SXSW may be over, but the music that was discovered is still lingering and will last longer than the memories. A late addition to SXSW was a South Philadelphia band, The Ashton John Band, built around the work of Ashton John and featuring band members, lead guitarist Tom Monari (Philly Local Impact Live!), Drummer Jack Firneno (Church Girls, Cicada Jade) and bassist Frank Gana (Static Lounge) as well as Kevin Schramm (the Gracious), filling in on bass during the festival.
John primarily composes music on an acoustic guitar and recently added a band to help extract the pure elements of his voice. His vocals are what carries the songs throughout the music, especially on his acoustic work. A strong voice, that has gently qualities and a slight rasp when low, that resonates against the acoustic beautifully, and reminds me of early work from Jason Castro. “Nothing,” is a personal favorite, drawing on self-reflectiveness and the notion of belief.
The videos from the first night are now up to share John and his band’s performances. The band played at Love Goat on March 19th, and 219 West on March 21st. Besides covers being played, an original entitled “Green Eyes,” is worth checking out for the romantic at heart, and is quite a lovely performance that showcases the versatility of John’s voice, his vocal energy, and the musical direction being taken, compared to his earlier work. The drumming in this performance is a notable favorite feature, along with the guitar riff towards the end of the song that embodies a Tom Petty influence.
“We’re lucky and grateful to get this opportunity so quickly after getting together,” said John. “But here we are, and now we’re trying to make these shows the first of many SXSW appearances.” – Little Furnace Records