Courtney Hartman And Taylor Ashton Preview New LP With “First Of Us”

Photo by Shervin Lainez

On Friday, Courtney Hartman and Taylor Ashton will release Been On Your Side, a collaborative album due out via Free Dirt Records.

Ahead of the album’s release, the pair has shared a new track, “First Of Us.” The quiet folk tune features intricately arranged acoustic guitar and banjo, which serves as a delicate backdrop for Hartman’s understated, nimble voice. Lyrically, the track takes stock of the many natural wonders of the night sky.

“Living in the city, the two things I miss the most are the horizon and the stars,” Hartman says. “‘First Of Us’ is about the latter of those. I spent the first day of the year with friends in rural Vermont, watching constellations after midnight. There’s a line in verse two that says, ‘Oh, what a shame for eyes to shut, when such things are happening.’ Those are the words of naturalist Richard Proenneke (all songwriting is some kind of thievery). Taylor introduced me to the documentary film about him, Alone In The Wilderness. I watched it three times through the first week of the year.”

Hartman is known for her work as a guitarist and in the band Della Mae. Ashton is a renowned clawhammer banjo player.

Listen to “First Of Us” below.