With a passionate voice that caresses the ear like silk, the ability to establish a rich musical atmosphere through her sonorous melodies and a long list of A-list guest artists, Ashley Davis’ fourth studio album “Night Travels” is certainly a success.
This album opens with the track His Bride I’ll Be that is a beautiful collaboration with Grammy winner Sara Watkins. The way the two voices blend together is a delight. You have the rich depth of Ashley Davis’ voice and then you have the light harmony of Sara Watkins’s amazing vocal skills floating above. Furthermore, the intricacies that plays throughout the piece, such as the mixture of bowing and picking done with the violin, showcases a complexity within the arrangement that is deceiving and highly nuanced. All said, this song does an amazing job of setting the listener on this elegant musical journey.
In the next track I Follow You (Leanain Thú) Ashley showcases more of her Celtic roots. This song is beautiful and relaxing. It feels very much like a lullaby where you follow one into dreamland, much like the title suggests. Likewise, the harp adds a brightness to the song that is absolutely enticing. It makes you want to follow her as a listener into this fantastical experience. Night Travels, the title track, brings a nice contrast to the previous tracks. The break feels more exotic on this album and brings with it a nice energy.
Other notable tracks are With You Tonight (with Eileen Ivers) and Besides You Near (with Moya Brennan). The first features soaring melodies played on the fiddle by acclaimed fiddler Eileen Ivers that acts as a pleasant counterpoint for Ashley Davis’ vocals. Where one is very deep and rich the other is light. They work beautifully together. Besides You Near, is a captivating duet and reveals how powerful emotions can be. The song is charged with the connection between two people separated by loss where perhaps the only place they can be together is in that twilight of sleep.
“Night Travels” is a beautiful album full of rich vocal harmonies and captivating but understated arrangements. Moving from track to track one can see Ashley’s various influences. There are Celtic roots present, as well as Americana swelling from her Kansas roots. Ashley is a confident artist is well at home with herself and is courageous in sharing it on this album.
Stephen Mc Sweeney is a High School English/Drama teacher. Besides writing for the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine, he enjoys acting, writing and playing Celtic music. He can be seen as one of the members of the band Terrible Musicians, where he plays percussion and mandolin.