Samuel Ashton is an English singer-songwriter whose voice has been described as “pure soul.” It’s a pretty apt description. His is a voice and a sound that captures the feel of both classic and modern soul.
His new EP Breathe Easy contains only five songs, but it is enough for him to showcase not only his voice but also his ability for arranging songs with layers of sound.
Right from the beginning of the title track, it is evident that Ashton makes soul music With the horns and the organ, it is a melody that brings St. Paul and The Broken Bones to mind. Ashton’s vocals are strong and soulful without being overpowering. It is a good intro to the soul sounds that follow.
“Witch Doctor” has the warm and groovy feel of a song by The New Mastersounds. The jazzy melody goes heavy on the horn swells and the organ while the groovy rhythm is sure to get you moving.
“Healer” opens with vocals and an organ part that would be just as well suited for a gospel song. From there, the song takes on an Afro-soul sound. It comes through in the guitar tone, the vibraphone, and the flute. Meanwhile, the beat is something like you might hear in the soundtrack of a blaxploitation film.
Like a Booker T song, the organ comes to the forefront in “Let Love In.” This one also features horns, but the sound is a little more muted than in other songs. Another thing that is different about this song is the guitar, which at times takes on a sustained, psychedelic sound.
The album closes with “Rea.” This one has a theatrical feel. It begins with sustained notes on the piano and muted stings in the background. It immediately feels like it could be used in a dramatic film scene. The tempo picks up as more layers of sound are added with the guitar and the rhythm. At the end of the song, you hear a return to the dramatic sound with just vocals and piano. It is an intricately layered song, and you can’t help but be impressed by the arrangement of the parts.
Breathe Easy is a good sample of Ashton’s work that will likely inspire you to seek out more of his songs. The EP will be released on December 4. For more information, visit https://www.samuelashton.co.uk/.