Combining the best of Johnny Ashby’s British heritage, along with warm, SoCal tones, the 12-track album ‘Time of Our Lives’ is certain to soothe life’s hardships.
Stream: “Time of Our Lives” – Johnny Ashby
Born in the UK and based in Los Angeles, singer/songwriter Johnny Ashby has just unveiled his new 12-track album, Time Of Our Lives. Written and co-produced with Sebastian Fritze, Fredrik Eriksson and Bill Delia from the band Grizfolk, the release pays homage to his upbringing, but through sunset-tinted glasses. Sometimes the blinding lights of Hollywood can make people feel like they need to live life through an Instagram filter, only revealing the best parts of their lives to others.
But for Ashby, this certainly isn’t the case. In fact, his music seems to be more genuine than ever before, with the artist refusing to be anything other than his true self. Time Of Our Lives showcases just that, an entire album all about the artist’s emotions and experiences from the past year. The result is a relatable and heartwarming release, where listeners can cling on to each word, finding a sense of refuge with his lyrical themes.
There’s something so calming and pure about Ashby’s music. No fads or over the top embellishments, just straight up good music from a straight up talented artist. He explains how his initial love for music started after digging through his dad’s old mixtapes as a youngster and it’s easy to believe, with elements of old ’70s and ’80s sounds making their way into his songs, accompanied by modern flares and timeless arrangements.
Perfect for any occasion, there is a song on the album for whatever mood you’re in.
Ashby confides, “This album has been a long time in the making! Being my first full-length record this feels like such a big part of me and artistically it shows a big part of who I am. I really wanted to break that barrier between myself and the listener and be as honest as I could be with these songs. It’s a little peek into what I’ve been feeling and who I am as an artist.”
Dive into our track-by-track review below, and listen Johnny Ashby’s Time of Our Lives, out now!
Stream: ‘Time Of Our Lives’ – Johnny Ashby
:: Inside Time of Our Lives ::
Ashby knows how to get your attention. Beginning the album with a spine-tingling track, pounding drums and haunting vocals draw you in, making sure you stay for the entirety of the album. The song speaks about wanting the opportunity to rewind and do things all over again, particularly when you feel like you’ve failed. We’ve all been there…
Coated in echoing guitar plucks, so raw you can hear his fingers slide from one fret to another, “In Bloom” gradually unpeels, quite literally like a blooming flower. As each petal folds back, the track comes alive, resulting in an uplifting and empowering song, making us feel like we’re capable at doing whatever we put our minds to.
Never Let You Go
Ashby’s gravely vocals are powerful yet restrained. With the guitars emitting somewhat of a country tinge, the track begins to take things up a notch. Rolling drums, layered vocals and jangly guitars give this song an overwhelming anthem feel. Something you can imagine being played to hundreds of thousands of people at a festival, with everyone jumping and singing to the catchy “ooh ooh ohh’s”!
Slowing things down again, “Lucky” is a beautifully poignant song, which allows for some reflection. Demonstrating Ashby’s impressive vocal range, the steady beat gives you a chance to soak up all the intricate layered sounds and instruments. “Lucky” is about a feeling of loss but finding hope. With each of his songs, Ashby somehow manages to add a glimpse of brightness to any darker moments.
This song is demonstrative of Ashby’s love for artists including Noel Gallagher. Like a chameleon, Ashby has the ability to change his vocal tone, depending on the theme of the song. This raw and rugged display is symbolic of his sheer determination within “Getting Started” as he sings about the turmoil around the world and the need for progression and change.
Delivering an overall feel-good anthem, this is the kind of track you want to blast loud with your friends while on a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. Bold bass lines, punchy piano melodies and fast-paced hand claps make it impossible to keep still while listening. Despite its joyous sound, the narrative of the track is actually a message of desperation, with the songwriter crying, “How do I get back home, Sending an SOS to you.”
Following on from “SOS,” this track shows a realisation of not being alone anymore. Ethereal vocals and shimmering strings quite simply make this song glow. It’s simple, mellow atmosphere transports you to a place of serenity. Thundering drums ricochet through your chest, as Ashby sings, “I won’t give up on you, I won’t give up on us.”
Living In The Moment
This song is self-explanatory. The songwriter highlights the importance of not longing for the past, or worrying about the future, but to take a second to appreciate the exact moment we are in right now and to be grateful for everything and everyone we have around us. Certain to tug at your heartstrings, this song is the epitome of togetherness.
On My Way
The folky “On My Way” displays Ashby’s signature jangly guitars, as his clever lyrical lines tell a story of a burning love for someone. Ashby explains, “I pieced all these lyrics together after finding an old postcard from my grandmother. I was stressing lots at the time and she wrote me this letter.”
Oozing with passion and affecting lyrics, the romantic song touches on finally feeling like you’ve found yourself, thanks to the help of connecting with someone. “I’m not lost now that I’ve found you,” he declares devotedly. Ashby has a knack for creating chilled out songs, with big, sweeping percussion elements and blankets of harmonies and this song is an example of just that.
Time Of Our Lives
Described by Ashby as his “favourite song on the whole record”, it’s no wonder why the album was named after it. Provoking a moment of contemplation, the wholesome song sparks a sense of gratitude. Rousing and rhythmic snare drums echo the likes of Bon Iver, bringing a sense of familiarity, while also staying true to the trademark Ashby sound.
This Is It
Finishing the album off with one of Ashby’s most emotional songs is “This Is It.” Life is one big rollercoaster and with each twist and turn, we learn lasting lessons. This track details the hurdles we face throughout life and how sometimes it might hurt, but ultimately it will leave us stronger than ever before. Soft, subtle and sentimental, it perfectly encapsulates the overall feel of the entire album.
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