Music, whether that be on the creative or consumer side, can serve a myriad of purposes. It can soundtrack key life moments, change your mood, open your mind to new perspectives, relay a long kept secret or allow emotions to flow free. The possibilities are endless, yet for Bay Area singer-songwriter Ashton York, there was only one story that he needed to share when it came to writing and recording ‘Awful Time’.
As the West Coast artist openly shares: “Awful Time was written at one of the lowest points in my adult life. It was a way to express the remorse, regret, and shame I was dealing with at the time, while acknowledging the pain I had caused some folks I loved dearly.”
Upon listening to ‘Awful Time’, the delicate opening exudes a hesitancy as the softly strummed guitar gingerly approaches the issue. “I’m scared”, honestly admits York as his very first line, before he goes on to further divulge that he’s tried to write this song before, but he couldn’t find the right words to express his complex net of feelings. Right throughout this intimate recording, York‘s vulnerability is palpable in each regretful lyric. One that stands out is, “I’m betting you were having an awful time, when I let you down”, which fully claims the artist’s past mistakes and the impact that those had on others. It’s a refreshing sense of integrity that we don’t often find these days.
The instrumentation itself was the product of time spent with engineer Greg Francis at New Improved Studios in Oakland, where they took the original home-recorded demo with its double acoustics, doubled vocals and drum samples lifted from a cheap Casio keyboard. As such, the pair sought to keep that raw and personal sound in tact, while also incorporating the talents of Kyle Crane on drums and Abby Gundersen on strings, background vocals and piano.
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