Title - 'All The Pretty Things' (Riled Up Records)
Artist - Ashley Riley
As her very own press release adamantly, and correctly states, with a voice that soars strong and full and hushes soft and sweet, Ashley Riley pulls you into her songs of life's hardships and hopes. Often compared to Stevie Nicks or Jewel, her sound is something you won't soon forget.
And so we begin with the gently-melodic ‘Made Of Dreams,’ a track that immediately showcases Riley’s tender, emotive vocal tone to the max. The more upbeat, heartfelt storytelling title track is next and is backed by the album filler ‘Bulletproof’ and then one of the best tracks on this album, the upbeat ‘Hard To Hold.’
With Riley herself on acoustic guitar, piano, Hammond B-3 Organ and even the bells, you could be forgiven for thinking she was a one-woman-band. But here on All The Pretty Things she is also joined by Matt Comerford on bass and the Leslie switch operator, Ian Hoerr on drums and chimes, Cole Groves on lead guitar and Mark Rubel on the synthesizer.
Next up is ‘Love Shark,’ a free-flowing Jazz café-esque swoon of a track that is yet another true highlight of this wonderful album. And I say album as I truly would love to have heard this on vinyl. I can just imagine how beautiful it would have made it to hear those “LP” sounds coming through my speakers.
Anyway, moving on and we get some nimble acoustic guitar work on ‘Tell Me When,’ before the lyrically-clever ‘Trouble’ comes along. The album is then brought to a close with the vibrant breeze of ’Next Big’ and then finally the seductive ballad ’Lie To Me.’
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk