Okay, so his name sounds like he should be a handsome, tortured billionaire (maybe with amnesia or a secret love child) on a daytime soap opera (and wait, he kind of looks like it too!), but Ashton Allen actually makes some good alternative indie folk. While musicians must tire of comparisons, in order to give you a sense of his sound, it is heavily influenced by first & foremost Elliott Smith, and The Beatles. Hea-vi-ly. And you've got the ghosts of Paul & Art traipsing around in the background as well (you can also say Simon & Garfunkel, but we are on a first name basis, so...ya know).
KFOG tipped me to this fine chap, saying "Atlanta singer/songwriter Ashton Allen adds even more melody [than Nick Drake and Iron & Wine], a little more pace, Beatle-esque horns, clean and honest strings, crisp percussion and flawless production on his debut solo album . . . Irresistible."
I very much like the entire Dewdrops album (2005), with its minor melodies, double-tracked vocals and rich/varied instrumentation. I have listened to it more often than any other new album I have gotten in the last few months. However, I'll raise this point for discussion: If I were a HUGE Elliott Smith fan, instead of the fairly new & moderate one that I am, I might have a hard time not dwelling on just how *much* he sounds like Mr. Smith (especially pronounced on tracks like "Drive" and "World's Fair").
I liken it to the way that I cannot ever under ANY circumstances listen to Creed, just because the first time I heard them they made me turn up the radio to see if it was a new Pearl Jam song I was hearing. I've never forgiven them for that. So, Elliott fans I think you will like Ashton, but I'd be curious to know.
It is really good stuff (and I am not, godforbid, comparing him with Creed - *shudder*). My only minor qualm would be that some of the lyrics are rather unimaginative and pedestrian, but I do like the music and I would recommend the album.
"Dewdrops" - Ashton Allen (finger-picking melody, lonely shoe-tapping percussion).
"If You Leave" - Ashton Allen (crack out the piano, on this, the most Beatlesesque tune on the disc)
"Starting Over" - Ashton Allen (a bit more upbeat, with some mandolin I think)
He's on eMusic, for those of you looking for a worthy cause to spend your 50 free downloads on. In addition to Ashton Allen, some Otis Redding, and The Turtles, I buckled and bought some me some Tone Loc. Funky cold medina indeed.