The Promise is Hope
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The Promise is Hope

Worcester, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Folk Acoustic




"Worcester's Acoustic Power Couple"

Folk songs and love tales with The Promise is Hope.

Written by Sarah Connell

Photography by Joe Santa Maria
In a quiet corner of BirchTree Bread, Ashley L’Esperance confides that she has fallen head over heels for both of her band mates.

To the casual observer, L’Esperance’s group is a husband and wife duo, but, Ashley is quick to remind me that The Promise is Hope has a third stakeholder.

“Worcester is a unique member of our band,” she says coyly.

A year after their marriage and their inaugural EP, she remains love-struck by both her husband, Eric, and by the city of Worcester.

Ashley and Eric met at a worship community in Main South called The Woo when she was a student at Clark University. “Playing together made us feel like we were breathing positivity into all parts of our lives,” Ashley explains.

The Promise is Hope’s new album, Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going, chronicles the experience of living in Worcester while falling in love. Together, the couple is finding its way in the bustling landscape of the city’s musicians. “The folk scene still feels like a new thing here,” Eric explains.

Just because The Promise is Hope hasn’t unearthed a booming folk scene in Worcester yet doesn’t mean that they aren’t embracing Worcester’s seasoned network of musicians. Ashley and Eric have taken a shining to the work of Stu Pynn while frequenting his Speakeasy Sessions at Nick’s on the first Wednesday of each month. The couple was honored when Pynn accepted an invitation to open for The Promise is Hope at their album release party.

BirchTree Bread has provided a comfortable venue to the early risers and young families looking for local live music in Worcester. Ashley and Eric are particularly taken with this space, given that their wedding reception took place in The White Room, located directly below BirchTree Bread. “We feel such a strong connection with all of these old buildings; we want so badly to put life and love back inside of them,” says Ashley.

As if on cue, a server makes his way across the refurbished mill floor, bringing Eric a steaming cup of espresso. He turns to me and says, “The attitude of the owners struck us with their infectious positivity and their encouragement. This space beams attentiveness.”

When I return home and watch the music video for “Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going,” I am taken aback by the footage of Eric and Ashley exploring Elm Park and Newton Hill on a snowy winter evening. The duo has captured something exceedingly personal and eerily familiar to anyone who has ever fallen in love in the city of Worcester. - Live Worcester, Love Worcester

"Track Of The Week: The Promise Is Hope “This Old Tin Roof”"

When I first listen to the track I am awestruck with the harmonies that Ashley & Eric L’Esperance are able to blend and spin together. Truly beautiful and moving. It’s part a conversation and partly one soudn standing on its own. The rest of the arrangement is dreamlike and ethereal in a way. Relaxing and comforting in a way.

The tune takes on some biblical type references, which is not something I typically gravitate towards, but the references are used in a way that is subtly pronouncing the faith I am guessing the two have. Worked into the beautiful palette they paint with their voices and music it all just works.

Jesus I can see Your eyes
From across this old street
See, the life I chose is throwing stones
Am I lowly as I seem?

From the duo’s website: "Their music marries two distinctly talented songwriters. Ashley performs “subtle yet stunning” melodies with a classically-trained, but often folksy, voice. Her poetic lyrics explore the deep mysteries within nature and human relationship. Eric’s obvious reverence for the great folk songwriters of the 60’s and 70’s shines through his sweetly deep voice. His prose-like lyrics unravel the joys and struggles of life’s journeys, and “take what appears to be freeform and make it flow beautifully” into well-crafted pieces. Ashley’s soft finger-picking style lays comfortably beneath Eric’s bright electric Washburn, and their voices blend effortlessly."

I couldn’t agree more, there is an effortless feel to how they sing together, like they were made to create music as a seamless grouping. - Red Line Roots

"Album Review: Where We've Been & Where We're Going"

Hailing from Boston’s little brother, Worcester, The Promise is Hope brings an uncommon sound from a city known for its metal, hardcore, and hip-hop. Most wouldn’t view Worcester as a romantic city despite a heart being its official symbol, yet this newly-married folk-rock duo easily makes Elm Park look like Central Park in the video for the title track of their debut album Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going.

The album opens with intricate, soft fingerpicking and the two artists’ lovely vocal harmony on the track “Quiet Hands.” Eric L’Esperance takes the lead on this track and, in an attempt to give an air of wistfulness to complement the poetic dream-like lyrics, his vocals become at times monotone and flat. Although not the strongest first track, it is enough to leave one curious and ready to see what more this duo has to offer.

“Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going” follows, beginning with more acoustic fingerpicking, layered with reverberating ambient tones from Mr. L’Esperance’s electric guitar, and topped off with a couple bars of light piano. The real treat of this track is the solo debut of the classically trained Ashley L’Esperance. Her voice has an addictive and endearing quality—silky, sweet, and smooth—to be savored like bowl of coffee ice cream.

Mrs. L’Esperance gives an outstanding performance in “Gold,” one of the strongest tracks on the record. She hits high notes that will send a shiver up your spine, embellished with skillfully-executed vibrato. Mr. L’Esperance follows up with a much improved vocal performance in “A Light, A Treasure” as the LP picks up momentum brandishing rock-style drums and electric guitar. When he puts power into his voice during this track, it leaves one wishing for more.

The listener will be pleased to find Mr. L’Esperance’s electric guitar continues to accompany his wife’s acoustic in “God Knows I’ve Tried.” Suddenly, at what feels like a natural apex of the album she belts, “I can’t appease you any longer!” with more intensity than any other phrase on the record. This immense release of pent-up emotion trails off like a sigh of relief. An instrumental break follows with a slow build up of drums and electric guitar that feels like the tense silent aftermath. This track airs the dirty laundry; it peaks like an argument waged by two people in love that know each other better than anyone. It exemplifies the inevitable point in a relationship when the rose colored glasses come off. Nobody’s perfect.

The album acts as a time capsule of young love. It feels honest, no doubt due in part to the strong Christian values the two hold, evident even if you are half-listening to the lyrics. They do not pretend that faith is the answer to everything and do not fail to include the conflicts that come with all human experience. It also is not entirely about each other–many songs are dedicated or written about others that influenced their lives. The album offers something for both romantics and realists alike. - Sound of Boston

"The Promise is Hope to perform at The Skinny Pancake tonight"

While most Hanover residents probably know The Skinny Pancake for its crepes, the restaurant also plays host to a burgeoning live music scene, putting on as many as five concerts a week. Groups who have played at the venue range from acoustic folk, to Cuban jazz, to spiritual Turkish, to indie rock.

Tonight at 7 p.m., The Promise is Hope, a folk/rock group, will perform at the restaurant. The group consists of Ashley and Eric L’Esperance, a married couple from Worcester, Massachusetts who formed the band the day they got engaged.

Since its formation, the band has toured the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. Their first album, “Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going,” debuted in April 2015 and chronicles the two musicians’ experience falling in love.

Ashley L’Esperance said that the impact music can have on its listeners motivates the duo.

“[Music] can bring a lot of peace and a lot of joy to people,” she said. “We definitely feel like people need that more and more.”

Ashley and Eric’s last name, L’Esperance, means “the hope” in French and inspired the name of their group.

“Our goal is that [our music] brings people hope,” Ashley L’Esperance said.

The Promise is Hope blends several different genres together, including folk, electronic, acoustic and pop.

Andrew Sun ’18, founder of the Dartmouth Bluegrass Society, said the group’s style is uniquely intimate.

“I think that’s kind of a cool thing about folk music is that it really makes you feel as if you’re part of a tiny gathering with these musicians, even if you’re just listening through MP3 or something,” Sun said.

Ashley L’Esperance noted that Eric L’Esperance arranges the music, while she mostly crafts the lyrics and melody.

“Our strengths really compliment each other well,” Ashley L’Esperance said.

Ashley and Eric L’Esperance are currently working on the group’s second album, which they hope to release next year. In the wake of several family members’ deaths, the duo is exploring the idea of recovering from tragedy in their songwriting.

“We just had a really bad year,” Ashley L’Esperance said. “And so coming out of that it seems like our music has a connection to talking about death and talking about the stuff you experience going through all that grief.”

The Promise is Hope will perform songs from their first albums, as well as selections from their upcoming album tonight.

Michael Cyr, brand manager for The Skinny Pancake, said that the restaurant hopes to bring a more active music scene to Hanover.

“We’re kind of making a music scene where there wasn’t necessarily a big touring music scene before,” he said. “[The restaurant] is designed to be a community space. Anyone can play there.”

Cyr noted that the restaurant picks acts it thinks will appeal to Dartmouth students. He said that the restaurant is aware of an intention to move social spaces away from Greek life and into the community. Cyr added that Skinny Pancake has begun to have conversations with Dartmouth about sharing bookings and connections.

In the future, Cyr hopes to incorporate the ideas of student groups like the Programming Board into the restaurant’s music selections. Student groups might even have the opportunity to perform at The Skinny Pancake.

“We’ll book pretty much anyone given the right act,” Cyr said. - The Dartmouth

"Premiere: "Mary Ann" - The Promise is Hope"

by Anna Marketti

Loss is a deeply emotional experience that has inspired some of the best, most heart-wrenching songs in music’s history. “Mary Ann,” the newest single from husband and wife duo The Promise is Hope is informed by the loss of Eric L’Esperance’s grandmother. The song is delicate and tense, a heartfelt eulogy for the eponymous Mary Ann. This comes as the first single the pair has released since 2015’s Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going.

The band describes “Mary Ann” as a “time capsule” of all of the emotions felt and events following L’Esperance’s grandmother’s death, and seeks to avoid cliched themes in a song about loss. Eric and his wife, Ashely L’Esperance discuss this and more of the production work that went into the song in the min-documentary that accompanies the single. The video was produced by Harmonized Sounds, who have been releasing a series of videos profiling the releases recorded at Old Bear Studios in New York.

Dulcet and spare, “Mary Ann” is a beautiful testament to a loved one. The couple’s vocals dance above the sweetly plucked acoustic guitar and piano — there’s an intimacy and chemistry that’s evident between them. The Promise is Hope have bared their souls on “Mary Ann,” and all they ask of us is to listen. Hear the song and watch the mini-documentary below. - Allston Pudding

"The Promise is Hope comes to Worcester’s Nine Dot Gallery"

by Joshua Lyford

When husband and wife duo Ashley and Eric L’Esperance moved to Worcester to attend college, they combined their love of music to create folk songs with their band, The Promise is Hope. They also found each other, and in connecting with one another crafted an outlet to share with music fans as well.

On Sunday, March 12, The Promise is Hope performs at Worcester’s Nine Dot Gallery, 763 Main St., along with Max Garcia Conover. Area folk aficionados will get a chance to connect to the message of hope with the pair.

Eric L’Esperance came to Worcester in 2006 to attend Worcester State University and moved to the city from in 2008. Ashley L’Esperance grew up in Connecticut and moved to Worcester in 2009 to attend Clark University. The pair met while Ashley L’Esperance was still enrolled.

“I think for both of us it was community,” Ashley L’Esperance said of why they stayed in Worcester after graduation. “We had a really close-knit group of friends from the church we were attending. It was a lot of young creative people. The same group of people that started Main Idea, they were our friends and that was sort of the group that was here in the city all hanging out at the time. A lot of those people lived in the same houses. Everyone was living in triple-deckers and stuff like that and it was a really creative, tight, group of people.”

The timing of the pair’s meeting couldn’t have been better, as Eric L’Esperance said it came while both were doing some soul searching.

“In some ways, it felt like we were all at the time searching for something bigger to be a part of,” he said. “It was the right place at the right time. It was a really special season and for me, I was in my early 20s and definitely asking the questions, what’s my life about? What am I going to do? What’s the point of it as an emerging adult, if that makes sense. Just having a group of people that were excited and passionate and asking similar questions was, for me, exactly what I needed at that season.”

The pair formed a strong friendship soon after meeting one another and it didn’t take long for the two to realize there was something more to their musical relationship.

“We played a couple shows together, I was working on my solo album my senior year at Clark and Eric was the leader of the church band, basically,” said Ashley L’Esperance. “He helped me out with the album. He was in another band called Bright, the Morning. We played a few shows together, and then Eric and I started playing shows together, some cover gigs at restaurants. He played with me on some of my songs and then pretty immediately, we played a few shows together, and we just figured out we liked each other really fast.”

“Our backgrounds are both very musical,” her husband added. “Our families are really musical and we’ve both been exploring music on our own for years. We ended up in the band at the same time and that just sparked a friendship. It was kind of like our paths crossed. That was the very beginning. There was a strong chemistry musically. We got along really well and when we played music it was a strong chemistry and from there, the sort of love end of things fell into place pretty naturally.”

The pair focus on the songwriting and lyrical aspects of The Promise is Hope and the name, like their own shared surname, is a look into what the band tries to get across to their audience.

“Our last name, the name that I married into, is L’Esperance, which in French means ‘the hope,’” said Ashley L’Esperance. “When we were sort of officially forming the band was the day we got engaged, which was two years ago. I think it was a couple days before that while we were promoting the show, I was thinking about the fact that we were going to get married, and we also kind of officially wanted to start the band.

“I think the goal for us as musicians has always sort of been to inspire hope and positivity and better things in people we meet and play for. When it’s pretty easy to end negativity. We set off and didn’t really know it was going to be what it is now, but we always wanted to play music and remind people there is always hope no matter what. I feel like we’ve been successfully doing that.”

Performing as a husband and wife duo comes with unique perks, but there are also difficulties in living, touring and working together.

“It can be tough, but creating boundaries with work and you try to remember that your relationship is your top priority,” Ashley L’Esperance said. “That can be hard to remember, we both forget that at times. It’s a work in progress. I think we do better than a lot of people would. We’re in a car together for a week and a half, playing these shows, staying up all night. Traveling can be stressful. With the gigs, we’re totally happy with each other at the end of it.”

You can catch The Promise is Hope with Max Garcia Conover at Nine Dot Gallery, 763 Main St., on Sunday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door and are available online at For more information on The Promise is Hope, head to Thepromiseishope. com, or find them on Facebook. You can pick up their debut release, “Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going,” online at - Worcester Magazine


Where We've Been & Where We're Going (LP), 2015



The Promise is Hope is among Massachusetts’ finest emerging acoustic/singer-songwriter acts. Comprised of married couple Ashley & Eric L’Esperance, the duo released their debut album Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going in April 2015. Since then the two have been been performing all over New England and the Mid-Atlantic. With deep reverence for the art of songwriting, the duo seeks to explore through music the mysteries of love, spirituality, and the joys and struggles of life’s journey. The two are currently writing material for a sophomore album to be recorded in the fall of 2017 at Old Bear Studio in Batavia, NY. The duo’s new single, “Mary-Ann,” was released on February 12, 2017. Allston Pudding, a Boston-area music blog, has called the track “dulcet and spare...a beautiful testiment to a loved one.” This new song is available on all digital formats.

"I listen to A LOT of music, and this album would be towards the top of the pile.” Jessica Phaneuf, WUMB

“I am awestruck with the harmonies that Ashley & Eric L’Esperance are able to blend and spin together. Truly beautiful and moving.” - Brian Carroll, Red Line Roots

"Uniquely intimate." -Andrew Sun, Dartmouth Bluegrass Society

Visit the duo's electronic press kit for more information.

Band Members