If you don’t know too much about country duo Ashton Lane, their musical journey began when singer-songwriter Esther Duffin met her now husband Tim O’Connor at one of her solo gigs at a venue on Ashton Lane in Glasgow. The creative partnership was immediately clear and they soon began performing together, with the street name being an obvious choice for a name.
Since they married, Esther and Tim have set up their own record label ‘RedHed Records’, and they recently released their 5th studio album ‘Nashville Heart’. You may have seen them at this year’s Country to Country festival in London, where they captivated audiences at the Big Entrance Stage and the Brooklyn Bowl, showcasing the impressive material from the new album.
It’s a rather lengthy album; there are 14 stunning tracks on offer. Talk about value for money! Here we have a collection of superbly-written, easy-listening country songs that demonstrate the talent and incredible potential that these guys have. If there is any justice in the world of music, this album would be appreciated by a much larger audience than it will inevitably reach. Give it a listen, you won’t regret it.
The album kicks off with our favourite track of them all, ‘Seventeen’, a delightful foot-tapping recollection of young love and the innocence of life at seventeen. A perfect opener for the album; it doesn’t get any catchier than this. You’ll be singing along by the second chorus! The violin in the background is simply sublime – it’s just a lovely, beautifully-written, pure country song. Definitely a new favourite of ours!
A track that caught our attention at C2C this year was ‘Nashville Heart’. We have attached a video of the Brooklyn Bowl performance below. When we interviewed Esther and Tim, Esther mentioned that they are influenced by Lady Antebellum, who they heard on the radio during a trip to the US. This is evident on ‘Nashville Heart’, a track that is reminiscent of early Lady A material. A real image-provoking tale of someone chasing a dream, depicting the magic of Nashville where “everyone plays and sings their dreams”. Put it this way, if the likes of Miranda or Carrie recorded it, this would be a number one hit.
Other highlights include ‘Legacy’, a rather stripped-back tune with such powerful lyrics. A tale of a mother and father of four, leaving a ‘legacy’ and making a lasting impact on their family that will “never die”. Lyrically, this is the stand-out track on the album as it will resonate with a lot of people and is clearly written from the heart. Not to mention the slick production and stunning instrumentation that compliment Esther and Tim’s gorgeous harmonies.
Also, don’t miss ‘Coastline’, a real sit-up-and-listen track. It doesn’t really fit the trend of the rest of the album with its rather haunting melody, but it’s so infectious and you become wrapped up in it from the first note. ‘When We Were Young’ is an equally gorgeous offering, showcasing Ashton Lane at their very best. This wouldn’t be out of place on any Lady Antebellum album.
The final track, ‘One Kiss Later’, has just been released as the new single. Definitely the most mainstream-orientated, radio-friendly track on the album and one that is tailor made for the live shows. A great sing-a-long chorus, and a track that has clearly become a fan favourite since the album’s release. Country radio – get this one on your playlists!!
It would simply take too long to praise each track individually, but there really aren’t any weak spots here. Each and every track has something special and there are no ‘fillers’ in sight; it’s an album you can play from start to finish without any hesitation. Make sure you go and check it out, Esther and Tim deserve your support. Without the backing of a major label, the quality of this whole album is seriously impressive.