10. Ashby Furlough – Through the Westgate

cd cover 10. Ashby Furlough – Through the Westgate

I’m guessing you can probably plop this album under the file “the best music you’ve never heard.” I’ve talked about Ashby Furlough a few times before, but for those of you that don’t remember, here’s a recap: Swac brought me an album back from Wisconsin from some local band from up there that he thought I’d like, because they sang a song with the chorus “My girlfriend has a boyfriend”. [For those of you that are unaware, my friends enjoy exposing and highlighting the things in my life I find the most frustrating for comedic affect… and their idea of a joke is an incisive observation humorously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing ] Anyway, I listened to the album, and really liked it… and then listened to it a lot. The band is fronted by Jon Troast, who went to Calvin, and many people seem to remember him (as did I, once I saw his picture). He’s quite a nice guy, and helped me get a hold of his solo cd, which is also pretty good. Anyway, that’s Ashby Furlough, formerly “The Rubberband”.

Now about the album. It’s got a very pleasant folksy/bluegrass feel to it, but not at all “yokely”. (Yokely –> The state of being a yokel, or yokel-like. See also: Bumpkin.). A few things I (re)noticed about this album while listening to it driving to/from my carpool place recently: First, the songs are all very singable. They’re in the range where they’re not so high that in order to sing along you have to contort your face so violently that the girl in the lane alongside you looks over, gets a slightly horrified look on her face (until she realizes you are singing, and not just in terrible pain), then begins laughing so violently that she almost runs into a construction barrel by the shoulder near the 28th street exit on 131… just as a hypothetical. [Stupid Veruca Salt…]. They’re also not so screamy that you can’t sing along without just feeling like an idiot, and sounding horrible [e.g. Drowning Pool – Bodies]. Singability goes far in my book, as a good chunk of my listening happens when I’m alone in my car, or alone in my room. The second thing I (re)noticed was just how accessible the lyrics were. Accessible in that they are easy to understand, and associate with.. not in the “I can find them easily” way, cause I can’t find them anywhere (thus my desire to just write them all out here, so the Internet can once again feel “complete” to me.) Thirdly, the songs sound relatively playable, without being so pathetically easy that I’d lose interest in playing a song halfway through it.

Now on to the songs: [Note: I’m relatively sure the song titles are correct, but I don’t have the album case available to me at the moment.. so I’m basing it all on the Cd-Text, which ought to be reliable, I’d think]

Miss the Boat: [lyrics] – A snazzy celebration song about liking a girl, then getting shot down, then hooking up with someone better, then finding out that now the first girl wants you, and you couldn’t care less. This song reminds me of a similar experience I had a while back (only take out the part about actually hooking up with the “someone better” and erase the whole “couldn’t care less”).

Happy Day: [lyrics] – A cheery ditty about finding the joy in the little things in life. “Sometimes life can get you down with all the pain it brings. Take a minute, look around at all the little things.

Umland: [lyrics] – Along the same lines as Happy Day, I think. When the stresses of life start to drive you insane, just take a step back and go to your “happy place”… a pleasant little place where the daily grind and taxing responsibilities no longer matter, and you can just enjoy the good things life has to offer.

Oops: [lyrics] – So this is the song that introduced me to the album. “My girlfriend has a boyfriend“. “I wouldn’t ever kiss her, cause if somehow her mister found out he would want to kill me.

Purple Ear: [lyrics] – I’m still not so sure why the song is called Purple Ear, (assuming that’s the right title [Update: it’s actually “Purple Car”]), but I really like the chorus:

And I know that time keeps passing by
This is one more thing I never want to end
And if it seems like I never say that I love you.
You know that’s what I’m thinking
Every time I see you, my friend

Everybody’s Friend: [lyrics] – And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

That Girl’s Greek: [lyrics] – First of all, I love this song. Second, this song drove me INSANE in Europe. I didn’t know many of the words, but I remembered the phrase “I’ve been to France before, I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, but I can’t speak a word of French to you.“. That line was on an endless loop in my head for 3 straight days and there was no way to get rid of it. I thought it was kinda cute the 1st day, as we were hanging out by the Eiffel Tower… but then we left.. and it didn’t go away. And it was back the next day… and the next. It was eventually knocked out by “Luca“, thankfully… but when I got home, I made sure to learn the words to the whole thing. I’m also no stranger to the nodding when you have no clue what the other person is talking about.

See You: [lyrics] – A love song. I still have no clue what the 3rd thing is that he wants to hear, though. I do like the line “I can’t read lips unless they’re touching mine”

All of You: [lyrics] – Here’s a song about his love for music, but even more about his appreciation for all those people that helped him/supported him from the beginning.

One and a Million: [lyrics] – Another favorite on the album.. all the lyrics to this one are great, I think… especially this verse:

If I never saw your face again
Though I never want that to happen
If it did, I live with no regret
Cause everything to this point has been worth it.

Now I should go to bed, because it’s 5 a.m. I’ve been doing a lot of daydreaming.

5 thoughts on “10. Ashby Furlough – Through the Westgate

  1. I don’t even know how I ran across this page. I was hunting for a certain mp3 and the name “Ashby Furlough” caught my eye. I work at a Starbucks where they often play, and just thought it was amazing what a small world this is. John (and the other guys — I love you too!) are seriously just amazing…
    I don’t really have anything else to say, except that they do make EXCEPTIONALLY good music and I was sooo happy I got to see them play when I was back home a couple weekends ago.

  2. Ron- the world isn’t so big, as it is round. As in, hope to see you a-round. Jon T.

    Veenstra- We changed our band name again… try to find us… if you can.

    …just kidding. thanks much for the compliments and good press. -Andy D.

  3. hey i was just searching for ashby and came across your site.. they really are amazing, i saw them at camp. u should get jons CD too its very very good. :) have a nice day

  4. Hey, so cool to find people loving Johnny’s music! Weird to find my friend all over the web, but so cool to hear that Ashby Furlough is having an impact further than little old William’s Bay Wisconsin. Best, they are such sweet guys, some of my best friends. We “groupies” follow them around the coffee houses.
    If you want to see Ashby Furlough, they play once a month on friday nights at starbucks in Lake Geneva, and John Troast plays every other saturday night at Max’s Roadhouse near Houlihan’s in Lake Geneva. Check it out!

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