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Ashley and the X's: From mic sessions to stages

The origin of Chattanooga rock music band Ashley and the X's and its plans to grow.

Photos by Heather Brieghanne Boyd

Ashley and the X’s began at a simple open mic session where Matt Shigekawa, the band’s guitarist, first heard Ashley sing.

“She sang a Tom Waits song and I immediately knew I wanted to do a project with [her],” he said. “So we began talking and eventually started writing songs together.”

Matt soon connected with Dan Walker, a drummer and the final addition to the band.

Matt feels that his two friends coming together with their separate talents are what have really made the band special. “Ashley’s powerhouse voice, stacked against a solid rhythm section, gives us a strong presence,” he said.

With their music, Ashley and the X’s hope to reshape listeners’ ideas of themselves for the better. “A lot of our songs involve relationship content, so really some of what we want to convey is knowing your own self-worth and not settling for anything less,” Matt said.

Matt is grateful for the loyalty of the fans. “That has a lot to do with the venues we play at,” he said.

Matt credits Mike Dougher, Marc Michael, and John Shoemaker with helping to bring the band to the public’s ear through finding places for them to perform and writing reviews about their albums and performances.

Matt also thanks Carla Pritchard. “[She] has been very kind to us, offering us several opening slots for Nightfall over the past 10 years.”

Currently, the band is busy playing shows in Chattanooga. “When we aren’t playing, we have been working on new material,” Matt explained. “We really just enjoy being around each other and jamming to see what new sounds inspire us.”

In line with their current occupation, Matt has modest goals for the band. “[Our] current goals are to continue to grow our catalog of original material and keep our chops up to speed with local shows,” he said. “And we are open to see what happens from there.”

Keep up with Ashley and the X’s on Instagram, check out their YouTube, and give them a listen on Spotify!