Ash-ling (n): a dream or vision This Gaelic title appropriately describes the debut full length album of Rachel Merchand as it draws on her journey from dreams to reality. Ten beautifully honest songs pour forth from her soul, speaking of love, struggle, and the pursuit of truth. The lyrics are striking and the melodies provoking, as she gives the listener a glimpse into her heart. Dawning from the Green Mountains of Vermont, Rachel has brought a fresh and thought-provoking perspective into acoustic-rock genre. She began performing at age 13, but did not begin writing music until 21. 'I was trying so hard to incorporate tons of chords and write something poetic - I really didn't even know how to play the guitar... I gave up and that is when I wrote 'Humble'.' In April of 2003, Rachel independently released an EP, New Version of Me. The direction of this recording quickly shifted her musical career from an occasional pastime to a focused endeavor. Music then became a priority and led to a move to Charlotte, NC to pursue music full-time. It was there that the isolation of a new city laid the foundation for her new release. In the past year, Rachel has performed solo at various venues along the east coast including, The Inside Out Soul Fest (Laconia, NH) and Tremont Music Hall (Charlotte, NC). These opportunities enabled her to expand her fan base and move out beyond Charlotte. New Version of Me is currently aired on radio stations around the US, web radio world wide and was featured on the television show, Steelroots. Rachel's choice to remain independent from corporate media stems from her desire to maintain her unique artistic integrity. This resulted in the recruitment of Matt Malpass (¡El Toro!, The Apprentice) at Marigolds & Monsters Studios for production and Doug Van Sloun (Bright Eyes, The Faint) at Studio B for mastering. Various musicians scattered on the album, include Matt Goldman (Copeland, Anberlin) and cellist Jennifer Millis (Charlotte Junior Symphony). The Ashling delicately breaks down issues into basic pleas for help, confronts the hard times with honest desperation yet come to hopeful conclusions. As you experience the joys and struggles of your own journey, may you be inspired and moved by these songs.
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