Ashleigh Flynn grew up in Kentucky and cut her teeth on local bluegrass music. She arrived on the national scene in 2008 with the release of her third record, American Dream, and continues playing national and international stages with the release of A Million Stars (2013). A prolific songwriter, Flynn is also an electrifying performer blessed with unbridled charisma. Other full-length studio records include Chokecherry (2002) and Ashleigh Flynn, self-titled (1999) and a live record, Sneakin’ Out with Ashleigh Flynn (2005).
I was fortunate to catch up with Ashleigh last weekend as she played the first annual Sundown Grand Ol’ Country Festival on July 22nd at McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove with her all-girl band the Riveters: Nancy Luca on lead guitar, Carmen Paradise on bass and Jolie Clausen on the drums.
Another fantastic choice for the artist residency program at Al’s Den! All week long, from Sunday night through Saturday night, Portland audiences have the chance to hang out and drink beer with musicians of depth and substance- it’s the true essence of community in music. Thank you McMenamins!
This program has featured artists from many musical backgrounds, but tends to focus on local flavor, with an emphasis on storytelling and sharing. It’s always a nice surprise to learn what a musician will do when given a week to tell their story! Who will they include…and how? With Portland Notes focusing on local women in the music scene this month, I had to catch an interview with Ashleigh Flynn. This brave woman was biking all day in 80 degree weather – then walked into Al’s Den, set up her own sound system, grabbed a margarita, and proceeded to tell me about her residency, even as the audience filed in. I adore her openness and accessibility – to allow the fans to be included in every part of the evening’s process was generous and delightful.
I was so thrilled that Ashleigh Flynn utilized this week’s residency to present what she called a Songwriter Extravaganza featuring some talented local singer/songwriters. Every night, a different guest and a different collaborative song! Monday night’s guest was Nicole Potulsky – watching the interaction between these two filled my heart with joy. Nicole: “When do you want me to go on – 8-9?” Ashleigh: “Sure – or 8:10-8:55…” (Laughter) This week, Ashleigh invited Kathryn Claire to join her on the night of her CD release. The Low Arc of the Sun will be available through Ashleigh’s website and on Soundcloud.. She also hosts Lewi Longmire, Kory Quinn, Virginia Cohen, The Ukeladies, Anita Lee Elliott, Annalisa Tornfelt, and Kate O’Brien! All shows are free, 7-10 PM.
In our audio interview (below), Ashleigh and I gush over the value of live performance. Seeing Ashleigh live is an experience to be treasured. Her songs tell deeply emotional stories, and her connection with the audience is constant. Sharp, clever, but warmly motivated humor eased the transitions between emotionally charged songs. Her album was recorded live at Secret Society, and ties deeply to Portland. You can check out a few of her new songs in advance on Soundcloud. Please enjoy the photos and interview, and check out Ashleigh’s website for the new CD and upcoming shows!