Out of the Mailbag, Comes Songs & Stories: Ashley Davis’s Fantastic New CD When the Stars Went Out

Out of the Mailbag, Comes Songs & Stories: Ashley Davis Band: When the Stars Went Out, 2020
14 tracks, 63 minutes.
Review by John O’Brien, Jr.

When the stars went out in our lives, and love shimmers in a different light, do our dreams reflect what could be, or merely our fantasies? Ashley and gang take a look at love, lovers, society rules and how little our heart listens to those rules, when love’s promise overtakes what other people want “for us.”

  1. Davey Jones – The life a fisherman, who has lost many members to the sea; accepting he will probably go the same way, and continue not disappoint his father, also, already in the grave, somewhere.
  2. Mountain Jane, w/Tony Furtado – I have spent more than a few days, down in the mountain. Black as coal, and too much time to think. Trapped in so many ways, to a life in chains.  I hear the lover’s lament in Ashley’s song.
  3. Burning House, w/Heidi Talbot – A lover with regrets, as they look back on what could have been … ”I been sleep walkin’… the only place that I can hold you tight
  4. Lorem Ipsum – the title words are a mangling of Cicero, and are the standard dummy text for printers, and dates back to the 16th It is derived from the Latin “dolorem ipsum,” roughly translated as “pain itself.” In this song, I felt that the singer is hurt by words left unsaid by their lover, that remain long after the lover has gone.   Communication is almost always at the root of lost loves.
  5. How ‘Bout You, w/John Doyle – the singer asks their lover: When did you know it was love, the right one? “I knew right then well baby how bout you?”
  6. Annachie Gordon, w/Shawn ColvinWe’ve heard this hard story to many times in our past – a woman loves a man, but her father loves the gold he’ll get for her in marriage more. And she dies, her lover soon dead next to her.You must marry Lord Saltan and forget Annachie

  7. Buffalo Mountain -There are fair few reviews done here that don’t include at least one trad tune. Buffalo Mountain changes the beat of the sad songs, to a more upbeat tune, fit for dancing and laughter. Written by Will MacMoran (of Seven Nations fame).
  8. When He Loved Her Too, w/Colin Farrell – An epic love; was it just a dream?
  9. You Haven’t Left Me, w/Gawain Matthews – If the heart is still lost to someone, and the belief that, someday, they will come around, is timeless, ..“So what am I to do with a heart I know that’s still loving you”
  10. Gloaming Song – This is an Ashley Davis original; all songs on this album are originals. It is not the famous, well covered The Gloaming. Gloam is taken to mean twilight, or to glow. What do you interpret Ashely’s song to be about?
  11. Not Today, w/Mick McCauley – Two lovers who everyone says are going to break the others heart, have the chance to reunite, – can they listen, and break away?
    They tell me to let go of you / That you’re gonna break my heart in two / Shut down how I feel and walk away / But not today / No not today / Baby no, maybe never, not today
  12. The Dry Cloud (How Will I Live Out My Days), w/Tim O’Brien – Love this song, swaying, a little country, maybe … How will I live out my home less days?
  13. Sign of the Times – another warm and inviting tune, the kind that makes you close your eyes, sway your head, and imagine what are the words, emotions, meanings that Dave Curley and Colin Farrell are conveying. We all take different things from songs, especially trad ones of course, but what do you think Colin and Dave are conveying in their music?
  14. Here by My Side, w/John Doyle – A bit more regret, a bit of how we have developed and diversified, and the realization, that you are what the lover was looking for then, and once again, now.
    If I had you here by my side/I wouldn’t waste any time/I’d hold you real close/I’d hold you forever.

When the Stars Went Out took me by surprise.  I wasn’t expecting anything in particular, but the love songs throughout I wasn’t expecting either.  Deeply emotional, these are the exact style of song I think Ashley rocks the most, and she rocks so many genres of ballads – her voice is so perfectly suited to introspection, for touching emotions you may want to explore, and learn from, for the singer, and the listener.

Even though these songs are tinged with a bit of sorrow, of regret, and the evolution of the singer and the subject, the whole album is perhaps, a celebration, or at least recognition, of how we learn and grow in our lives and in our relationships.

Colin, Dave, Will, Duncan, Heidi, John, Kevin, Mick, Shane, … the full list is below, but with that level of gifted performers in the band and guesting on this CD, paired with such a gifted singer/songwriter, When the Stars Went Out was predestined to be great, and fully lives up to its destiny. I understand the ache.

Although it may be best suited to listen to when the light go out, or maybe with candles or some other form of fire for you, I am quite sure there will be grooves worn into this CD, as I listen to it where I do my best thinking and medicating, I mean meditating, while driving. Music is truly the best form of medicating anyway.

To hear more from and about Ashley, subscribe to the iIrish Songs, Stories & Shenanigans Podcast Episode14: When the Stars Went Out, with special guest Ashley Davis, available on iTunes, Podcasts or

Ashley Davis Band is:
Ashley Davis on vocals; Dave Curley on Acoustic guitar, Mandolin, Bodhran, Banjo, vocals; Colin Farrell on Fiddle, Low whistle; Will MacMorran on Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Bouzouki, Percussion, Bass, Pipes, & Accordion; Duncan Wickel on Strings, Cello, Tenor Guitar; with special guests Shawn Colvin, Tim O’Brien, Heidi Talbot, Tony Furtado, Stephanie Schneiderman, Shane Hennessy, John Doyle, Simon Chrisman, Nicholas Falk, Mick McCauley, Kevin Crawford, and Damien Mullane.

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