“Now And Then” by Dan Ashley
It’s safe to call Dan Ashley something of a veteran, in regards to his corner of the music industry. Blending Country, Americana, and Soft Rock, Ashley errs on the adult contemporary demographic, and it’s precisely where he is most effective. On his new single “Now And Then” he fittingly channels 60’s am standards, with his own brand of modern AmeriRock. The result is a slightly flawed, yet soul-stirring and gentle breeze of a musical overture. Recalling the experiences of yesteryear and introducing them to the reflections of today, “Now And Then” is exactly what you expect, but the water goes deeper than anticipated.
Dan’s reputation precedes him, having shared the stage with Dionne Warwick, Neal Schon of Journey, and Brad Gillis of Night Ranger fame. He’s opened for several major names as well, giving him a golden wall of accolades. Despite this, Ashley still embodies something of a Pop Singer/Everyman. When you hear Ashley’s voice, for the first time, the Neil Diamond comparisons are inevitable. Seeing as how Diamond, himself, never fit snugly into any strict genre, it’s easy to draw a parallel for Dan Ashley.
“Now And Then” is a song that, although you can hear Ashley’s influences, still comes off as primarily original. The instrumentation is lush, and visual, as Dan Ashley weaves lyrical imagery, with a spirited delivery. There are a few balancing issues in the final mix, but the track still succeeds in being catchy. The musical landscape certainly has more avenues to discover new artists or music, than ever. The issue is that the sheer quantity can make it an overwhelming undertaking.
Therefore, it is something of a bold move to write and release a song, such as “Now And Then” considering it is not easily pigeonholed. Of course, that hinges upon what Mr. Ashley’s goals are. As for now, his new single isn’t weighed down by being overly self-aware. There is a naturalness about Ashley, that spreads itself across “Now And Then.” To see an artist willfully, and in some ways, obliviously be themselves in an era of conformity and assimilation by way of fashion or signaling, is assuring.
“Air is crisp and clear/capella high/gracing the sky.” Dan Ashley uses these words, among others, to conjure a portrait of an autumn day, rife with color and wonderment. His lyrical prowess is quite strong, and the music doesn’t fully lay the groundwork, for such prose. Somehow music and lyric blend together, cohesively, though, and what we get is an unexpectedly well-rounded piece. “Now And Then” will almost assuredly grow on you, like the garden of thought it cultivates.
Dan Ashley is quoted as saying, life is so much about transitions, one moment in life, or one period to the next. The changes we incur, whether self-initiated or circumstantial, are one of the few certainties we can truly count on. We can often find ourselves waging a futile war, in resistance to these changes, or desperate to accelerate them. It is the moments in between, that are among the most impactful and defining. Minding the gap, between now and then, gives us the most profound perspective, to shift the vicissitudes into a series of fortunate events.
Gwen Waggoner, posted by Michael Rand