Album of the Week: Ashley Paul, Ray

Have you ever found yourself looking for something without knowing what it was?

What a week.

I found myself on the hunt for some new music to quell the ache but try as I might, nothing fit. Nothing felt right. Everything I tried was either too hard or too soft. Then I came upon Ashley Paul’s Ray, released on Slip in November of 2020, and all was right with the world and me.

Over the past six months I’ve found myself needing music in a new way, a way of coping. I found again albums I had loved in the past, full of melody and humour, to cancel out the barrage of terrible news happening outside. I think this album is a reflection of that need. There is the playfulness of spending my days with our four year old, and the hours spent tending to plants in the garden and examining bugs, and also the pain of missing family and friends. It’s hard for me to fully comprehend the breadth of emotion I’ve felt recently but maybe this is a small window.

Ray is filled with wit and wisdom that lumbers its way around with an endearing awkwardness like a bee whose hive has been hitched to a drunk in an alley.

The lineup:

Ashley Paul – voice, alto saxophone, clarinet, guitar, percussion
Yoni Silver – bass clarinet
Otto Willberg – double bass

If you’ve been searching for some salve to fend off the blues, Ray shines.