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Ashley Lennon Thomas

Sparkle Plenty
)self-released)
www.ashleylennonthomas.com


Sparkle Plenty is the debut solo album from sunny California's singer/songwriter/guitarist Ashley Lennon Thomas. Produced by her father John Thomas, Sparkle Plenty treads the borderline of alt-country, fusing elements of acoustic-rock, doo-wop, and folk-pop. Her bluesy vocal intonations are reminiscent of Hope Partlow and her folksy leanings are reflective of Sheryl Crow. The melodies are well honed with sunny-pop tapestries, soft rock cascades and soul-jazz confections.

The doo-wop harmonies of "Hard Headed Woman" have retro-pop hooks fringed by modern-pop inflections. The jazz styled horns of "Like I Can" pepper the melody with smiley faces, and the island sway of "Sneaky Pie" are sword with guitar rock sand dunes and curvaceous vocal moves. The alt-country chambers of "Wait In The Water" show an upbeat pulse relatable to Allison Moorer while the slow coasting strips of "Only Time" are emblematic of Shelby Lynne's molasses-rolled voicing. The soul-jazz catacombs of "Black Coffee" are easy on the ears as the piano riffs penetrate the senses as swiftly as a fruity cocktail on a hot summer day.

Thomas' songs have a girl-next-door charm with an attractive folksy lilt. The melodic grazing of the guitar parts on "Hit The Road" form balmy arches while Thomas' vocals curl around them with a seductive lure. The pure country zest of "Highway Song" has a cheerful shake while "For Sure" is more bluesy and sullen in mood. The jubilant phrasings and whisking rotations of "Honey Wild" and "Buick City Complex" are a recipe for having fun and feeling free with the rugged vocal textures of Moon Calhoun chiming in on "Buick City Complex" like a voice resonating through a bullhorn. Thomas' pixie-like vocal timbres on "Blue" are like country music's Julie Roberts, which coincide with the mellow tempo, while the rhythmic beats of "Bones" have a porch-folk twitter.

Ashley Lennon Thomas touches many bases on her debut album Sparkle Plenty; from pop and folk to soul-jazz and doo-wop. She uses every brand of music accessible to her and adds a bonus track to underscore her affection for '50s doo-wop. In every song, she sounds like she is shouting from the rooftops of melodic-pop and making her own watermark on its pages.

-Susan Frances

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