the edge of a cliff and push them off,” says Simpson.
Simpson has a recording studio at Tobias where he does production work as well. “I needed help with Randomosity Media, my production company, so I tapped Jennifer,” he says. “With her background in law, graphic design, and photography, she was a perfect fit.”
Both artists are members of other bands and pursue other passions while working together as Ashley and Simpson. Simpson is part of The Chancey Brothers, an Irish band, and Blue Horizon, a folk band led by Lee Murdock. They are currently working on their 23rd album. He’s been touring the country with them for the last three years. “I grew up watching Lee and it’s such an honor to be playing with him,” says Simpson.
Ashley, similarly, is part of The Britt Mardsen Band, a country cover band, and works as a media specialist/photographer for her husband’s media company called K Francis Media.
On August 5, the duo released a song to iTunes entitled “Winnie,” a song written by Ashley about a woman who questions her decision to leave her love behind. “That one song has become the focal point of the album we are working on,” says Simpson. “It’s bizarre how well the rest of our songs are filling in that story. It feels like it’s being handed to us.”
Each one concedes that balancing music careers and family life can have its challenges, but having supportive families is key. “I’ve been doing this so long that this is normal for us,” says Simpson. Ashley concedes, “His wife is the best. She’s used to having a working musician around and all that it entails.”
As for herself, Ashley says being a stay-at-home mom allows her to work on her music career and other business ventures
so she feels fortunate to have that time. “My family is used to having me around so it’s a little different when I head to the studio, but my husband is so supportive,” says Ashley. “I’m tired, of course, but it’s awesome. There’s so much we want to accomplish and we’re excited to do it together.”
For more information, contact or visit - Hinsdale Living


Winnie released 2017



Known for their soulful and energetic live performances, Ashley & Simpson has been taking the local music scene by storm. Jennifer Ashley is a classically trained pianist, singer-songwriter, and guitarist. Joel Simpson is an accomplished musician and singer-songwriter.

Together they prove to be an irresistible duo, leaving you wanting more. Performing a carefully crafted array of cover songs in tandem with originals that are the culmination of both of their writing skills, they continue to win over new fans each time they take the stage.

Whether as a duo or with their band, their acoustic/folk style takes entertainment to a whole new level with distinctive originals and unique versions of popular songs.

Band Members