Doing his best
Cadiz country singer/songwriter Best wins award
CADIZ — Ashley Best’s love of music, especially country music, began as a child while he was listening to recordings of his grandfather, Ronald Howell, singing and playing guitar.
He never got to know his grandfather well because he died when Best was just 4 years old. But Best got to listen to his voice and singing for years to come, thanks to those recordings.
Now Best, a Cadiz resident, is doing his own recordings — not only in the hopes of earning a living from his music, but as a means of passing down his voice to others when he is gone.
Best, a 1995 graduate of then-Cadiz High School, has been playing music since he was 16 years old. He taught himself to play guitar and began working gigs across the region.
Over the years he has branched out, playing at larger venues in other states including Texas, the Carolinas, Oklahoma and others. His first CD of original music, titled “I Believe,” is available online at ashleybest.hearnow.com and in local stores such as Hightower Brewing in Dillonvale, a spot he frequently plays.
He is proud of the songs recorded at Cadiz-based Tony’s Treasures Productions, and produced by local musician Roger Hoard, who Best said has become his friend and mentor.
“I call it Appalachian melting pot,” Best said of his sound. “During my sets I do ‘Purple Rain,’ Creedence Clearwater. And in writing my own music I have a little bit of everything … When I went into the recording studio with Roger Hoard … he said, ‘There is something special about you.
“You’re self taught. We all go to school and college to learn music, and we run into someone like you and it’s natural,'” Best said.
Best said he often uses an “extra beat” in his music that gives it a different sound. Some people like his style, while others believe in certain rules regarding music.
“I put an extra beat in where no one else would. One of the best at this was Hank Williams. He would put in an extra beat to make the music fit the words. Steve Earl was another one. I’m the same way. Music doesn’t have rules. … Some get it and some don’t,” he said.
There must be at least a few people who “get it,” as Best recently won the 2019 Independent Music Network Award for New Discovery Artist of Year. He also recently opened for country music star Aaron Tippin during the D&J Sales and Service’s 30th anniversary celebration held at Harrison Central High School.
Best lives in Cadiz with his wife, Tennille, and their children. They have a farm, and Best works at Jefferson Landmark in Cadiz.
“My goal is making a living at music — not fame and fortune. It would be great, but I’m not after it,” Best said.
Best’s upcoming performances include:
Saturday — 7-9 p.m. School House Winery, Dover, Ohio;
Feb. 27 — 5 p.m. WAME 92.9 radio live performance and interview;
Feb. 28 — 7-10 p.m., The 220 Cafe, Statesville, N.C.;
Feb. 29 — 5-8 p.m. Southern Distilling Co., Statesville, N.C.;
March 5 — 5:30-8:30 p.m., Commonhouse Aleworks, N Charleston, N.C.;
March 13 — 7-10 p.m. Birdfish Brewery, Columbiana, Ohio; and
March 21 — 7-9 p.m., School House Winery, Dover, Ohio.