Songwriter, bassist and banjo player Ashleigh Caudill's take on traditional folklore is catching the ears of both music enthusiasts in Nashville and beyond. Her newest collection, Looney Bird, is out April 1, and creates a journey full of adventure, hope and love lost and found.
Caudill's new album is brimming with the promise Nashville's young music scene has to offer, thanks to the help of talent including Jenni Lyn Gardner (Della Mae), Caroline Spence and David Grier. Co-produced with Jim Hurst, the album "exemplifies one of the most exciting musical trends to be heard today," according to award-winning songwriter and bluegrass staple Jon Weisberger - that is, traditional roots music with a new spin, a different take on the themes and sounds that have shaped American music past.
Though eight of the 12 songs were solo writes by Caudill, she does enlist Weisberger on "Wait for the Sun to Shine Again," a foray into the importance of keeping hope alive, while "Living on the Countryside" is a bright opener to the collection, and songs like "Looney Bird" and "Franklin County" offer a unique approach to traditional bluegrass.
A celebrated bassist, Caudill has played with Angaleena Presley (Pistol Annies), David Grier, Jenni Lyn Gardner (Della Mae), Charlie Sizemore, and Jon Stickley, among many others. She grew up in a musical family in Colorado and began playing bass at an early age, which helped her achieve a scholarship to prestigious Berklee College of Music. In Boston, she discovered her love of both clawhammer banjo and songwriting. Caudill placed second in Merlefest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest two years in a row, and one of those songs, "Row by Row," was recorded by Balsam Range. It reached number one of the Billboard Gospel chart, was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association's recorded gospel performance of the year and was part of the album, Papertown, which won album of the year.
Now a resident of Nashville, Tenn., Caudill's life has taken on an air of the adventure she sings about - sometimes living in her van (named Shevannegains), remaining dedicated to her love of music and storytelling. Her sweet yet powerful vocals, mellow tones of her open back banjo and old-timey storytelling tradition have caught the attention of listeners and celebrated media including Bluegrass Unlimited.
Caudill will tour this summer in support of Looney Bird, beginning with release shows in Colorado:
February 25 - Stem Ciders - Denver, CO
February 27 - City Star Brewery - Berthoud, CO
February 28 - Old Town House Concerts - Fort Collins, CO