The Vancouver, B.C.-based songwriter, Ashley Shadow has shared her new single, “Don’t Slow Me Down” feat. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, which arrives in tandem with the news of her second album, Only the End, set for release on September 24th.
“Don’t Slow Me Down” reunites Ashley with Bonnie “Prince” Billy for the first time on record since she sang vocals on Bonnie’s 2018 album, Lie Down In Light. Here, the pair intertwine joyful melodies, celebrating the perspective experience brings as they outran the darkness and shook off the cold/taking back feeling from all it controlled.
Speaking about the new single, Shadow says: “‘Don’t Slow Me Down’ is a song that fights the enviable experience of falling behind, losing out or having something pass you by.”
While the songs on Only the End were conceived in contemplative solitude, Ashley invited some very capable collaborators into the studio to assist with the process of recording; alongside the aforementioned Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Shadow invited Paul Rigby (Neko Case), Joshua Wells (Black Mountain, Lightning Dust), Colin Cowan (Elastic Stars) and Ryan Beattie (Himalayan Bear). Ashley, the twin sister of Amber Webber (of Lightning Dust, co-founder of Black Mountain), has previously contributed vocals to Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s album, Lie Down in the Light, Pink Mountaintop’s Outside Love, The Cave Singers’ Welcome Joy and more.
The Vancouver, B.C.-based songwriter forged her own identity as a songwriter with 2016’s eponymous self-titled debut. Her sophomore effort, Only the End, maintains the moody introspection that is ingrained in Pacific Northwest life, but now comes armed with a palpable hope complementing her signature melancholy.
“I wanted to make a more upbeat album, something you could play with some friends over. Some of the songs I wrote were initially bummers, but when we went to record them, we lightened them up.”
Balancing a couple of jobs and navigating life and love in increasingly unstable times, the album was written over two years by Ashley at her apartment. Her confident vibrato above lightly, distorted guitars mirrors the album’s theme of resilience, if not triumph, over adversity. There is comfort in these warm songs that endorse the realism of contented acceptance, rather than the naïve search for non-existent utopias.
Ashley’s first album saw her take center stage after more than a decade of gracing friends’ projects in a supporting role. The move to the front was a cautious one. “First record was, can I do a solo album? This time, I know what I’m doing. It’s way more clear.”