Ashton began his music career playing bass with the Gainesville, FL based band Big Sky. For nearly 12 years the band did what most independents could
and could not do. They toured. They toured relentlessly opening shows for artists such as Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, Matchbox 20 and the Wallflowers. But, it wasn¹t up until the end of that era that Ashton would begin writing and recording his own music as merely a way to get some personal thoughts out of his mind. There were never any intentions of anyone else hearing the music, let alone his own band.
One night, during a Big Sky show, Ashton let his attorney listen to one of his demos. She was a great friend and he trusted her. He told her to keep the music to herself, but wanted to share what he had created. "I know it sounds dramatic, but I really about had a panic attack leaving her with a CD," said Ashton. "I was so vulnerable to the idea of someone else knowing a lot of these thoughts, which in hindsight I have found to be quite a self-absorbed notion." His attorney, and friend, liked it. Actually, she liked it a lot.
That same week, the bands' attorney was speaking with Colin Cobb who was creating a new independent label in Atlanta called Livewire Recordings. The
two spoke briefly about Big Sky and Livewire decided they just weren't interested in what the band were doing style-wise. Colin suggested they
continue to discuss her other clients, but beyond a female oriented pop group, there was not much to offer. At the end of the conversation, Colin
made a comment about what type of artist he was looking to work with - Ashton was exactly what Livewire was looking for. The attorney had no
intention of mentioning the demos, but a phone call later Ashton reluctantly agreed to let her submit some tracks for review. The label listened and loved it, but they just had to see him perform live.
There was only one tiny problem with this scenario. "I had only played once. One time in Gainesville about a month prior," said Ashton. "I told no one. I just had to try it. Just for the experience. Just to say I had done it." Sure, Ashton had been in a band for years performing in front of hundreds to thousands of people, but "I was used to rock shows, loud people, drinking and louder music that didn¹t allow for your mistakes to be heard. But, by myself, on stage alone with a guitar and no one to turn to but an audience- no way."
One month later Ashton set a date and was showcasing for Livewire Recordings. He prayed just to be able to perform, not to get a record deal,
not to become a rock star, just to be able to perform. After Ashton's performance Colin shook his hand and said "Let's make records."