Nick Ashton : Country Star Rising. His New CD 'Crush' Will be Released July 2006

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Nick Ashton: The New Country Star Rising from Orange County California. His new CD "Crush" features top Nashville musicians, and 12 well written songs performed and written by Ashton.

Nick Ashton: The Orange County singer-songwriter wrote all 12 songs on his upcoming “Crush,” which features musicians from Tim McGraw’s band, Dance Hall Doctors.

Nick Ashton has been writing songs since he was 13, but in an interview this week, the longtime Orange County resident joked about being "a 20-year overnight success."

However, listening to his coming full-length release, "Crush," it's clear the talented singer-songwriter-guitarist may be the next country star to emerge out of Orange County, placing him in the strong company of Gary Allan ("Smoke Rings in the Dark," "Tough All Over") and Jennifer Hanson (whose self-titled album was released in 2003).

The San Bernardino native headlined the preconcert Tailgate Party for the KZLA Country Bash at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine last October. His first single, "The One," from his 2004 release, "Affair of the Heart," scored airplay on country radio throughout the U.S.

It was that growing attention, as well as a performance at the CMA Music Festival Fan Fair in Nashville in June, that gave Ashton the opportunity to record "Crush" with members of Tim McGraw's band.

"I really had a unique opportunity to work with guys in Nashville," Ashton said, noting that guitarist Denny Hemingson and bassist John Marcus of McGraw's Dance Hall Doctors are featured across the 12-track disc.

Unlike many artists who draw on Nashville's pool of songwriters, Ashton penned all the songs on "Crush." And the result is a collection that is decidedly more personal than many modern-day releases in the genre.

Ashton - who moved from the Inland Empire to Orange County about 10 years ago - calls his sound "West Coast country," and that sonic shoe seems to fit as well as any.

From the catchy first single, "Botox Queen," and roots rocker "Tennessee Rain" to an especially memorable ode about following musical dreams ("That's My Song"), Ashton has developed a wide-ranging style that will appeal to fans of traditional and modern country.

"They're all recent, written over the past two years," Ashton said of the songs on "Crush," all enhanced by his distinctive voice. "Usually I'll find inspiration that happens along the way, from a broken heart to a flat tire. I start with lyrics and come up with a line and build a song around that."

Other highlights on "Crush" include the romantic themes explored in "Every Now and Then" and "Cinderella," as well as far-flung themes explored in "Simple Country Life," "Leather Sister" and "Hard Life."

Ashton noted that his style likely owes as much to the country-tinged rock of the Eagles and country-folk of America and John Denver (whom Ashton met when he was a child in the 1970s) as to contemporary country.

"Each song is different," Ashton said.



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Robert Ellison