The Long Road Ahead is the third album by Little Jane and the Pistol Whips, a Montana band propelled by singer-songwriter Ashley Jane Holland. The songs are largely inspired by the blue-collar, union-focused world her husband works in as a high-voltage lineman. “If I can write songs that inspire a whole group of workers…that are out there working their butts off…that’s pretty cool I think,” says Ashley.
While she provides the songs, the band takes them and brings them to life in a special way. “I asked [a friend] if I should write parts, and how that works, and he said ‘You just hire people you respect and admire and let them do their thing.”
As for the songs themselves, Ashley explains, “I only write, it seems, when I’m feeling something, whether it’s inspired by a story I’ve heard, or I’m sad, or happy, or have had an experience …When I do write, I just sit down with my a guitar in hand, and I write a whole song at one time.” Like many other artists, she reports a strong sense that the music is simply flowing through her: “It’s almost like if I were a channeler … it’s like something just comes out of me, and it’s a song.”
Ashley feels that her childhood experience with the Suzuki piano method gave her a key tool in her lifelong enjoyment of music. “That was great, because the Suzuki method is all by ear, and so I do think that really helped from a young age, just trained my ear to find what’s in tune, what’s out of tune, you know, what sounds ‘right’…” Later, she picked up the guitar mainly to be able to accompany herself and not have to rely on others.
Although seeing her name on a club marquee at the first performance of a song she wrote helped fuel her desire to share her music with the public, Ashley’s motivation is anything but glory-centered. “My heart’s always been in the right place with music,” she says. “It’s never been to be famous or get rich, it’s more just to get it out there and for my benefit. Which sounds selfish, but it’s therapeutic to write these songs, to hear them come to life…”
To find out more, visit www.littlejaneandthepistolwhips.com. Listen to the full interview here.
By Dan Walsh