American Songwriter launched its official Twitch channel with an inaugural broadcast of Off The Record Live featuring rising country star Ashland Craft, who spoke about the journey to her debut album, Travelin’ Kind.
Dropped September 3 via Big Loud Records, the album captures Craft’s special mix of grit and charm. Like a lot of great country music, one of her strongest talents is her ability to place you directly in a moment in time. A song like “Your Momma Still Does” uses such concrete imagery that it becomes anthemic—a song like “Highway Like Me” (a duet with Marcus King) features performances so impassioned, you can’t help but feel as if you’re peeking right into Craft’s soul.
Speaking with American Songwriter, the 25-year-old opened up about moving to Nashville right before the pandemic hit, collaborating with the music community to craft this album, learning confidence from being on Team Miley on The Voice, her dog Dolly and more.
“That’s when I started diving into songwriting and figuring out who I really was,” Craft said, referring to the move to Nashville. “Probably the biggest key to moving here was finding myself and figuring out how to present that to everyone else.”
Later, she added that a key part to keeping the music true to herself was ensuring that the recordings retained some of the raw expression of her in-studio performances, regardless if they weren’t exactly 100% correct technically. “I feel like music should convey all the dynamics, the ups and downs and little blips of your voice that aren’t necessarily perfect,” she said. “It’s the characteristic that makes you. So, it was a No. 1 thing for me to capture all of that within the music, to not have it be so tuned to where you can’t tell it’s me or you can’t hear all the different things in it. We tried to keep it as organic as possible to keep all those fun personality things in there.”
Tackling all sorts of other topics—like her favorite restaurants in Nashville, how she met one of her co-writers in an Uber, some of her musical influences and more—the conversation was wide-ranging and insightful, showing Craft’s infectious sincerity and prowess as an artist.
Watch the full interview below.