“Really what we’re doing is taking the audience down memory lane” said Ash. “Each show provides the group with a chance to share the music we love with new people. It’s always more fun to go into a new venue and see people take this sentimental journey.”
The Ash Brothers are composed of two sets of brothers who are also double first cousins. One provides sound and tech for the group while the other five rotate in their instrumental capacities on stage. They are joined by keyboard player Dave Hathaway and fiddle player Jimmy Mattingly, who has appeared on albums for both Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton.
The band now plays about 100 shows a year, and according to Dan Facilla, chairman of MHCA (formerly Memorial Hall Center for the Arts) their music will be perfect for Memorial Hall. “Country music is something the people of this area love,” said Facilla. “I’m a big fan of bringing music, or any event, to the area, but it’s sometimes difficult to locate a band that’s in tribute that does it this well.
“We can’t possibly afford the real group, but that’s OK because we found a band that does this so excellently.”
The Ash Brothers’ musical roots began in the early 1980s when they started out as a long-haired Christian rock band called Asher. Ten years ago, Donnie, Danny, Guy, Chuck, Steve, and Brad Ash started working on an Eagles tribute band, but realized quickly that there are hundreds of Eagles tributes. “We thought about it and there seemed to be an overpopulation of those bands,” said Brad Ash. “ We found there was only one other Alabama cover band out there, and fell in love with playing their music.”
Music came naturally to the Ash boys. Harmonizing is a large part of the Alabama sound, and Brad Ash says harmonizing is easier when you’re doing it with your blood relatives. When the Ash Brothers play in a new state, city or venue, they are more inclined to pull out the hits. With 41 number-one hits to choose from, like “Song of the South” and “Tennessee River,” to “Dixie Delight,” they have no shortage of material to work with.
This will be MHCA’s largest show of the season in both expense and the number of musical instruments on stage. But Facilla is confident that the expertise of the Ash Brothers will add a new genre to Memorial Hall’s calendar in the future. “If it goes over well, we will have confirmed that people will come out for a country show, and we’ll look to do more.”
The Ash Brothers: A Tribute to Alabama begins at 7:30 on Saturday night. Main floor seating is $36 for adults and $28 for students through high school age. Balcony seating is $30 for adults and $24 for students.
According to Brad Ash, the band will give audience members their money’s worth in the first 10 minutes, and never stop.
For more information about the band visit theashbrothers.com. For a calendar of Memorial Hall events go to Memhall.org.