Florida-based singer/songwriter Ashton Allen made a splash last fall with the release of a wistful collection of indie-pop anthems, earthy acoustic love songs, and melodic “modern soft-rock” tunes – the kind of splash smattered with positive critical praise and endless comparisons to Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, and numerous other acoustic folkie hipsters.
The Jacksonville native released the 14-song Dewdrops on the Livewire label and has practically been on the road ever since, promoting the disc and the first radio single, “Pretty Pink Rose.”
“I recorded the original tracks in Atlanta,” he says. “I first just tracked it solo with guitars. Then I went in with the drummer, Shannon Forrest, and started putting everything else on top. We painted each song and added layers when necessary.”
Allen toured earlier this year, doing mostly bookstore cafés and small clubs. These days, he’s backed by a solid, full-size band – drummer Micah Berry (a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Virginia), Atlanta-based lead guitarist Bret Hartley (known for his songwriting work with Sugarland), and bassist Devin Moore (also of Gainesville, Fla. band Bloom).
“It’s four guys from four different backgrounds who all love music,” says Allen. “Micah is a great songwriter in his own right. Bret can do anything on the guitar. Devin is a classically-trained evil genius and a great songwriter, too. I hand-picked them all. They never met each other before we started rehearsing in Orlando this month. We’re going full out with doing the songs from the album just right. We have string and horns tracks playing and all the arrangements are just right.” –T. Ballard Lesemann
Ashton Allen and his band share the stage with Peter Bradley Adams at the Village Tavern at 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. (884-6311) on Sat. Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. Cover is $8. Check www.ashtonallen.net and www.village-tavern.com for more. Love Best of Charleston? Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.
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