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Steve Ashley >>> NEWS & REVIEWS >>>

Welcome to Steve Ashley’s official website. Here you will find his definitive biography, a complete discography and regular news updates of songs, shows and album reviews.



A new album for 2017

Another Day’ is Steve’s tenth album of new songs and showcases many that he performed live during last summer. There are 14 Ashley originals, and like its predecessor, ‘This Little Game’, ‘Another Day’ is a stripped-back solo album, featuring just Steve on vocal, guitar, harmonica and whistle. But this is a more political collection, which Steve considers to be one of his best. The title track was a Folk RadioSong of The Day’ in December and a video for this track, featuring Jeremy Corbyn, was created by Public Reading Rooms.



The track list is as follows: Another Day, One Strong Voice, Oh No No, There Will Be Pain, The Paper Song, One For The Playlist, What Do You Do?, The Way The Rainbow’s Made, For Bruce, The Land of Love, It’s Just a Stage, I Wonder, The Months Go Round, Another Shore

With complete lyrics in a 12-page booklet in Digipak format and photography by John Ash, the album was recorded by Martin Mitchell, with sleeve design by Mike Weaver.

Radio sessions



On Wednesday, May 10 Steve did a session and interview for BBC Radio 2’s The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe at MediaCity, Salford. He recorded three songs live – People In Love, The Months Go Round and Best Wishes. The Show remains available on Listen Again for 30 days after broadcast. Click here to access the link

Then on Sunday, May 14 in Liverpool he was interviewed by Spencer Leigh for his ‘On The Beat’ show on BBC Radio Merseyside. Steve performed three songs, One Strong Voice, Ships of Shame and The Land of Love . The show will be broadcast after the General Election, date to be announced.

Review round-up…

Another Day has been well received in the ‘folk press’ including three five star reviews. fROOTS magazine published an interview with Steve in their ‘rocket launcher’ series and Living Tradition included another profile by Nigel Schofield. Oz Hardwick interviewed Steve for RNR (Rock 'n' Reel) and Stirrings featured an overview of Steve's career by Ian Croft. Here’s the latest round-up of reviews...

‘Another Day is the most quietly powerful album I’ve heard in a long time.’ * * * * * Oz Hardwick, R2

‘However much you try to escape, you won't be able to switch it off. This, truly, is a fabulous, hypnotic album.’ * * * * * Mick Tems, FOLK WALES ONLINE
Full review here

‘Class tunes from folk-rock Maestro Ashley...it’s a great antidote to the narrative spun by the corporate media...Definitely an inspiring album…’ * * * * * Steve Johnson, MORNING STAR
Full review here

‘...still writing songs of potent truths. Ashley’s spirit remains strong on this understated album of sharp observations, lithe melodies and wry asides...charm and hope amid craggy despair.’ * * * Colin Irwin, MOJO

‘...a musician who has been writing and performing songs of the highest quality for the best part of 50 years, and he thinks these are some of the finest he has produced, I wouldn’t disagree.’ Johnny Whalley, FOLK RADIO
Full review here

‘...masterful and perceptive songwriting…Another Day undoubtedly finds Steve still on a roll, in fine fighting fettle and rejoicing in his determination and proud integrity.’ David Kidman, fROOTS

‘...it will make you smile, sigh, laugh out loud, shed a tear…most importantly, it will make you think. It’s like opening the oyster and finding a diamond as well as the pearl.’ Nigel Schofield, LIVING TRADITION

‘This intelligent record will hold your attention throughout – it reinforces Steve’s impeccable singer/writer credentials and will buoy the spirit even in its bleakest moments.’ Clive Pownceby NORTH WEST FOLK

‘It’s an excellent album on a number of levels…his gentle voice and inspirational, matter of fact lyrics provide as good an example of iron fist in velvet glove as anything I’ve ever come across.’ Ian Croft STIRRINGS

‘...brimful of great melodies, great playing and singing, and lyrics which provide an object lesson to both the craft and the art of The Songwriter...Hats off...’ Alan Rose TYKES NEWS

‘I reckon that’s a classic. That could go on to be something performed for...I don’t know...hundreds of years.’ Frank Hennessy commenting on ‘The Months Go Round’ on Celtic Heartbeat, BBC Radio Wales

Special Offer: Signed copies are available direct from Steve for PayPal customers. For details, email steve@steveashley.co.uk

Back On The Road Again



The following gigs have been booked in for Steve in 2017 with more to follow...

April 24 Croydon Folk Club, Ruskin House, Coombe Road, CR0 1BD Tel: 0770 3210 795 Starts 8pm

May 7 Raven Folk, Bear and Billet, Lower Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1RW Tel: 01244 677212 Starts 8.30pm

May 14 Bothy Folk Club Southport, Park Golf Club, Park Road West, PR9 0JS Tel: 0151 924 5078 Starts 8pm

May 27 The Club, Newnham, Gloucestershire. Tel: 01594 516259 Starts 8pm

June 15 Colchester Arts Centre, Church Street, Essex CO1 1NF Tel: 01206 500900 Doors 7.30pm

June 16 Milkmaid Folk Club, Constitutional Club, Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1PR Tel: 01284 767476

July 4 The Roses Theatre, Sun Street, Tewkesbury, Glos GL20 5NX Tel: 01684 295074

Sept 27 Faversham Folk Club The Limes, Preston Street, Faversham ME13 8PG Tel: 01795 423674 Doors 7.30pm

October 6 Goosefest, Goostrey, Cheshire. Tel: 01477 535367

October 20 Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham GL50 1HQ Tickets: 01242 572573 Starts 8pm

October 26 Plough Arts Centre Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8HQ Tickets: 01805 624624 Starts 8.15pm

October 27 Carolines Kitchen, Churston Ferrers, Brixham, Devon TQ5 0LT Tickets: 01803 855961 Starts 7.30pm

You can also access YouTube videos of Steve's orchestral performances at Cheltenham Folk Festival and The Robert Kirby Memorial Concert, by clicking here.

FIRE AND WINE - Updated edition available now

Updated to include both Another Day and This Little Game, Dave Thompson's, book FIRE AND WINE continues the story of a 50-year musical journey with recollections from Steve, and contributions from a small army of friends and associates, including: Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie, Shirley Collins, Linda Thompson, Bruce Rowland, Colin Irwin, Maddy Prior, Austin John Marshall, Dave Menday, Richard Byers, Maartin Allcock, Dik Cadbury, Dobe Newton, Martin Mitchell, Edward Haber, Peter Muir, Sandy Roberton, Heather Wood, Steven Collins, Ian Smith and David Frohnsdorff.

The paperback version includes a selection of rare photographs from Steve’s personal archive, plus an illustrated discography, a complete list of session players from all available Ashley recordings, and a comprehensive catalogue of his recorded songs.

Among the myriad artists about whom Dave Thompson has written books are: Kurt Cobain, Phil Collins, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, David Bowie, John Travolta, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne, Bob Marley and Roger Waters. He has also contributed to the magazines Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Mojo and Melody Maker.

“Steve Ashley, English, musician, gentleman, activist and all round good guy, an extraordinary life.” fROOTS

“You’ll be out of that armchair and heading for your CD rack, LP box or online ordering facility.” Living Tradition

“...richly evocative...the book will send many back to the man’s music” Record Collector

“Anyone interested in English folk-rock will find this book absolutely essential.” Sing Out! (USA)

“It’s a fine book and a fitting tribute to a great singer-songwriter.” Tykes News

“Steve Ashley is a worthy recipient of this Armchair Guide.” Caught In The Act

Click here for the UK kindle edition of FIRE AND WINE:

Click here for the UK paperback edition:

Steve's previous album 'This Little Game' was warmly received and both The Telegraph and Folk Radio included it in their lists of 'The Best Folk Albums of 2015'. A powerful video was created for the song 'That's Why' and is available on the Stop The War Coalition website.

Here’s a summary of press review quotes...

“A new Steve Ashley album: surely cause to raise a glass of something special.” ***** R2 (Rock’n’Reel)

“This is a lovely, startling, rewarding album...surely his best work yet.” ***** Folk Wales

“...a craftsman at work...Ashley will be 70 in 2016 but In Your Heart shows he still has the power to move...” **** The Telegraph

“...his talent remains undiminished” **** Record Collector

“Steve Ashley is a thoughtful and elegant singer-songwriter” The Guardian (Folk and World Playlist)

“This Little Game may just be one of his best.” Folk Radio

“...skill, craftsmanship and (let’s not mince words) simple genius behind every aspect...” The Living Tradition

“...intensely masterful...his gift for memorable song making is undiminished...” Fatea

“An album of crystalline brilliance” Tykes News

“A beautifully affecting and accomplished album.” Folk North West

“...as eloquent as you could ask from a three minute song” fROOTS

“...heartfelt intrigue and careworn beauty” Goldmine ( USA)

“He’s one of the British folk scene’s finest singer-songwriters” Mike Harding

Folk Radio Interview

There is a very good interview with Steve by Alex Gallacher on the Folk Radio website. For insights into Steve's early inspirations and his influence upon younger artists click here.

Covers

Recent covers include O’Hooley and Tidow’s version of Fire and Wine, Fil Campbell and Tom McFarland's version of Best Wishes, on their album Back There, Phil Beer’s version of Fire and Wine on his live album Plays Guitar and Fiddle. Sings a Bit , The Owl Service’s version of Spirit of Christmas on their new Expanded Edition of ‘The Burn Comes Down’, Hannah Sanders and Liz Simmons’ version of Fire and Wine on their EP ‘World Begun’, Sproatly Smith's version of Candlemas Carol on their album 'Carols from Hereford' (Folk Police), Green Diesel’s Fire and Wine on their debut album 'Now Is The Time' and in Australia, two new versions of Steve's setting of Past Carin' – first from Suzette Herft on 'Both Sides Now' and then from Christine Wheeler on 'Rain In The Mountains: Songs of Henry Lawson'.

Having covered Steve’s Spirit of Christmas as the title track of their 2010 album, St Agnes Fountain have also included it on their latest release, 'The Best of St Agnes Fountain'. In the meantime, Grace Notes have recorded There Will Be Pain for their 20th anniversary album, '20' (Fellside) and Maggie Boyle and Paul Downes have recorded Once In a While for Maggie's album 'Won't You Come Away' (WildGoose).

Other recent covers of Steve’s songs include Bill Zorn’s version of Over There In Paradise on his album, 'The Bill Zorn Show', Dobe Newton’s new take on Steve’s setting of Past Carin’ on his solo album, 'A Convict Can't Be Trusted' and The Bushwackers’ reworking of Faces In The Street on their latest release, 'The Australian Songbook II'.

“Spirit of Christmas” included in “1000 Songs That Rock Your World”

The Spirit of Christmas, which Steve wrote back in 1968, is listed in Dave Thompson's book, 1000 Songs That Rock Your World. Described as ‘the ultimate guide to the best music of the last 50 years’, the selection is arranged in over 75 themes/categories with 500 colour photos and draws on a wide range of genres. In the Christmas section, Steve shares a page with John and Yoko’s Merry Xmas War is Over, in an entry that includes his recollections of writing the song during his time in the acoustic duo Tinderbox with Dave Menday. Elsewhere, Steve was asked to supply his favourite top five rock songs with his reasons why and these are listed in the chapter Steve Ashley's Top Five. For more details, see Amazon.co.uk at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-That-Rock-Your-World/dp/1440214220.

Other UK folk-rock entries include Lindisfarne’s ‘Lady Eleanor’, Fairport Convention’s ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’ and ‘Meet on The Ledge’ and Richard Thompson’s ‘I Wanna See The Bright Lights Tonight’.

TIME AND TIDE

Steve's previous album, Time and Tide (Topic) has received widespread critical acclaim both here in the UK and in music magazines overseas...

" ...[one] of the country's finest songwriters. Steve Ashley’s latest is a particular triumph, at once a modern-day masterpiece and a masterly throwback to his earlier glories and the English traditions with which it resonates. With a true understanding of human nature and how the processes of history and change affect the spirit of place, Steve’s songs represent an urgent clarion call to us to wake up before it’s too late." fRoots

" On his new set the gentle, sturdy melodies are matched with a rare blend of emotion and anger. Ashley may not be prolific but his songs are worth the wait." *** The Guardian

"Ashley is his own man and still brims with insightful visions of Britain after a career spanning four decades. Easily overlooked, but that would be your loss" *** Q Magazine

"The songs and delivery here, whilst bearing [Steve’s] hallmarks of deftness and élan, crackle with ingenuity. Honest music that calls for repeat-play." Living Tradition

"Steve Ashley still writes a great song. Recommended..." **** All Music Guide (USA)

“…splendid story songs … Time and Tide shows that Ashley has lost none of his creative muse over the years and can still marry his keen eye for the human condition to a tune to great effect.” Dirty Linen (USA)

"A collection of 15 new songs that ranks among his most powerful albums yet. A joy from start to finish" Goldmine (USA)

"... his lyrics remain clever and eloquent...Each new Steve Ashley album is like a reunion with an old friend and I hope there will be many more." Sing Out! (USA)

"Typical Steve Ashley, absolutely brilliant." A Celtic Heartbeat [BBC Wales]

"There's much to admire here for fans and newcomers alike." Penguin Eggs (Canada)

"With the quality of the music and its performers, it only took a couple of tracks for me to realise on first listen that this was potentially an equal to his classic early albums – Stroll On and Speedy Return – and, on repeated listening, I see no reason to change my mind now. His music was timeless all those years ago, and that is a knack he obviously hasn’t lost. This CD is a subtle work in many ways, but don’t confuse subtlety with lack of depth – that would be a major mistake." Green Man Review / Fiddlestix (Australia)

"Steve Ashley is simultaneously a blast from the past and a voice for current times...tackling social and political issues with a poetic eye and a gentle and melodious style..." Rhythms Magazine (Australia)

"With this excellent album Steve Ashley has put himself back in the International picture." 8/10 Folkforum (Holland)

"The last two tracks are enough reason to rush out and buy Time and Tide" **** Buscadero (Italy)

"Steve’s ability to empathize with and chronicle life in 21st century England in a literate intelligent style is second to none" Folk London

"Rare, precious and meaningful, a new Steve Ashley album is always worth waiting for. ... an exceptional CD... A mature and commanding work." Tykes News

"I can think of no other writer who can at the same time offer music which is deeply disturbing and deeply satisfying, truly frightening and genuinely optimistic, brutal and at the same time and most of all consistently positive.  Time and Tide may wait for no man; Time and Tide has certainly been worth waiting for." Nigel Schofield - Living Tradition

"Uniformly excellent" Netrhythms

"The pinnacle of Steve's career." **** Rock 'n' Reel

"It's a stunning little album - buy it! Taplas (Wales)

Click here for Robin Denselow's review in The Guardian: http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,2125025,00.html An unedited version of The fROOTS review is available at http://www.netrhythms.co.uk/reviewsa.html#ashley and Michael Hunter's review for Green Man Review and Fiddlestix is available here: http://www.greenmanreview.com/cd/cd_ashley_timeandtide.html


TWO TRACKS IN A BOX OF PEGG'S

Dave Pegg's box set, A Box of Pegg's (Matty Grooves) also includes two tracks from Steve: Family Love and Once in a While. The first is from Steve's Live in Concert album and the second is from The Family Album which was recorded and produced by Dave at his home studio in Cropredy back in 1979. The booklet which accompanies the four CD set includes an Ashley/Pegg discography and the 'family photograph' which appeared on the cover of the original Family Album (the second LP to be released on Woodworm Records).

Dave's cover version of Steve's Lonely Are The Journeymen is also included.

LIVE IN CONCERT reviews...

"If this album means that just a few more people find out what they've been missing in his exquisitely-scored, literate, pastoral and often fun-loving music, then so much the better. Not just indefatigable, but brilliant too." Colin Harper, Record Collector

"...the remarkable finale of Say Goodbye, given a gorgeous, lush arrangement by Robert Kirby as a birthday present, ends it all on a big emotional high and reminds us of Ashley's enduring quality as a songwriter. " Colin Irwin, fROOTS

"This CD is a great souvenir for everyone who actually attended the concert and is recommended for anyone already a Steve Ashley fan or a devotee of English folk/folk-rock." Ken Roseman, Sing Out!

OTHER REVIEWS: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kraqoaua5ijd All Music Guide http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/webrevs/duskcd102.htm Living Tradition http://www.greenmanreview.com/cd/cd_ashley_live.html Green Man Review http://www.netrhythms.co.uk/reviews.html#ashley Netrhythms


Stroll On 'masterpiece' recognised in Mojo

Mojo recently included Steve's debut album Stroll On in its list of 50 'Beyond Folk' genre-bending classics. The album received the following review:

The Wordsworth to Nick Drake's Coleridge, Steve Ashley - already a veteran of Ashley Hutchings' legendary Albion Band line-up that imploded before recording a note, and Ragged Robin, who backed Anne Briggs on what became her then-unissued final album in 1973 - laboured for years to get this, his own-name debut, released. Pastoral, epic, musically luxuriant and lyrically brilliant, with Robert Kirby's strings a perfect foil, it's an under-appreciated masterpiece.

Back on the Road Again

Steve's return to live performance was prompted by Market Square's 17-track anthology, The Test Of Time (MSMCD102) in 1999. This was immediately followed by a reissue of his debut album, entitled Stroll On Revisited (MSMCD104). With extra tracks from the original sessions and a re-appraisal by Karl Dallas, this new version of Stroll On was well-received in the press with excellent reviews in MOJO, fROOTS, Record Collector, Living Tradition and Dirty Linen.

Then in November 2000, Colin Harper reviewed the original album as one of MOJO's Buried Treasure series - "The Great Albums That Time Forgot". Describing the album as "a masterpiece of its kind", the article focused upon the circumstances that inspired the songs back in 1968. It also recalled how the original tapes were rejected by 30 labels before the album was released on Gull Records, to win rave reviews and Contemporary Album of The Year in Folk Review. In December 2004, Record Collector included Stroll On as one of '20 Collectable Folk-Rock Classics'.

To promote the reissue, Steve joined Fairport on stage at Cropredy to perform Fire and Wine, and this was followed by a series of dates with guitarist, Al Fenn. Then in 2001, a special line-up of Steve, Chris Leslie, Maartin Allcock and Al Fenn was formed for Cropredy and a one-off show at Cheltenham Town Hall to promote a new album for Topic Records.

Everyday Lives

With fourteen new songs, Everyday Lives (TSCD526) was Steve's first studio album since 1990's Mysterious Ways on Line Records. The mainly acoustic collection features sessions from many of Steve's friends and musical heroes, including: Danny Thompson, Robin Williamson, Dave Pegg, Simon Nicol, Chris Leslie, Gerry Conway, Al Fenn, Mick Dolan and Dik Cadbury.

(click here for reviews of Everyday Lives)

Speedy Return

The latest from Market Square is a remastered Speedy Return. Session players include Richard Byers, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks, Maddy Prior, Simon Phillips, DeLisle Harper, Lea Nicholson, Royston Mitchell and Dennis Lopez. Robert Kirby produced the album and also wrote the orchestration. The Market Square release (MSMCD 118) is the first CD version in the UK and contains a 12-page booklet with lyrics, photographs and a reappraisal by Karl Dallas. "A gem." BBC Website "True English roots rock" fROOTS "a sparkle forever young" Mojo "Speedy Return still sounds majestic all these years later" Irish Music

Mini albums available on import from Japan

 

Gull Records have also licensed Steve's first two albums to Airmail Recordings in Japan.

For Steve's full discography click here

click here for index