Steve Ashley

Steve Ashley (born in London in 1946) is an English folk singer and songwriter. He has played a significant role in the development of British folk-rock, performing as a lead singer with the first Albion Country Band, then with his own Ragged Robin and various line-ups of The Steve Ashley Band. He has also performed occasionally with members of Fairport Convention. He is also well-known for his songs. He began singing traditional songs in the folk clubs of West London in 1961. In 1964 he moved to Maidstone to study Graphic Design and there, with Peter Bellamy, he helped to establish the successful Maidstone Folk Club. He also sang and played harmonica in the Art College blues band The Tea Set. In September 1967 he returned to London where he formed a duo with guitarist Dave Menday called Tinderbox. In April 1972 he was invited to join what was to become the first touring Albion Country Band (sometimes known as Albion Mk 1) with ex-members of Fairport Convention (Ashley Hutchings, Simon Nicol, Dave Mattacks) and Royston Wood and Sue Draheim. In January 1973 Steve formed his own band Ragged Robin with Richard Byers, Brian Diprose and John Thompson. In 1978 The Steve Ashley Band was formed to appear at the Rotterdam Folk Festival. Afterwards Steve formed a duo with fiddle player Chris Leslie and they performed together throughout the following decade. In 1992 Steve retired from live perfomance and recording, although in 1995 he composed and recorded the instrumental music for a second Roger Deakin documentary about horse racing called Stable Lads. He returned to performing in August 1999 when he joined Fairport Convention on stage at their pre-Cropredy gig at Banbury Arts Centre and also during their Saturday night Festival performance to sing Fire and Wine A few months later Steve returned to live performances in clubs and arts centres with the former Decameron and Magna Carta guitarist, Al Fenn. At Cropredy in August 2001, Steve made his fifth appearance at Fairport's annual festival. A special line-up of Steve Ashley and Friends, featuring Chris Leslie, Maartin Allcock and Al Fenn, performed a selection of songs from Steves's albums Stroll On, The Family Album and Everyday Lives. In February 2009 Steve commemorated 40 years of recording with a headline concert at Cheltenham Folk Festival. For this special concert he was accompanied by Robert Kirby conducting Staccato Strings in a selection of his string arrangements from Steve's albums. Also taking part were Dave Menday, Richard Byers and Al Fenn. Steve Ashley is a unique performer whose voice can convey great power and great tenderness. He has performed since the 1960s, when he was popular in the folk clubs of West London, and his style might be described as folk-influenced social commentary. He is one of the great treasures of English music. Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.