LAUREN ASHLEY AND THE TRAINWRECKERS
Lauren Ashley walks out. And the band plays.
She surveys the room. It’s a scene Ashley is accustomed to seeing the first time she plays a venue. Women tend to congregate at the front of the stage; the men saddling up to the bar…
…until the Trainwreckers hit that first chord.
“I think everyone has an expectation when they see a woman take the stage,” says Ashley. “My girls are usually with me from the get-go, while the guys are kind of known to hang back. But I would notice by the second or third song, the ladies are usually making room for them. I got more surprised comments from guys after shows telling me, 'Your music rocks. Y'all are awesome!’
"My girls are usually with me from the get-go"
Yes, Lauren Ashley has a way of bringing two genders together. But its her ability to find the perfect common ground between two genres - the energy and vitality of rock ‘n’ roll with the honest, storytelling of country music – that can make her music’s next breakout star. The country part of the equation? Well, that comes easy. Try not being country growing up in Griffin, Georgia, a sleepy little town 60 miles south of Atlanta. Her childhood was spent belting out Deana Carter and Shania Twain songs from the back seat. In fact, while competing in the high school choir, Lauren was at one time gently informed she had “just a little too much of an accent” to perform a coveted solo. (“I totally would have won,” Ashley sighs.)
But the girl who was a little too country for choir also developed a serious love for rock ‘n’ roll. It runs in the family. Lauren’s mom, Deanna, raised her daughter on a steady diet of 70s classics. It was the singer/songwriters with swagger -- Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks – that made a lasting impression. “Stevie was my Mom’s favorite,” remembers Ashley. “She would always turn up the volume whenever she came on. I just remember that voice coming through the speaker and it just grabbing me. It wasn’t until later on that I realized how talented and unique of a songwriter and artist she was, which really made an impact on my style and artistry.”
While Nicks was a creative inspiration, it was Petty and the Heartbreakers that would provide the blueprint for a career. Although she first started out as solo artist, Lauren knew early on she wanted – she needed -- the bond of a band. “I’m a huge family person and the idea of having that camaraderie and fellowship for this journey-- it’s always been very appealing to me.”
And what a journey it has been. In this digital age of social media shooting stars and big-break-via-Youtube videos, the 26-year-old Ashley and her band have very purposefully honed their talents the old-fashioned way: by playing music live anywhere, anytime and for anybody. They have perfected their craft with 40-song, three-hour sets and booking over 100 shows a year. “I was playing some honkytonks and clubs before I was even old enough to get in the door,” remembers Ashley. “We cut our teeth in some rough places, but you learn so much about who you are as a performer. You learn how to handle adversity. Your mic goes out, keep playing. Your heel breaks on stage, keep playing. Your guitar player has to hit the restroom mid-song, keep playing.”
Years of entertaining a live audience helped Lauren Ashley find her voice as a writer. Finding inspiration in honesty, she was determined to put a piece of herself in her music. Yet, as Ashley’s own songs began to make their way into her set lists, fan reaction helped her realize country music could be much more than three chords and her truth. “I started noticing after shows, people would come up to me and tell me how much a certain song meant to them, or helped them get through something,” says Ashley. “At that moment I knew I was fulfilling my calling of being a songwriter. Being a voice for people and touching people with my songs and lyrics is what it is all about to me, and why I absolutely love the power of songwriting and country music.”
Ashley’s innate ability to convey her story and connect with fans is on full display in her new single “One Fine Day.” It’s an anthem for anyone grinding through the everyday with a dream in his or her heart. “I got the idea for this song when a relative was asking me how my career was going and at the end of our conversation he said 'one fine day, baby girl, you're going to make it'. It stuck with me for a while and was the inspiration behind the song. It was based off of my dream and the struggles I have gone through while chasing that dream, but I also wanted it to be left up to each listener's interpretation. I wanted them to think about their own “One Find Day.” Whatever dream they are chasing, I hope this song inspires them to take off after it and never look back!”
That's why scores of fans will follow and flock to her music. You can't just fake what she's got. She is a true refined rebel!
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