Ashley Sherlock : Just A Name Review
Manchester’s Modern Axe-Wielder: The Rise of Ashley Sherlock
Manchester, a historic music hub, routinely delivers groundbreaking artists to the global stage. Every decade, its streets echo with the sound of a new band ready to etch their legacy. This decade, that roar comes from guitarist and singer-songwriter, Ashley Sherlock, with his debut album Just A Name, released under Ruf Records. The album encapsulates the powerful synergy of Sherlock’s telepathic blues-rock trio, shaped by the ever-vibrant Charlie Rachael Kay on bass and the dynamic Danny Rigg on drums.
The inception of this band, as recalled by Ashley, is reminiscent of a serendipitous accident. A solo act turned into an electrifying trio, which now resonates like a family. Sherlock’s journey has been punctuated with two compelling EPs and his nomination as the UK Blues Federation’s Young Blues Artist of the Year in 2022. Reviews from Louder Than War and Get Ready to Rock attest to Sherlock’s captivating influence on listeners.
As you dive into Just A Name, you’re immediately enveloped by the hues of blues seasoned with soul, pop, and hard rock. Each song unfurls a narrative, from tales of lost love to personal growth. Sherlock’s inspirations, from the likes of Guns N’ Roses to Jeff Buckley, are evident, lending an eclectic vibe to the album.
“Trouble,” the opening salvo, tantalizes with its sweet and sour rock essence, showcasing Sherlock’s deft guitar touch and stirring falsetto. The song’s progression from the gentle hi-hat pattern to an electrifying chorus rings of the band’s cohesiveness.
“Dear Elizabeth,” with its ethereal guitar tone, paints a melancholic picture of a plea to a lost friend. The song’s journey from an intimate verse to a sonically textured chorus highlights Sherlock’s command over his craft. Meanwhile, “Realise,” with its raw urgency, and “Goodbye To You,” with its punctuated chords and silences, oscillate between drama and intensity.
In tracks like “I Think She Knows” and “Our Love,” Sherlock showcases his ability to slow down and produce music that’s equally, if not more, powerful.
Eschewing luxurious studios, Sherlock and his bandmates chose Manchester’s Hallam Mill to lay down this album. Recorded in the bone-chilling winter, the backdrop of an old English cotton mill adds a raw authenticity to the album. Despite the freezing conditions, the recording process, according to Sherlock, was a journey that not only cemented their bond but also deepened their mutual understanding of the music.
In Just A Name, Ashley Sherlock upholds Manchester’s enduring legacy of producing stellar musical talents. Each track unfolds as a meticulously crafted journey, anchored by the rhythm section’s cohesive interplay, Sherlock’s haunting vocals, and intricate guitar licks. This album is poised to etch a lasting impression on its listeners, encapsulating the spirit of a contemporary blues-rock artist with a deep respect for the greats. The world waits with bated breath for the future brilliance this band promises to deliver. A must-listen.
Just A Name
June 16, 2023