Ashleigh Caudill: Rebellion and Attitude
by Keith Barnacastle
Ashleigh Caudill’s most recent project is The Road Rolls on Songwriter’s session, volume II 2019 which is a digital release. The digital release features songs that might not make it on the album, in addition to songs from her regular touring schedule. This doesn’t mean they’re not good enough for a CD. Being digitally released means only that the songs are outside the realm of the current project, but still need to be heard.
The Winter Bluegrass Songwriters Session June 2017 is only available online. It’s an experiment to see if people will buy it on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. Her earlier release is the CD Loony Bird in 2016 and currently available as well. Ashleigh says that she likes the feel of the cd case and the disc for her music, but times do change. The Winter Blues Song Writer Session has been a success; she is looking to do another series in 2018.
These will be tunes that she writes and plays live on her shows.
The digital release captures the real vibe of the musicians that play with her and it resonates with the people who buy the digital release. She has had numerous artists, play with her, like Molly Tuttle, Jake Stargell, Kyle Tuttle, Jenny Lyn and Allen Barchem a favorite bass player of hers. The second digital release will be announced this month, January 2018, but Ashleigh is not sure what style it will be. However, it promises to be unique.
Volume II is leaning toward the singer-songwriter. Ashleigh says, “It is stripped down songs with pedal steel and electric guitar, along with a solo of Ashleigh singing and playing the bass.”
Caudill’s songs take you on a lonely train ride through the mountains, a drive along the countryside, or back in time, with warm, dancing vocal melodies and spacious, unique acoustic instrumentation.
Ashleigh loves the traditional bluegrass songs but says if the song can carry itself, it can be released in another genre and sound. In her touring schedule and events, she does play the digital volume songs and traditional bluegrass tunes. She does cover songs but likes to put her spin on the tune which makes it fun and magical.
Ashleigh was able to attend Merle Fest because of the song she wrote “Row by Row.” It was her first cut. She was working in North Carolina on April 1, 2012, when she was notified. She thought it was a mean joke by some friends and said it can’t be real. She thought, is someone messing with me. The Song “Row by Row” got her to Merle Fest and it was a blast. The song ended up on The Balsam Range album, Papertown (2012), and was nominated for an IBMA award.
Ashleigh feels that touring solo shows you don’t have anyone to lean on. It’s raw, just you and your skills with the banjo, or with the upright bass. It’s fun taking that out to the fans and relying on oneself and no one else.
Bluegrass instruments are what she grew up on. That traditional sound has always been a part of her music, even though her shows may not always be in the traditional sound.
It’s pure rebellion and attitude, you can’t take it away if that is what you love to do. It’s Monroe, Flatt, Scruggs. They did it like the way they like to do it.
Ashleigh has learned so much from the bluegrass community. It’s like no other genre. You learn from your mentors and kids like you. They all come together and play. Strangers become family. You don’t remember how or where you learned it, but you just remember it.
Ashleigh loves being with her family and enjoys singing with her sister in Colorado when they have family get-togethers. But, her best traveling companion while on the road is Ruby …her dog.