Ash Bowers was 8 when he saw his future. The crystal ball was the family television set, and the vision came in the form of a movie his mother had rented—Great Balls of Fire, the film biography of Jerry Lee Lewis.
He was growing up in a working-class family in Jackson, Tennessee, and he would need a lot more than dreams to make it to the country music capital 130 miles east on I-40. Determination came with his sometimes-tough upbringing. His musical education began while singing at church. Studying country performers on television led him to re-think his choice of instrument--switching from piano to guitar. He played open mic nights until, at 20, he put together his first band. Just a year later, he was offered a Pacific tour through Armed Forces Entertainment that had listened to a three-song demo he and his band had cut in Jackson.
A Nashville publisher saw the band on one of those dates and approached Ash afterward. When he learned Ash aspired to a record deal, he encouraged him to come to Nashville. Soon Ash was restricting his playing to weekends and spending his weeks commuting daily to Nashville. The kind of commitment it took to drive 260 miles a day, five days a week--it quickly paid off.
"I was getting a lot more accomplished in Nashville than I was trying to build a grassroots career on the road," he says. Just a year and a half after he began commuting to Nashville, a CD of his material reached Broken Bow/Stoney Creek Records president Benny Brown, who invited him to play at a corporate Christmas party in California.
"The party was on a Saturday," he says. "That next Monday we had a deal in progress." Signed both as an artist and as a songwriter, he was soon working with some of Music City’s top writers. When it came time to pick a producer, he had at the top of his wish list Buddy Cannon, known for his work with Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, George Jones and Willie Nelson, among many others.
The resulting album, his first release on Stoney Creek Records, captures all the excitement and talent Ash brings to the stage, documenting the emergence of a world-class singer and songwriter—he wrote 7 of the CD’s 12 tracks. The CD displays his uncanny knack for turning working-class dreams and realities into stirring and highly relatable music. Overall, the project provides a window into what makes Ash tick both as a musician and as a person.
"Anybody listening to this record will get a good idea who Ash Bowers is and who I've been up to this point," he says, "and that's something I really wanted to do with this album. It's a real record."
"Stuck," the album’s first single, is both highly relatable and tellingly autobiographical. A tale comparative to his own life experience as a John Deere diesel mechanic aching to live out his musical dreams, Ash strikes a chord with millions of Americans who dream beyond their current jobs. It’s as timely as the evening news and as universal as the human spirit. Ash’s youthful spirit makes the song’s video, shot in part on a helipad atop a 28-story building in downtown L.A., a shout-out to blue-collar dreamers everywhere.
"I'm as passionate about country music as anybody's ever been," he says, and each new crowd quickly learns the truth of that statement. Now, with national audiences being introduced to his music, Ash is ready to take that next big step forward.
He stops and smiles, taking in the magnitude of the threshold he’s standing on.
“I'm very thankful,” he says. “As my first single is being released, I can't imagine it getting any better than this, and I've got a feeling it's going to."