SONGWRITER Ashley Raines found music on America’s railroads, hitchhiking and hopping boxcars at just 14 years old. As he traveled away from his Kansas home, he strived to learn how to play every instrument he came across on his travels. When he lingered in a town and performed on the street, he peddled recordings, tracked on four-track reel-to-reel machines, to anyone who would listen. Since those days, he’s remained fiercely independent, acting as his own manager, booking agent, publicist, and record label.
Raines has a Jack Johnson gentleness to his voice, but its weathered edge of experience evokes hard truths learned early and blurring highways over clean beach days and surf-sprayed hair. His winsome melodies are accompanied by his custom hollow neck lap steel guitar.
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, Raines released his 13th album, After the Bruising. While he may conjure up the devil and favor exploring the darker sides of human instinct through songs like “Thinkin’ Bout Murder,” Raines isn’t afraid to try a little tenderness, evident on lullaby “Daddy Knows Best.” Tracked live in-studio over just two days, After the Bruising doesn’t feel rushed but caught at that perfect moment where there’s still a sense of immediacy smoothed by right-in-the-room warmth.