ION INDIE MAGAZINE May 2017, Volume 36 - Page 25

During my 45 year tenure as a concert-goer, there have been just two artists that MOVED me with their performances. I felt as if they just could not have given me any more than they did--they left me in a daze. Those two acts were RICHIE HAVENS at the TAMPA THEATER and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN at the LAKELAND CIVIC CENTER. Although both of these shows were in the ‘70's, almost 40 years ago, I still remember them as if they were yesterday. Now, as of April 7 th , here in El Paso, Texas, I can add another artist to that short list of “memorables”--and that would be Official CMT Artist ASHLEY WINELAND. Country music is admittedly, not my thing--but after soaking in Ms. Ashley, I do have a whole different mindset. During the time I spent with her, I felt I was in the presence of future country royalty. Ashley is the total package. Besides her obvious girl-next-door good looks and her undeniable talent that smacks you between the eyes, she’s also down- to-earth, friendly and approachable. And she has a heart as big as the state of Texas, too. While researching her in anticipation of covering her show at SUN CITY FAIR (supporting DIAMOND RIO), I learned that this young rising star donates untold hours to animal welfare organizations as well as our military veterans—and it’s endeavors like these that speak volumes to me about the character of Ms. Ashley Wineland. These things all contribute to her popularity with her massive fan base—who number around 170+ across her various social media platforms. And you can bet her dedicated followers are excitedly looking forward to catching Ashley’s electrifying live performance, when she embarks on her national tour, which kicks off in May. This young lady has made major strides in the tough industry of music. So you could add “business savvy” to the earlier list of traits that I attached to Ashley. As I photographed the show, I was struck by how intimately she interacted with her audience—moving effortlessly through the crowd and picking out various people and singing directly to them—even grabbing a seat next to them as if they came to the show together! She really has a way of making folks feel special; like they MATTER to her. And due to her palpable sincerity, they know that she MEANS it…there’s not a false pretense to Ashley…like I said, she’s the REAL deal. Her songs, like “Red, White and Blue” and “No Prince Charming”, and of course, her most recent single “She’s Gone” (which is custom-made for this Texas crowd--“Just a ranch bred girl from the heart of Texas…”--had me in awe of her vocal range, along with the level of energy she maintained while working the stage and her audience. She’s a breath of fresh air—even on a dusty Texas evening. It was a sheer honor to meet her, her band members, and her family--who could not have been kinder or more welcoming to me…all beacons of “southern hospitality. E ven if you're not into country, you will want to see Ashley. She’s not someone that you’ll soon forget, for she’ll leaves an impression on you—just like the one she left with me.