Family bands are the backbone of the bluegrass music community and it always pleasing to learn about such a group that has progressed to the level that secures a link-up with one of the more prominent record labels.
Moore County, North Carolina natives Ash Breeze is one of the latest young combinations to aspire to a record deal, signing with Mark Hodges’ Mountain Fever Records.
Formerly known as the Smith Family, the quintet is led by father Allen on bass, and consists of daughter and powerhouse singer Nellie, 15, on fiddle, and three sons, Corey, 17, on vocals and guitar (he is also the producer of the Generation Bluegrass documentaries, a video bluegrass project that is drawing a great deal of attention), Luke, 13, with his steady and polished style on banjo, and Cajon, and Eli, 11, on vocals and mandolin, offering up a speed and finesse that belies his years.
Classically trained, they switched to playing bluegrass music in 2010.
Hodges, is so pleased with the addition of the band to the label ………..
“I was walking down the hall at a music conference in Virginia last spring and heard this voice. I stepped inside and expected to see a twenty-something woman on the stage and instead found this young fiddler singing her heart out with such incredible tone while playing the fire out of her instrument. She sings with such tone and emotion for her age that it is unreal.”
The band’s first single will be out in October with a full project to be released later this year.
Ash Breeze blends folk, jazz, bluegrass, classical, blues and gospel influences to make a distinctive sound, strong on instrumentation and intertwined with tight, melodic family harmonies.
This year they have played at bluegrass festivals in Vermont, Canada and South Carolina, as well as performance slots at the Barbeque and Bluegrass Festivals at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, and Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They have performed at Houstonfest in Galax, and recorded a segment for WUNC’s nationally syndicated show Song of the Mountains. That show will be broadcast in the spring of 2014.
Ash Breeze performed at the IBMA WOB Youth Stage on Saturday during IBMA week.
The phrase ash breeze is an old sailing term that has great meaning to the family. It refers to the ability to row a boat yourself when there isn’t enough breeze to fill the sails. It stems from the time when oars were made of ash wood.
Sailing by ash breeze is a major theme in the book Carry On Mr Bowditch, a family favorite and the source of the inspiration for the band’s very recent name change.
Here is a brief video clip.
Category: Bluegrass recording news
About the Author (Author Profile)
Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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