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Kay Ashley: Press


...it's like the music of a temple of the future...
Erik Hoffner, photographer
Kay Ashley's gorgeous, moving "Heliotrope" occupies a charmed point triangulated by Joni Mitchell's "Hejira," Paul Simon's "Graceland," and Nick Drake's "Pink Moon." A master of stacked vocal harmonies and alternate guitar tunings, Ashley's melodies are instantly memorable yet devoid of cliché ... At once a love letter to Africa, India, and men in her past, "Heliotrope" is a travelogue of the soul—betraying the influence of far-flung cultures while remaining both recognizably American and distinctly universal.
Andrew Hultkrans - SPIN Magazine
Kay's voice and songs are both tender and clear and take us into the warmth of intimate emotions. With her guitar and melodies, she performs not only a great American pop ballad with a twist of blues, of groove, of world music . . . but she also opens up to a lot of joy.
Marie Afonso (formerly of Zap Mama)
Several things jump right out at you upon the first listening of Kay Ashley's wonderful new album "Heliotrope":
1. Her songs and chord changes are unique yet accessible and never go where you expect them to;
2. Her powerful and spot-on soprano soars effortlessly through even the most challenging of intervals;
3. Her gift for memorable melody is instantly evident and intoxicatingly infectious.
Heliotrope is by definition a brilliant lavender color, and it's an appropriate title for Ms. Ashley's album as the ten tracks are a varied sampling of a wide palette of musical colors: Middle Eastern modes and Indian instruments, acoustic guitars, stacked vocal harmonies, piano, coolly understated horn sections, vibraphone, and many other sounds, all executed in a blend which is a joy to listen to and ends before you'd like. She clearly wears her influences on her sleeve (Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell come to mind) and she does include a cover of Drake's haunting "Pink Moon,” which fits right into her folk-jazz-rock hybrid sound. But to label her as an interpretive artist is to do her a disservice as the powerful composer that she is in her own right. Songs like "Eyes So Bright,” "The Wind Is Gonna Blow You Down,” and "Holy Man” would be proud entries in anyone's canon and they serve to signal Kay Ashley as a singer and songwriter to keep an eye (and an ear) on.