Owen Ashley- Live Ready

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Live Ready is the debut worship album from Hampshire-based worship leader, counsellor and lecturer Dr Owen Ashley. This multi-talented chap blends Matt Redman style worship with rootsy, bluesy rock borrowed from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, resulting in an album that’s a bit rough around the edges but overall a pretty solid debut. Ashley splits his time evenly between straightforward, upbeat classic rock and acoustic singer-songwriter ballads, and he pulls both off equally well. His voice isn’t the strongest, but he covers the range of styles well and the presence of talented backing singers Naomi Ashley and Chloe Birks makes up for his occasional vocal slips. “Jesus Light Of The World” is the best of the up-tempo songs, with its blues swagger and catchy, confident chorus calling to mind the best of ‘60s and ‘70s rock. “Glory And Honour” ends up being the best of the quieter songs with its gentle, earnest melody and some subtle touches of atmospheric piano. “Come And Show Your Glory Now” is another highlight featuring great lead guitar work straight out of Boston’s back catalogue and a dynamic, worshipful chorus. The clever mix of electric and acoustic instruments, those ever-present backing vocals and some appealingly vintage keyboard sounds helps create a laid back, retro sound that ends up winning you over despite the fairly predictable nature of the songs. Ignoring the two sub-par bonus tracks, this album is remarkably consistent in its mood and songwriting, and is well worth a listen.

7/10

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