HomeEF CountryAshland Craft - "Travelin' Kind" album review

Ashland Craft – “Travelin’ Kind” album review

Singer-songwriter Ashland Craft first came to prominence when she finished in presumptive 9th place on ‘The Voice US’. Selected by coach Miley Cyrus following her Blind Audition, Craft impressed with her big voice and her ability to put her own stamp on classic Country songs. Following her time on that juggernaut, Craft has been working hard on her music and she featured on ‘So Close’, an album track on Hardy’s critically-acclaimed album ‘A Rock’, as well as releasing her own material. Now, Craft is ready to unleash her 11-track debut album “Travelin’ Kind” and show the world what she’s really capable of.

What’s clear from “Travelin’ Kind” is that there’s no one like Craft in Country music right now and that gives her a clear path to build a solid fanbase and become a breakout star. Vocally she’s a little like Janis Joplin crossed with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, with a grit and edge to her voice that immediately grabs you. It’s the kind of voice that you can’t fake, it comes from the soul and that stamp of authenticity every artist searches for is evident in Craft’s voice. Opening with the rock-leaning title track, the album grabs you by the neck and doesn’t let you go, hurtling along at breakneck speed.

“Travelin’ Kind” isn’t interested in being an album that caters to what’s dominating Country music right now. With these 11 songs, Craft has pulled together a record that reflects her own influences and sets out the stall for the kind of artist she wants to be known as. The album is raw, opting not to utilise the many production tricks that so many artists polish their music with these days. On the beat-driven mid-tempo ‘Your Momma Still Does’, Craft unleashes the full grit of her vocal as she sings about maintaining a relationship with an ex-boyfriend’s mother, while on ‘Last 20 Dollars’ Craft embraces all things traditional for a jingly-jangly kiss-off that’s perfect for a honky tonk.

One of the highlights on the record is the shimmering guitar-led ‘Mimosas in the Morning’ where Craft puts a lover on the spot asking what their relationship actually is. The huge chorus is destined to sound incredible live and in terms of future singles, this one should definitely be chosen at some point during the album campaign. Marcus King features on the stirring and soulful ‘Highway Like Me’, ‘Letcha Fly’ marries strings with an off-kilter beat with Craft realising she has to let a lover go, and the single ‘Make It Past Georgia’ is a mid-tempo pop/Country moment with a strong chorus.

Eschewing the tradition of ending an album with a ballad, Craft keeps the tempo firmly set to up with the rocky ‘That’s The Kinda Place’. She ends the album with the same energy she starts it with, making it the perfect excuse to hit the replay button the minute the song comes to an end.

“Travelin’ Kind” is one of those debut albums that doesn’t come along too often. It’s hit-after-hit and it firmly establishes who Craft wants to be in the genre. Armed with a big voice, clever lyrics and melodies for days, Craft is the perfect combination of rock and Country, likely making her appeal to fans of both genres. The only way for Craft from here is up and if I’m right, that rise is going to be a meteoric one.

Ashland Craft - Travelin' Kind
Credit: Big Loud Records

Track listing: 1. Travelin’ Kind 2. Your Momma Still Does 3. Leavin’ You Again 4. Make It Past Georgia 5. Last 20 Dollars 6. Highway Like Me 7. Mimosas in the Morning 8. Day By Day 9. Letcha Fly 10. Come Down 11. That’s The Kinda Place Record label: Big Loud Records Release date: 3rd September 2021 Buy “Travelin’ Kind” now

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Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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