“Ashley Woodruff” (self-titled EP)

Every now and again, the world of music is graced with a star that contains etches from the past and a voice of the NOW that makes an artist that truly shines.  The VOICE has their Tessanne Chin (winner of Season 5) and American Idol has their Kelly Clarkson (winner of season 1), and Indie Music have our Ashley Woodruff.

Like Tessanne Chin and Kelly Clarkson, Woodruff has powerful, belting, vocals and she holds a subtle, yet, commanding female empowering style and image that demands attention.  She has the beauty and the brains, and her songwriting illustrates that fact as Woodruff writes songs from scratch and allows the genre to become alive as the music is made – this makes for an artist that is pitting for longevity and a spot on the charts, and her latest EP places her right there! 

This is a review of her self-titled EP “Ashley Woodruff.”  Nine tracks fill this EP: 

  1. My Heart Always Does
  2. Where Did the Time Go? 
  3. Make You Mine
  4. Without You
  5. So Long (Feat. Katrina Pomeroy)
  6. Please Tell Me
  7. More Than A Spark
  8. By My Side (Feat. Sherice Mccoshen)
  9. I’m In Control 

Each track hits the heart in its center and is repeat-worthy, but in this review, I will highlight the six tracks that fully illustrate Woodruff’s lyrical theme of how nostalgic love is the only way to balance the scales of life. 

No better way to get an EP going than with a guitar/piano stirring stairstep melody, and that is what “My Heart Always Does” brings to the album.  Complementing the music is Woodruff’s vocals which are crystal clear, and she is pitch perfect.  Almost opera with her approach to scales, Woodruff presents an ice-strong, yet pillow-soft, voiced effect by staying in a high register throughout the piece but delving down during the verse end-note trills.  The guitars and piano play hard on this Adult Contemporary track and spins a web that catches you in the clutches of a story about love and passion.

Guitars playfully introduce the second track “Where Did the Time Go?” – a spirited mid-tempo Pop track that spurs memories of high school pep rallies and new weekend experiences.  Woodruff does not disappoint vocally as she chose to utilize a more up close and personal vocal execution on this track which adds more emotion.  The lyrics sing “we lived in the moment” and illustrates how love, although new, can be real and fleeting.  Just acoustic guitars and a voice and we have a modern Pop track that is sure to wrap itself around you. 

Make You Minehas a nice soulful bounce to it.  Woodruff’s scales and trills are powerful and has a deep jazzy Soprano that resonates an equality to Brenda Russel (the voice behind the 1988 hit “Piano in the Dark”) in its flavor and cadence.  A quick mid-tempo track that builds slowly and then soars vocally along with the inclusion of brass, adlibs, slant rhyme, and vocal effects, “Make You Mine” is unforgettable and seasoned.

Sorry to sound cliché, but a love song never goes out of style, and if you are longing for one, then look no further, because “Without You” is that track.  Featuring a timeless, powerful, melody along with soul-stirring piano chords that follow the lead of Woodruff’s vocals, this track sits on your heart and makes you think.  A story about taking back your power after lost love, this Modern/Classic track is easy on the ears and awakening.  Today in music, we rarely here an originally written song structured where there is a foundation, storyline, verse, chorus, bridge, and buildup to the outro, and it was ah-mazing hearing this from Woodruff.

More Than A Spark” is a Pop Rock track with a nice Modern bounce to it – the synths lead this track and the bass bottom keeps the pace.  The overall structure of this track is different than the other tracks on the EP as it rides low and scales back musically in the hook which adds texture to the EP and an urban-new wave vibe that is great.  This track is a nice contemporary way to define true love and how love is the spark that lights up living life.

And for my Hip-Hop fans, check out “By My Side” which features Sherice Mccoshen.   The command to the beat on the eighth track offers another approach to Adult Contemporary music as it marries Hip-Hop to AC/Pop delicately.  Mccoshen’s spits and rhymes fused with Woodruff’s delicate verses, added to a sort of Modern/quasi music box meets classical instrumentation, makes for a GREAT clip on so many levels.  A great track to lyrically explain how having a ride or die partner in life makes life so worth living.

This Pop / AC singer/songwriter from Ontario, Canada has climbed the ladder of music rung by rung to develop artistry, passion, and a voice.  This started by singing and writing songs from her youth on to classical vocal training.  Woodruff then began performing through recitals and school talent shows to go on to major in Vocal Music at Sudbury Secondary School.  To polish her talent, Ashley started competing at festivals and releasing cover songs online.  This all spun her into performing at many different venues and events, and now with experience, chops, and drive, Woodruff has released her self-titled EP “Ashley Woodruff,” and aren’t we so glad to have this musical jewel? 

It is no secret that Ashley Woodruff is a star ready to explode and we have just heard the prelude to her music voyage.  Yoking practical storylines with skilled vocals and mixing that with varied genres that speak musically to so many cultures will make Woodruff a household name like Tessanne Chin, Kelly Clarkson, and OneRepublic.  

By listening to her latest music, we see that Woodruff can be sweet or rough; she can soar, and she can dig down into the soul; she can vibe vocally with Hip-Hop, Rap, and Rock, and she can just chill with Pop, AC, or Classical, and that makes her a force, better yet, a VOICE to be reckoned with as there will be no stopping her.  Ashely Woodruff has spirit and talent and she is here to stay.  Please keep up with the artist by going to her page or on Twitter!

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