Born and raised in America’s Midwest, Ashley Ozepy has been writing and playing music since she picked up her first guitar as a curious 14 years old. Now, at 20 years old, she is really starting to come into her own. Performing under the moniker ‘Ash Briggs’, she deems prominent artists such as Jake Bugg, Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn of Blur Fame as muses’. A notable feat for one so young, she produces her own sound using a small four track recorder and multiple programmes on a laptop computer. She regularly gigs around the States when she can.
The release of her self-titled EP in 2014 signified the beginning of her foray into the unknown. The first of five tracks entitled ‘Company World’ channels a sound similar to Oasis’ with an acoustic guitar, you can’t help but find yourself swaying along to the consistent sound of the melody. The lyrics depict today’s society, the stereotypes and what is considered ‘the norm’. The sound of a synthesized keyboard places even more emphasis on how mellow this track is. ‘The Other Side’ is a catchy, easy listen. Acoustic vibes entangled with Briggs’ soft, clean voice. Well contemplated lyrics disclose the feelings of a small town girl who longs to see the world (from the heart on Briggs part perhaps). ‘Me & You’ is a love song that wouldn’t be out of place in an old down and out blues bar. The only downsides to this track is that it appears to drag out, lyrically it is nothing new but it still has great listening quality. ‘Hollow’ and ‘Understanding, Hardly’ are both fine examples of a young adults mind. Gentle, reworked versions of ‘teen angst’ that allow the listener inside her head for a fraction of time. The wonders of an acoustic guitar make both of these tracks a bit more of a pleasant listen than the customary tetchy angst genre. All in all a worthy launch into the music world.
Briggs style of music reflects her roots – Americana slash modern day Joni Mitchell folksy with a little bit of indie thrown in for good measure. A real pleasure it must have been to grow up in this area of the States, famed for Jazz, Blues, Country, Motown and Rock and Roll. Having a father who lives and breathes Country Music, I listen to the stories of his ventures to New Orleans and Nashville and wonder had I been alive in the days when this genre was really prevalent would my musical taste have been a lot different now. However listening to artists like Ash who have dragged with them the musical roots that have shaped their lives and found a way to incorporate them into modern sounds – and with heart I might add – it’s easy to believe we have the best of both worlds. Here’s hoping that when she finally flees Ohio she will continue to carry a little bit of that Middle American Charisma in her music.
Written by Julie Bell