Anna Ash Premieres New Album “Floodlights”
Ash has called the record the most honest thing she’s ever made, and it repeatedly surprises me with its poignant moments. Every song is a beautifully frank observation of love—its endings, beginnings, and troubled in-betweens. All of it true, all of it delivered by Ash’s simultaneously confident and delicate soprano.
Floodlights is folk and country with touches of blues, funk, and soul—with tracks variously trimmed with slide guitar, pedal steel, and Wurlitzer. Ash includes a cover of similarly genre’d Lucinda Williams’s “Fruits of My Labor” on the record. I shamelessly love it way more than the original. The single “Player” epitomizes sass, delivering a matter-of-fact assessment of a deluded lover. The title track closes the album on a heartbreaking ending proclaiming “it ain’t gonna kill you to sleep alone once in a while.” Floodlights has an emotional topography as varied as Ash’s vocal range, with hills that’ll tickle your belly, heart, and mind.
The album is borne from the creative contributions of many, and, like Ash, it’s done a lot of cross-country traveling to arrive in its present manifestation. Ash reunited with her “Michigan band”—made up of Joe Dart, Julian Allen, and James Cornelison from Ann Arbor—in Northfield, Minnesota to record at friend Michael Morris’s studio. It was mixed and overdubbed with the help of Joey Dosik, Theo Katzman, Brett Farkas, Ben Tolliday, and Dan Horne back in Los Angeles. Pasadena-based Devin Kerr mastered it. Detroit’s Lo and Behold Records is releasing the cassette on their label. And Ash has spent the summer up and down the state of Michigan playing shows and promoting the record.
If that sounds like a hustle, well, that’s because it is. That’s what Ash does, in her own, low-key, even-paced kind of way—sometimes accompanied by a glass of wine and a joint. Lucky for us, we get to take a bite of the fruits of her labor.