Dagda: Tell me, do you consider yourself “Country”? Ashley: No, I really don’t distinguish myself as Country--more of an Americana/Folk/Rock kind of thing. When I was 15, my CD was basically Singer/Songwriter. I steered toward Country because I had the “twang” and my grandfather’s influence had that Country/Folk that you hear. I love all different kinds of genres and Alternative music. Dagda: What did you grow up listening to? Ashley: I grew up listening to JAMES TAYLOR, BOB DYLAN and JOHNNY CASH…solid “old school” good lyrics; EVERYLY BROTHERS, BILLIE HOLIDAY. Dagda: Lots of influences. When did your music get propelled into where you are now? Seems recently that you have really taken off. Was it a slow and steady progression or was there an inflection point? Ashley: Good question. With me, everything has been grassroots…I raised my own money, playing shows and making music videos. The biggest was BOSTON 104.1 FM MIX FEST competition. Mix Fest chose me through hundreds and I performed before Philip Philips, and Jason Mraz. That was a break-through experience. Working hard--trying to get there. Dagda: You have a track on the “Boston One” album “New England Tears”. I remember hearing that and being present for the marathon bombings. That was really something special for the folks that are trying to heal. Ashley: That was a combination of a few things. The tragic shootings in Connecticut with the little children, then getting hit by the tragedy of THE BOSTON MARATHON. To me, that was a peace song. I want people to hear and heal. Dagda: What’s next? Ashley: Lots of plans. I am in my music hibernation/creative process. Also booking many shows this winter, maybe a small tour. Dagda: Local/National/Regional tour? Ashley: Something National would be something, once I can raise the funds. Would love to bring my band with me. Just need to stay positive and crank through. Dagda: I saw some awards in your hands Ashley: Pigeon Forge, TN, was really cool this past year. I won the local competition, then regional. They invited me out for the “Songwriter of the Year/Music Video of the Year”. I won for “Performer” and “Vocalist”. This was a huge international competition to get recognized at. I was in shock. Was amazing to come home with those awards and getting recognized. Dagda: It’s interesting how some of the Rock/Country artists are mixing. AARON LEWIS from STAIND said in a recent interview that the only difference between Country and Rock are the cowboy hats and that he really isn’t doing anything different from what Johnny Cash did.