My all-time favorite Christian Rock / Alternative Christian singer these days is Ashley Cleveland.
(…sounds kind of strange coming from me, because I never really listened to anything “Alternative” or “Christian” BEFORE I started listening to Ashley Cleveland.)
Jim and I first learned about Ashley and her music when she filled in for one of our song-leaders at church one Sunday.
She sings a lot of “traditional hymns” but she really rocks them out!
Not “rock” as in loud music & words you can hardly understand, but as in passion-filled, heart-felt, belting from the core of your being kind of singing… everyone feels the words when she’s singing them.
Here’s a sampling of what I’m talking about:
My favorite is actually the way she sings “Power In The Blood”, but I don’t have that one on CD yet. Her new CD, filled with her own version of well-known traditional hymns is due out soon. I can’t wait!
We’ve also been fortunate to catch Ashley Cleveland playing at a couple of local songwriter hangouts.
One was at the Bluebird Cafe. The Bluebird is a little cozy bar where songwriters of today’s hits come and talk about the meanings behind the songs they wrote – and they sing ’em too as they strum along on their guitars. (Lots of famous singers actually got “discovered” here at the Bluebird: Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, and many more!)
The other place we saw Ashley was at the Puckett’s Grocery in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. It’s very a small hometown grocery store (like a small IGA) that closes its doors to grocery-store-sellin’ and opens its doors to some sit-down southern hospitality every Saturday evening.
There are about 15 or so VERY small tables and chairs (full-size) spread out in a small area in the front of the store – in front of the actual grocery aisles. And there’s a small platform stage they set up in front of the window by the entrance… that’s where 1-3 singers/songwriters will strum their guitars while sitting on bar stools, and share with everyone the meaning behind their most popular songs, as they play them live for you. It’s very intimate, and very cool.
And, coincidentally, we just saw Ashley Cleveland on TV (country music video channel) this past Sunday. She was lead singer in a video from the movie “Left Behind II: Tribulation Force”. Glad to see that she’s bigger than just Nashville… That’s not to mention that she’s also received 2 Dove Awards, 2 Grammy’s (“best Gospel Rock album” -twice), and 4 more Dove nominations!
Here are some closeup photographs of Ashley Cleveland that we took on several different occasions.
You might also be interested in sampling more of Ashley’s music.
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