Shelley Asbury
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Shelley Asbury

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"Restoring Roots"

Local bluegrass singer/songwriter
celebrates first CD

By Amy Salvagno
C & G Staff Writer

Shelley Asbury has been humming harmonies and penning phrases since she was a little girl, a love she found through her grandfather, who encouraged her into music — specifically the fiddle — from his small town in the Upper Peninsula.

But Asbury waited nearly 30 years to turn that pastime into a serious pursuit, and on Sunday, Aug. 26 she’ll celebrate the release of her first CD, “How Strong Do My Walls Have To Be?” The project includes eight original songs and two written by legendary bluegrass songwriter Pete Goble, who penned the title track.

The Warren resident became serious about songwriting in 2002 after attending a few meetings of the local Nashville Songwriters Association International, through which new friendships developed, along with a resurgence in her fiddle playing.

“It piqued my interest on how to go about songwriting professionally,” says Asbury, who is now the regional workshop co-coordinator for NSAI. “I was just writing songs that were more toward the bluegrass genre and not necessarily those Nashville was looking for. I thought I had songs that were worthy, but weren’t pitchable on Music Row.”

At a concert in Flat Rock in the summer of 2005, Asbury spotted Goble in the crowd.

“He happened to be in the audience that night. I had known he was a legendary writer and went over and introduced myself,” she recalled. “When he found out I was a songwriter, he said, ‘Sit down and sing me a song.’ So I did, and he just really paid attention to it and he really liked and it seemed he wanted me to go forward with pitching it.”

Goble, who wrote such bluegrass classics as, “Big Spike Hammer,” “Tennessee 1949” and the title track of Tim O’Brien’s 2006 Grammy award-winning album, “Fiddle’s Green,” quickly became quite a mentor to Asbury.

The two began working on the CD project last summer, much of which was recorded at Goble’s Moonridge Studio in Rockwood, Tenn.*, with the help of virtuoso musician Andy Ball, the mandolin player and vocalist with the Lonesome River Band, who grew up working with Goble.

“Shelley is very talented and writes great songs. It’s thrilling to know her and to hear her sing,” Goble said. “This is her first effort, and if you hear her, you will agree, she is radio-friendly. Give her a listen.”

“I appreciated learning how real studio musicians work, and although it took a lot of time to get my vocals down, I appreciated having an extra ear to help me bring about my best performance,” Asbury said. “Also, the studio has a different feel than a live performance, so I had to learn to capture some energy in the studio, rather than a live audience.”

Some of the tracks include, “I’ll Be Leaving,” “Watery Grave” and “Au Train,” a tribute to her grandpa’s roots — a small, logging town where some Irish, Scottish and French settled and mingled with the Chippewa Indians.

“I live life and then get my ideas from my own experiences and watching other people,” Asbury said. “I think any traditional bluegrass fans will like it, and there are a few songs that people of faith will enjoy and anyone who likes pure acoustic sound.”

Friends and followers will join Asbury for the release party at 3 p.m. at the Huron Valley Eagles Club, 3636 Telegraph Road in Flat Rock. There is no charge, but reservations are appreciated. For more information, visit

*correction -Rockwood, Michigan
- C and G News


"How Strong Do My Walls Have To Be?" Debut CD - released June 2007.
8 original songs



Shelley Asbury is a songwriter from Michigan pursuing her love of Bluegrass/Gospel music. After putting her songwriting goals on hold for several years to raise her family, she has finally released her debut CD project of original music. Although starting her music career later in life, she feels a definite purpose and direction of where it needs to go. In 2002, she began seriously pursuing her songwriting career by making frequent trips to Nashville to attend workshops, network, and establish relationships with industry pros on music row. At the same time, her heart was being captivated by the traditional music of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers. She couldn't get enough of the sound, and found herself trying to write in a style that was not Music Row friendly! Following her heart, she started writing and singing her own original Bluegrass/Gospel tunes. She then started promoting and pitching songs to publishers and artist in the International Bluegrass community. In the summer of 2005, Shelley was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet with legendary bluegrass songwriter Pete Goble. By the next summer, Pete had a big part in helping her put her first recording project together. Now, with the release of her first solo CD project, she is looking forward to what ever the next steps bring. Bluegrass makes Shelley's unique voice feel at home. She currently resides in the Detroit area with her husband and four children and is one of the Detroit area workshop coordinators for the Nashville Songwriters' Association International (NSAI)

"Shelley is very talented and writes 'great' songs. It's thrilling to know her and hear her sing. This is her first effort and if you hear her you will agree, she is radio friendly. Give her a listen."- Pete Goble

Shelley has played locally with 2 different Detroit area bluegrass groups:
2005-2006- The Kickshaws
2007- Coal Dusters
She has recently stepped out on her own, ready to share her songs with the world!

notable performances:
1st Annual Detroit River Days Festival - Detroit, MI(2007)
Wade Mainer's 100th Birthday Party Celebration- Fenton, MI (2007)
IBMA After Hours Showcase (NIBGA room) during the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass Conference- Nashville, TN(2007)

Although Shelley enjoys performing--her ultimate love is songwriting. She hopes to get her songs out there so someone like Alison Krauss or Rhonda Vincent would want to cut them.

Although Gospel and Bluegrass are her main influences, she does write other styles of music, and is working toward a staff songwriting deal with a major music publisher.

Please visit her website
or myspace page