It’s always great to see bands and artists paying homage to the late greats before them. So many new musicians are unnecessarily testing themselves to create flashy, innovative music that they often lose sight of their original goal: making solid, enjoyable music. And for every new take on lo-fi, or dubstep, or whatever the hip new genre is, is a band desperately trying to make it the honest way. And like Wilco sung on, fittingly, “The Late Greats”: “I can’t hear it on the radio, I don’t hear it anywhere I go,” too many bands go unheard.
From the outset, Ash Gray had lofty goals in mind, moving from town to town to find a suitable home for his needs. And though he shuffled through different line-ups before settling on four backing females, he’s always been progressing towards reaching a desirable destiny. These women help make up Ash Gray and the Girls and their new EP, This Could Be a Wild Night, presents just how far Gray has come, both as a musician and bandleader.
Opting for delivering an album that is filled with nods to The Mamas and Papas and classic rock, the music is sometimes too playful but never pretentious. Everything from the opening salvo “Your Gun is Out” (where you are greeted by the women quickly jabbing their call and response with Gray with exciting results) to the bluntly honest “I Never Said I Love You” (where Gray trades his noise for an acoustic guitar and shyly decorated backing vocals), his confidence is paramount to the album’s overall success. He even goes as far as stating, “…but I knew you would” on the latter and it goes a long way towards displaying a release that is dynamically sound.
The growling guitar on “Fire Away” is obviously influenced by Gray’s close friend Richie Ranno (Starz) with its fueling energy and fire. It closes out the album with an energy that leaves a positive impression on what they’ve presented. It’s not the most substantially music but that isn’t the point either, this is all about enjoying life and finding enjoyable music to relish in.
So even if information on them is scarce and limited, fans of 60s rock, retro pop infusion and the blending of male and female vocals will love an EP like This Could Be a Wild Night. Don’t let the photo-chopped cover or that silly title deter you because once Gray gets going, it’s unlikely he’ll stop. And by then, you’ll be hooked onto what he and his backing females are singing about.