I’ve taken to introducing Ashleigh Still as “the Eva Cassidy of Woodbury,” because her soul – even more so than her stunning voice – recalls the late great D.C.-area thrush’s depth of feeling. Which is to say that Ashleigh sings from a deep place informed by her hardscrabble experience as a gospel-trained, church-raised single mother of two whose fashion photos could grace the cover of either “Bust” or “Glamour.” (When asked how she knows so much about men, she recently said, “I don’t! It’s all imagination…”)


But beyond her outer beauty and the wisdom that comes from the day-to-day struggle of making a living for her and her kids, there is an inner flame that burns brightly and has something to say; something about what it’s like to be a woman trying to dig out from the conformity of society, religion, and family. In that sense, Ashleigh also reminds me of Anne Sexton and Billie Holiday. Like those two express-myself-or-die classic talents, she manages to stop time when she opens her mouth/heart, and we’re all the richer for it. [Jim Walsh, Summer 2009]