is a veteran of the English folk-rock scene with a bent toward writing original songs. Everyday Lives
finds him with a number talented friends, casually putting their mark on 14 songs. The title cut opens with a dense layer of sound and Ashley
's resonant voice. Moroccan drums and charming fiddle are added to "Catch Him If You Can," and an eclectic mix of mandolins, bouzoukis, harmonicas, melodeons, and electric guitars creates a rich blend throughout the album. The mysterious lyrics of "By the Light of the Moon" are set to a melody that will leave the listener humming, and the overall mood of the piece is enhanced by pleasant harmony and tastefully played electric guitar. "Say Goodbye" has a traditional feel, evoking country doctors and fair maidens, and is brought to fullness by Chris Leslie
's mandolin. Lyrically, Ashley
states that these songs came "from a long period of refection." They concentrate on "everyday" incidents and of life in the country, giving the album a thematic unity. "Wintertime Has Turned to Spring" draws upon the seasons to create a simple, striking song that mirrors the ups and downs of a love affair. This song slips quietly into "And I Always Will," a declaration of love that remains despite differences and angry words. Everyday Lives
succeeds musically, lyrically, and vocally. It offers a perfect combination of the old and new, much as the best English folk-rockers and singer/songwriters always have. For Ashley
's fans and fans of the English folk scene, Everyday Lives
will be a rewarding listening experience.