Ashes to Immortality is a true Lawrence original. The city motto is their namesake and the music they play is a real tribute to the spirit of the town. The practiced talent and raw passion of these musicians has been perfectly captured in their new album which I personally cannot stop playing, in the car, at work and at home.
From start to finish, every song on the new album is outstanding. The recording quality, vocals and instrumentals are all a joy to hear. The album explores everything from romance to heartache, adventure to nostalgia, joy to sorrow. Songs groove from crazed dancing fun to slow, minimalistic melancholy with ease. Through each movement and transition, the songs smoothly progress from one to the next with finesse. With a full 15 songs, I cannot rightfully complain that it leaves me wanting more, but I can never get enough.
It is difficult to describe any band’s music in mere words, but this is especially true with Ashes to Immortality, a band that explores bluegrass, folk, rock’n’roll, jazz and the blues.
As with their live performances, every song of Ashes’ new album features beautiful instrumentals and moving vocals. Colby’s steadfast drums and Sonny’s hearty bass lay down a strong foundational beat. Mike’s mandolin and Peter’s banjo lend their fair and twangy voices to the americana mix. Brandon’s guitar centers the harmonies and Rachel’s fiddle casts magic through it all. It should be noted that Mike, Peter, Brandon and Rachel all add vocals on top of their instruments, but to top off the band’s beautiful sound, Bayley’s magnificent singing leads the way with gorgeous vocals.
Keep in mind, as you listen, that these are not old veterans but young artists wielding individual talents and a cohesive synergy. This album is a prophecy of great things to come. These musicians and this band have a bright future.
I would like to describe every song on the album, but that would never do them justice. You simply have to hear them for yourself. The album features songs written by various members of the band, as well as some traditional pieces, in keeping with Ashes’ Acoustic American Roots sensibilities. Some of my favorites include the classic “Can’t Get No Better,” “Rain & Snow,” and “Mulberry Jam.”
Ashes to Immortality is a treasure to Lawrencians and music lovers everywhere. Their latest album is a wonderful gift to everyone who can get a hold of it. The beautiful music captures the endearing, tenacious optimism that is the spirit of Lawrence. Listening to this album will make anyone homesick for Lawrence and grateful to feel the fire of the town embodied in song.
The band is taking orders now for anyone who would like the album mailed to them. Or you could catch them live and possibly acquire a CD at their show!
Friday, August 9th, Ashes to Immortality will be playing at The Record Bar in Kansas City. This show is all ages and doors open at 8 p.m.
Friday, August 23rd Ashes will be headlining at The Granada in Lawrence. Kasey Rausch: Music & Other Projects will be opening. This show will kick off the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships and Lawrence Busker Festival.
See you out there!