Ashley Wells
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Ashley Wells

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Solo Folk Country


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Mama's Skirt (2010 Album)



Raised in South Carolina, just a few hours away from the Appalachian Mountains, classical musician turned singer/songwriter Ashley Wells has a sound that appeals to audiences old and young alike. Her soothing voice draws listeners in with its purity and gentle, charming Southern accent.

In 2010 she released her debut album, Mamas Skirt, to much success. The combination of her rich and captivating vocals, strong melodies, and insightful lyrics resulted in a record that Susan Werner has called timeless. Respected DJ and the founding host of Folk Alley, Jim Blum, took note as well saying, "Only a handful of young singers offer both spunk and sensibility. Ashley Wells is just getting started, and I would recommend following her career."

This recognition was affirmed by radio stations across the US when Mamas Skirt placed in the top 10 albums on the Folk DJ Charts its first month out. Listeners of echoed this enthusiasm, later voting the album into the site's Top CDs of 2010.

The album covers a variety of musical genres - folk, country, pop, rock, and blues - and shows off Ashley's versatile voice, which has been called "angelic, lilting, gorgeous and rich." Careful attention was given to each song to provide arrangements that would exemplify its character and style. The result is a sound that is easily accessible yet delightfully fresh.

"I knew I had something when my 9-year-old guitar student was begging to learn one of my songs, and at the same time 80-year-olds were grinning from ear to ear in delight," she says.

The title song, Mamas Skirt, chronicles a personal history for Ashley, who has been writing songs since she was 14 but keeping quiet until recently. The song paints a poignant image of Ashley as a shy child hiding behind her mothers skirt and tells of her transformation into an empowered adult when courage pays her a visit with these words of wisdom: "staying safe ain't no way to grow."

Listeners, however, should not be fooled by this image of innocence. Beneath this pure voice is a cunning attitude that sneaks through in songs such as There You'll Be (an unforgiving look at ineffective pursuits of happiness) and Sinners Blues (a traditional blues tune that affectionately puts the heat on Christianity).

Although classically trained at an early age, singing was never the main focus of Ashley's musical training. Instead, she played the oboe in orchestras in college while earning her degree in music with plans of becoming a music theory professor. It was only after going abroad to study in Austria in order to benefit from its musical history that she found classical performances failed to meet her deep, inner need to interact with audiences. Craving a way to connect with audiences on a personal level, she declined her music scholarship and quit performing classical music entirely. Again she turned to what had always come naturally to her but had hitherto been a hidden hobby: singing and songwriting. Listening to Mama's Skirt, it is clear that Ashley Wells has indeed found her natural talents.

After releasing her debut album, Ashley relocated to Boston in 2011 to expand upon her opportunities as a rising folk artist. Within a few months of arriving, she quickly won the renown Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge and was opening for national acts such as Susan Werner. In addition, she has opened for #1 hit songwriter Rob Crosby, whose songs have been recorded by the likes of Martina McBride and Paul Simon.

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