Ashley Arrison

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By Crystal Larsen
Los Angeles

Los Angeles' cozy Room 5 Lounge, an intimate venue that sits right above the Amalfi Ristorante & Bar, was home to a rowdy and energized crowd as singer/songwriter Ashley Arrison took the stage on the evening of Sept. 21 to perform selections off her full-length debut album, Hearts On Parade, and previously released EP Talking Circles.

"Let's just do this," said Arrison as she launched into "Winter," supported by fellow Room 5 Lounge performer Katie Cole on backup vocals. Joining Arrison onstage was songwriter/musician Aben Eubanks, whom she called a "jack-of-all-trades" as he switched from acoustic guitar to piano for several songs. The well-crafted, country-style lyrics and pop melodies on this track immediately caught my interest and I was hooked on every song that followed.

Next up was a song about Arrison's "favorite person," appropriately titled "Favorite Thing." The sweet, catchy tune surely brought smiles from the audience, and likely drew a smirk from those in attendance who were listening closely as she sang about a few favorite things of hers: "Tulips and tequila and the number three/These are just a few things that appeal to me." Arrison then led into an impressive cover of Dolly Parton's GRAMMY-nominated "Jolene," a song she admittedly wished she had written herself. The crowd erupted into a loud applause following her performance and Arrison, grateful for the reaction, said, "Thank you. You can't go wrong with Dolly."

The temperature in the Room 5 Lounge kicked up a few notches when Arrison introduced her next song, "Little Miss Plastic," saying, "And now I'd like to sing a song about kicking another girl's a**," before she introduced Cole to the stage again. This song, possibly one of my favorite performances of the night for its rough-around-the-edges lyrics, brought out the raw side of Arrison as she sang about a situation where a girl is trying to steal her man: "I might be 115 but I ain't afraid to brawl/What ya want first, girl, the window or the wall?"

Arrison took a quick break to introduce the next song, "Somewhere With You." The track, co-crafted by Nashville, Tenn.-based songwriter Shane McAnally, was originally to appear on Hearts On Parade until GRAMMY-nominated artist Kenny Chesney caught word of the song and claimed it as a track he had to have on his next album. While the track doesn't appear on Hearts On Parade, Arrison promised she'd release it on an upcoming EP.

Finally, the Tennessee-based artist (hailing from Memphis and Nashville) announced that she'd be moving back to the Golden State as she led into another track off Hearts On Parade, "California." The audience proved to take that as very good news as they erupted into more loud applause.

Set List
"Favorite Thing"
"The Hard Way"
"Little Miss Plastic"
"Somewhere With You"
"Hearts On Parade"
"Last Of My Goodbyes"

To catch Ashley Arrison in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

(Photo information: Ashley Arrison performs at the Room 5 Lounge on Sept. 21 / Photo: The Recording Academy)


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