It all started in a gravel pit in the North Maine Woods. A reluctant graduate student in geology, Kay Ashley was withering under the flinty stare of the noonday sun, hacking away at 10,000-year-old glacial sediments with an army issue hoe pick, all while providing lunch to the legendary northern Maine black flies--and she thought, "there must be something better than this." So, Kay decided to leave the rocks in the gravel pits where they belonged, and to return to her first love: music. This prompted a move to New York City and most recently, a relocation to sunny California, and the rest is but a nanosecond in geologic history.
Kay Ashley is a contemporary singer-songwriter whose influences range from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, to Joni Mitchell, Michael Hedges, Nick Drake, and Hindustani classical music. Her music is impressionistic yet infectious, catchy yet harmonically adventurous. Her songs settle into your consciousness as if they've always been there, but take you on unexpected twists and turns.
Kay's debut CD, "Heliotrope," co-produced by Grammy Award winner Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan, Lenny Kravitz), was released on March 21, 2009, and features performances by Michael Leonhart, Martha Colby (October Project), Raquy Danziger, Timothy Hill (The Harmonic Choir), elizabeth!, Jenny Goodspeed, Sean McCaul (Philip Glass), Bill Dobrow (Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright), and David Pilgrim.
In 2008, Billboard Magazine honored Kay with 4 top-tier Honorable Mentions in the 15th Annual Billboard World Song Contest: "Beautiful" placed in both the Folk and Pop categories; "Holy Man" placed in the World category; and "The Wind Is Gonna Blow You Down" placed in the Rock category. Kay was also selected to perform in the prestigious "Folk DJ's Choice" Showcase at the 2008 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference.
In 2010, Kay relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, where the weather is nicer, and where people also like music.