Ashland Belle: Playing for Keeps

Success is coming quickly for Ashland Belle, but it’s not happening by accident. Since coming together last November, the Buffalo, New York, country rockers are AShland Belle beaverdamusa.comalready hard at work touring in support of their debut release, “Bringin’ Country Back.”

“It’s definitely taking off,” drummer Rob Ferenc told us recently. “Right now we’re booking shows regionally. Mostly we’re covering the New York area. We’ve got some shows booked in Pennsylvania, and we’re talking to people in Pennsylvania and Ohio. We’re making a trip down to Nashville probably in February of next year; we’ve got some contacts down there.”

Ashland Belle is made up of front man David Guy, lead guitarist John Rosini, bass player Josh Long and Ferenc.

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The guys aren’t strangers to each other, as Ferenc explained. “The 4 of us have known each other off and on for a minimum of 10 years now. Me and John go back pretty much our whole lives. Actually the funny thing is, we lived next door to each other – our parents lived next door to each other — so we’ve known each other our whole lives. And Dave and Josh knew each other for a while.”

Ferenc said the project started when Guy and Long teamed up to write. “Dave and Josh are the main two songwriters in the band. So when they started to write songs (summer, 2012), they got in contact with John, who was in another band at the time. And John started practicing with them — started writing songs — and thatAshland Belle was pretty much throughout the summer. And then they contacted me in November.”

From then on, it has been full steam ahead. “The four of us really started hunkering down and started writing the material and really getting into it.”

That hunkering down is paying off. Sales of the six-song EP have pleased the band so far. “We’ve got some great response,” Ferenc said. “We’re selling a lot of units through iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon. That’s the three main places where we have the EP available. People are liking the music, and they’re buying the CD from all over the place, so it’s taking off fast and we love it,” he said. “It’s great.”

“Bringin’ Country Back” mixes driving tempos (“Hot and Crazy”) with melodic ballads, (“Dream Called You”).

Ferenc explained how the album’s rocking tunes came easy to them. “We actually grew up on rock music. I grew up in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s listening to all the Motley Crues and Poisions and Cinderellas. I grew up on it. Obviously the tastes have changed over the years but that’s when I started playing.”

And don’t go to an Ashland Belle show expecting to sit there. “I mean it’s a lot of energy,” Ferenc said. “You’re going to see four guys up there giving it their all and obviously playing to the crowd. I like to bring the power to a show, like I’m back there and I’m smashing away and John’s playing balls-out guitar… and we interact with the crowd a lot, you know, calling people up on stage and they’re having fun with us and it’s a party.

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“One thing that we pride ourselves on is playing our songs identical to the record,” he added about their live show. “You’re not going to hear a lot of different versions. I mean obviously we’ll extend some things out here and there, or we’ll put a different ending on it. But we like to stay true to what we sound like. We don’t add a lot of different stuff that’s not on the album,” he said, “and we purposely didn’t put a lot of auxiliary instruments into the EP because if you’re not able to duplicate it live then it really changes your sound. I mean, what we do is we go out there, it’s 4 guys; all four guys play instruments, and it’s a high-energy show. It’s a party.”

The fans have definitely responded, “Our Facebook page is taking off,” Ferenc said, “I mean well over 14,000 likes. And the majority of them aren’t even in this area. We’re getting the word out there and people from all over the country – I mean California, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, some overseas – we’ve got some from Argentina; just different areas.”

The industry is already starting to take notice as well. “We’re definitely getting good responses from various labels and management companies that want to work with the band because they see the potential.

“We’re looking for that big break,” he said about the band’s future. “We see ourselves in 5 years hopefully two to three records into our career, playing in front of thousands of people every day. We’re not half-assing this. We spend a lot of time networking. We spend a lot of time practicing. We’re together probably 20 to 25 hours a week, just practicing and hanging out with each other, so we’re together a lot because we’re putting a lot of effort in, so we’re going all out.”

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